Event information

20 May 2020, 15:00-16:30

How to prevent COVID-19 becoming a humanitarian disaster in the context of conflict situations, refugee and IDP populations?

Right On

The Corona Pandemic and countermeasures taken by governments are already exacerbating the situation of persons living in situations of armed conflicts and in particular those trying to escape from persecution, misery, and/or armed conflict – whether within or across national borders.

Internally displaced persons and refugees are particularly vulnerable to the rapid spread of COVID-19 because they can hardly comply with measures of confinement and/or social distancing and have limited access to healthcare facilities. In Syria, Yemen and many other places affected by armed conflict, healthcare facilities have also been destroyed or degraded, and there is a significant shortage of medical equipment and medical professionals. This shortage is aggravated by a decline in the delivery of humanitarian and development aid – in the immediate due to problems in shipping and transportation, but in the long term probably also by changing priorities of donor funding.

Persons already vulnerable face immense threats, whether due to the degrading situation in camps or the impossibility to leave zones of conflict altogether. Many western countries have opted for a policy of closed borders to protect their populations from further spread of COVID-19. This includes suspension of migratory and refugee management and a factual break-down of the asylum system.

The discussion of those humanitarian challenges will also contrast in legal terms states’ obligations of due diligence to prevent the further spread of the virus with states’ obligations under international law, concerning asylum, refugee and migration management, including based upon human rights law. It will also look back into how these issues were tackled in past situations of pandemics.

Moderator

  • Annyssa Bellal, Strategic Adviser on International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and Senior Research Fellow, Geneva Academy
  • Andrew Fagan, Director, Human Rights Centre, University of Essex

Panelists

  • Mohammed Al-Hadid, President, Jordan Red Crescent
  • Cédric Cotter, Researcher, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
  • Geoff Gilbert, Professor of International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, School of Law and Human Rights Centre, University of Essex
  • Cecilia Jimenez-Damary, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons
  • Marriët Schuurman, Director Stability and Humanitarian Aid, Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Registration

To join the discussion, you need to register here.

‘Right On’: The Wednesday Web Chat

‘Right On’ is a new digital initiative – co-organized by the Geneva Academy, the Geneva Human Rights Platform, the Geneva Internet Platform, the DiploFoundation, the Universal Right Group, the Human Rights Centre at the University of Essex, as well as the Permanent Missions of Denmark, Norway and the Netherlands to the United Nations in Geneva  –  that will keep the human rights dialogue going during these COVID-19 times.

Every Wednesday at 15:00, experts and practitioners will discuss key human rights issues related to the current health crisis.

Video

Right On: How to prevent COVID-19 becoming a humanitarian disaster in the context of conflict situations, refugee and IDP populations?

In this online event of the ‘Right On’ digital initiative, panelists discussed how the Corona Pandemic and countermeasures taken by governments are already exacerbating the situation of persons living in situations of armed conflicts and in particular those trying to escape from persecution, misery, and/or armed conflict – whether within or across national borders.

Right On Partners Updated

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

An LLM class News

Apply to our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights!

28 November 2022

Applications for the 2023–2024 academic year of our LLM in International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights are open. They will run until 27 January 2023 for applications with a scholarship and until 23 February 2023 for applications without a scholarship.

Read more

Donbass, destruction before a building News

Our Experts and Resources on Ukraine

15 December 2022

Discover our resources and what our experts say about the situation in Ukraine, with regular updates to include new events, articles and comments!

Read more

Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

10 February - 14 March 2023

This online short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

Read more

Short Course

The Law of Non-International Armed Conflicts

16 March - 4 April 2023

This online short course discusses the protection offered by international humanitarian law (IHL) in non-international armed conflicts (NIACs) and addresses some problems and controversies specific to IHL of NIACs, including the difficulty to ensure the respect of IHL by armed non-state actors.

Read more

Mine Project

Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Completed in July 2021

This project aimed at identifying and clarifying policies and practices for states and businesses, including public and private investors, across the full ‘conflict cycle’ and the ‘protect, respect and remedy’ pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more

A session of the UN Human Rights Council Project

IHL Expert Pool

Started in January 2022

The IHL-EP works to strengthen the capacity of human rights mechanisms to incorporate IHL into their work in an efficacious and comprehensive manner. By so doing, it aims to address the normative and practical challenges that human rights bodies encounter when dealing with cases in which IHL applies.

Read more

Cover page of the study Publication

From Words to Deeds A Study of Armed Non-State Actors’ Practice and Interpretation of International Humanitarian and Human Rights Norms: Research and Policy Conclusions

published on September 2022

Annyssa Bellal, Pascal Bongard, Ezequiel Heffes

Read more