“National human rights institutions are key partners for UNHCR and play a crucial role in helping protect the rights of refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced and stateless people. Thank you @Ganhri1@cejjimenez and to all who joined for the great discussion.”

Gillian Triggs- Assistant High Commissioner for Protection at #UNHCR

Protecting forcibly displaced persons in the COVID-19 context

Protecting forcibly displaced persons in the COVID-19 context: the role and experiences of NHRIs and opportunities for collaboration with UNHCR. Webinar co-hosted by GANHRI and UNHCR with the participation of the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of Internally Displaced Persons. 3 June 2020 | 11am-12.30 pm | CEST

COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic which requires systematic responses. Working in partnership with various actors is key to ensure an adequate response to this pandemic. Forcibly displaced persons are among those that are at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19 due to their displacement. This is due to limited access to essential services and healthcare, water, sanitation, food and adequate housing, as well as stigma and discrimination that they may face. Their vulnerability is heighted in the context of displacement.

Thanks to their mandate and functions, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can play a critical role in monitoring and reporting on the situation of displaced persons by: providing constructive advice to Governments to ensure the situation of displaced persons is addressed in COVID-19 responses; facilitating access to services and information; promoting their participation in COVID-19 responses and recovery; and holding duty-bearers to account.

National human rights institutions are a key partner for UNHCR as well as for the UN Special Rapporteur on the Human rights of IDPs especially during country visits, given NHRIs’ presence at country and local levels, their agility to deploy monitoring missions, their broad competencies to advise Government authorities including on the development of law and policy, and provide information directly to persons of concern and the general public. More than 65 NHRIs around the world have developed guidance on how to ensure protection of human rights in the context and response to COVID-19. As key human rights actors, they are critical partners of UNHCR in general, and in the COVID-19 emergency in particular.

Promoting the role of NHRIs in situations of internal displacement has also been a priority for the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, a key partner of UNHCR and GANHRI and NHRIs around the world, as reflected in her 2019 report to the Human Rights Council on this subject.


This webinar focuses on the role and experiences of national human rights institutions in protecting and promoting the human rights of forcibly displaced persons in the COVID-19 context.

The webinar will also explore opportunities for collaboration between NHRIs and UNHCR in support of affected population.
Specifically, the webinar will be an opportunity for NHRIs and UNHCR participants:

1. To discuss the role and experiences of NHRIs in protecting displaced population from COVID-19 threat and related consequences on their enjoyment of rights;
2. To develop practical strategies for NHRIs to employ to address the situation displaced persons in the context of the COVID-19; and
3. To draw from the guidance and experience from the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs as well as UNHCR experts and identify opportunities for collaboration in support of IDPs.

Target audience

– Members and staff of NHRIs from all regions
– UNHCR staff at Headquarters and field offices

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