The Year In Review: The Director Looks Back at 2020

The number – 2020 – had a hopeful ring to it. We were entering a new decade. Unfortunately, however, 2020 turned out to be one of the most dramatic years many of us have ever experienced.

It began with severe bush fires in Australia. Then came the outbreak of an ‘unknown, novel corona virus’ that turned into a pandemic. The year included the killing of George Floyd, followed by global anti-racism protests and ended with the final voting out of President Donald Trump. In between, there were tensions between the US and Iran. The election in Belarus led to major protests that have continued into 2021. Moreover, there was the biggest issue of all: the continuing climate crisis. Despite all of us not travelling anymore, global emissions only dropped by 7%.

Indeed, 2020 was a shocking year.

Covid-19 is a disease that dramatically has changed the way we have lived our lives the past year. As it swept, and still sweeps, through so far having cost the lives of four million people, it has also had dramatic effects on our economies. The pandemic has eradicated years of work against poverty, and increased the level of in-equality in to a level of what some UN agencies name hyper-in-equality.

“The virus does not discriminate” is a sentence that we have heard at times this year. This is certainly not true. The virus has harder hit marginalised groups as catastrophes normally do.
Early on, it was clear that the crisis, that we are still in the midst of, is a resilience test for societies and for governments. It is also a harsh reminder of the importance of protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.

RWI during 2020

During the past year, we have sought to address various human rights concerns undertaking a number of activities. We have also worked to support our partners around the world in dealing with challenges that have accelerated in the wake of the corona crisis.

In this edition of the Year in Review, you will get a glimpse of some of the Covid-19 related key activities in research, education, and direct engagement that we carried out during 2020.

Although the Covid-19 let to rapidly changed work plans for 2020 the RWI managed as documented in this report to a considerable extent to continue the programs that have been developed in past years.

This could only be realised thanks to a very committed, innovative, and agile staff that took up the sudden challenges with a great sense of urgency and professionalism. So, a great thanks to them, to our partners and not least the Board of Trustees that was always there to give their support.

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