The human rights dimensions of COVID-19: the role and experiences of NHRIs

Monday 28 September 2020, from 15.00 to 16.30 CEST  


The UN framework for the Immediate Socio-Economic Response to COVID-19, April 2020, recognizes the role of National Human Rights Institutions to monitor and engage with governments providing targeted advice. It references the important function which NHRIs have to support meaningful participation of marginalized and / or vulnerable groups in policy responses and their role in monitoring places of detention irrespective of whether their mandate includes being the designated National Preventive Mechanisms.

NHRIs from all regions are engaging in a variety of COVID-19 response activities, including advisory services, promotion of universal human rights standards, monitoring and protection activities, oversight of policy responses including in situations where emergency laws or measures are in place, and identification and support of populations and groups who are particularly at risk of e being left behind.[1] At the same time, NHRIs may find themselves affected by the changing international and, not least, national context in which they operate. It is therefore necessary to recognize and highlight the different ways in which NHRIs function in the COVID-19 context and to furthermore identify their capacity needs moving forward to both respond to COVID-19 and effectively fulfill their roles to promote and protect human rights also in the COVID-19 context.

The UN and TPP partners are supporting NHRIs in many contexts during the pandemic, including through promoting the exchange of knowledge with and among NHRIs, developing tools to the monitor human rights situation during the pandemic, including human violations during the time of the health emergency and to ensure access to information, conduct media campaigns to raise awareness of their c mandates, provide relief distribution to vulnerable groups, and conduct capacity strengthening to advocate for prevention of discrimination.

In view of all these activities, the TPP partners are currently conducting a study to highlight the important role of NHRIs in COVID-19 response and other aspects including capacity building needs which will consolidate the experiences, good practices, and lessons learned of both of the NHRIs experience in carrying out their functions and activities under the affected conditions, and of the support provided to them. The analysis and results will form a knowledge product to be released in Q4 2020.

Objectives of the event

Against this backdrop, the proposed event will provide for a timely venue to

  • discuss the roles and experiences of NHRIs in addressing human rights implications of COVID-19 including based on the initial findings from the research
  • showcase how the GANHRI UNDP OHCHR TPP on NHRIs supports the role and work of NHRIs throughout the global health emergency
  • identify opportunities and needs for continued support to NHRIs throughout the global health emergency including with the UN system

The event will be held online and will be open to permanent missions, NHRIs from all regions, relevant NGOs as well as UNDP, OHCHR, and UN agencies representatives and staff.

Format and logistics

Virtual event via Zoom, with simultaneous interpretation into English and Spanish.

[1] See e.g., p.7.

Event co-organised by

Event co-organised by

Event co-sponsored by

Event co-sponsored by

For more information