Webinar series: Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on human rights defenders

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is a serious global health crisis that has already caused several hundred thousand of deaths worldwide and continues to be a threat to our health and livelihoods. Measures to contain the spread of the virus are vital, but they also bear potential for new risks. In response to this, governments and industry bodies are introducing extraordinary measures to slow down the spread of the virus.

Respect for human rights across the spectrum is central to the public health response’s success. States continue to be duty bearers and to hold obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights. Any restrictions to rights must be temporary, lawful, non-discriminatory, strictly necessary, and proportionate to the threat. They must not outlast the pandemic. Are state security and public safety measures guaranteeing respect for rule of law and upholding human rights?

DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders will host a series of webinars to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on human rights defenders. We will explore challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic specific to the protection of human rights, freedom of expression, access to information, lawyers and the justice system, human rights defenders in situation of conflict, and women human rights defenders, as well as coping mechanisms.

Webinar 4: Mental Well-being for Sustainable Human Rights Activism in Africa

At DefendDefenders and AfricanDefenders, June 2020 was the month of mental well-being. Indeed, COVID-19 did not only have an impact on the physical health of many, but, together with the measures implemented to stop the spread of the virus, it also brought uncertainty and isolation, which can take a toll on mental well-being. In this context, on 26 June 2020 we hosted the webinar “Mental well-being for sustainable activism in Africa”. Together with professional counsellors and psycho-social experts from across Africa, we will focus on  resourcing resilience, adapting to change, and self-care practices for human rights defenders in the context of COVID-19 and beyond.

Webinar 3: Views from Human Rights Experts

The third webinar was held on Monday, 08 June 2020, from 4pm–6pm East Africa Standard Time.

Webinar 2: Challenges faced by HRDs (FR)

Webinar 1: Challenges faced by HRDs (EN)

The first webinar was held on Wednesday, 27 May 2020, from 4pm–6pm East Africa Standard Time.



For any further questions, please contact [email protected].