Year in Review: Covid-19 & Human Rights

Understanding the effects of the crisis

To understand the impact of Covid-19 on people and on human rights, we created a blog on our website early 2020. We invited key experts to contribute with their expertise and human rights perspectives on the pandemic.

The key question that penetrates all of the contributions is the profound impact of the pandemic on human rights and our democratic structure, as well as the inequalities that the pandemic has revealed.

Highlights from 2020

Vulnerable Groups at Risk During a Pandemic

Covid-19 has placed unprecedented challenges on society. Amid the pandemic, persons with disabilities and especially older persons with disabilities have been disproportionately affected. As a result of research undertaken during 2020, the China Programme could present the publication “The Rights of Persons with Disabilities and Older Persons in a Pandemic: Findings from two studies conducted in China” early 2021.

Gender Summit EuropeA Multi-Country Research Initiative: on Covid-19, Gender and Human Rights

Launched in June 2020, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute’s multi-programme initiative on Covid-
19 and gender equality supported research in six countries. The aim: to create fourteen unique
independent research projects surrounding the gendered implications on human rights in the time of Covid-19.

How States Can Better Handle Pandemics in the Future 

An analysis of national policies and legal frameworks in cooperation with the OHCHR In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, national policies and responses included numerous restrictions. Many of these risk becoming permanent. In the long run, some may affect the protection and enjoyment of human rights. Dr. Matthew Scott, Senior Researcher and Thematic Lead for the focus area People on the Move at the Raoul Wallenberg Institute, undertook a pilot study called “National Covid-19 law and policy in a human rights perspective”, together with a number of researchers based in Lund and in Geneva.

On the year that passed: Our Programme Director

Johannes Eile.: 2020 was a challenging year for RWI’s international programmes given the Covid-19 pandemic. The effects of the pandemic required measures to be taken to, in the first place, protect the health and safety of RWI staff, as well as of cooperation partners and beneficiaries, in relation to the implementation of RWI programmes.



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