Summary publication on COVID-19 and NHRIs

In order to provide a consolidated overview of good practices, experiences and lessons learned on the role of NHRIs in the context of COVID-19 the Tri-Partite Partnership (UNDP, OHCHR and GANHRI) commissioned a study on COVID-19 and National Human Rights Institutions.

The objectives of this study are to:

  • Demonstrate the important role and activities of NHRIs in addressing the human rights dimension of COVID-19 through application of their mandates and functions under the Paris Principles by identifying good practice and lessons learned.
  • Illustrate the role and activities of the TPP partners including GANHRI and the regional networks in supporting NHRIs, as well as the engagement between NHRIs and other relevant stakeholders.
  • Assess the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on NHRIs across all aspects of their mandates and functions, and in relation to a broad scope of human rights themes.

The findings of the study show trends and parallel manners in how NHRIs faced the challenges raised by COVID-19. NHRIs globally have first and foremost directed their efforts to addressing the impact of COVID-19 on:

  1. Ensuring the right to life and health; information and participation
  2. Addressing the needs of particular groups at risk:
    • women and children;
    • people with disabilities and older persons; and
    • migrants and internally displaced; minorities and indigenous populations.

And individuals who are formally deprived of liberty, i.e. individuals living in an institution, under quarantine or in detention.

  1. Preventing escalation of social conflict, xenophobia or discrimination
  2. Upholding civil and political as well as social and economic rights
  3. Maintaining that restrictions and states of emergency remain proportional to the situation at hand.

In all of these areas NHRIs have undertaken a multitude of activities and initiatives to:

  • Address the spike in domestic violence against women by developing mobile apps and hotlines for alert.
  • Stress the need for sign language and braille interpretation of important government notices relating to COVID-19.
  • Ensure the effective monitoring in hospital and jail facilities through telephone dialogue with individuals.
  • Provide emergency service (food, water) to those most in need