Report: Human Rights in South Asia in Times of Pandemic
25 November 2020 4:00 pm


The COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time considered to be the biggest public health crisis in recent history and has presented a tremendous challenge to our societies. Globally, the pandemic has caused immense health and socio-economic problems. More than 59 million people have tested positive for the virus with 1,396,259 people having lost their lives (as of 24 November 2020). The global economy has drawn to a halt which has led to the loss of hundreds of millions of jobs. The governments within South Asia have enforced lockdowns with the aim of slowing the spread of the virus. While the lockdowns have been successful in slowing the infection rates, they have had a significant socio-economic impact. With millions of people without jobs and income, the region’s economic growth rate is projected to decline even further.

With many interweaving and changing variables, measuring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and determining the appropriate responses has been a significant challenge. In this context, this series of webinars has contributed towards rejuvenating civil society platforms within South Asia. The webinars have provided a forum for civil society organisations (CSOs) to discuss the human rights situation during the pandemic in South Asia and help to develop a collective strategy to fight against the virus. From a macro perspective, this webinar report highlights how human rights defenders and activists in South Asia are continuously targeted for their human rights work and how South Asian governments have increasingly centralised their powers, even in these unnerving times.

The discussions held during this webinar series have analysed topics which have been the most impact- ed by the COVID-19 pandemic, for instance, foreign employment, migration, labour rights, the rise of patriarchal norms, domestic violence, dropping out of school especially girls, public spending to address the public health emergencies, demand of debt cancellation etc. This webinar series also analysed the specific impact of the virus on vulnerable groups, including women and children. This report provides comprehensive policy recommendations to address the many challenges related to Covid-19 that were discussed during the webinar series.


Click here to download the report.