We Are Watching. Human Rights Must be Respected.

Authoritarian governments must not use the corona pandemic as an excuse to repress human rights. We are watching you. We will call out human rights violations and hold you accountable.

We Monitor (Y)our Rights

The coronavirus is currently changing our lives. Governments all over the world are pushing for extreme restrictions on fundamental human rights. While some measures are necessary to fight the virus, others are done for the benefit of those in power without regard to human rights. We see several cases where repressive regimes use the pandemic as an excuse to harass and arrest human rights defenders.

This is not acceptable. Most national constitutions and international conventions allow restrictions on certain human rights during an emergency, but this can only be done to the extent strictly required by the situation.

Temporary restrictions on human rights must not become permanent. Authoritarian states must not use the pandemic as an excuse to silence critical voices. They should know that we are watching and that we will call out human rights violations when they happen.

Learn how to protect yourself online

Through our video guide Online IQ you can increase your digital security and to secure your smartphone and apps, such as Facebook, Google, WhatsApp and Signal.

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Civil Rights Defenders in the Time of Corona

As an organisation, we started making contingency plans and preparing for business continuity in late January. We are following the Public Health Agency in Sweden and WHO advice and guidance.

Online platforms, digital activism and flexible support mechanisms have been at the core of Civil Rights Defenders’ methods and work for decades. In our Defenders’ Database, violations against human rights are gathered and safely stored. The social media-powered Natalia Project emergency alarm for human rights defenders will continue to be an important security tool.

Thanks to good preparation and existing digital systems, we can continue the work together with our partners around the world.

Human Rights Defenders Play a Crucial Role

Even before the pandemic, many of our partners operated in hidden networks, with online arenas as their main platform. This means that much of their work can continue. At the same time, the risks have escalated when repressive regimes use the pandemic to restrict freedom and rights. Among our news you can read several examples of this.

These brave individuals and their organisations will be key actors in the fight to minimise the impact of the pandemic and the authoritarian that is likely to follow in its wake.  Civil society organisations will also play a more crucial role in keeping the public informed and rulers accountable. Civil Rights Defenders will continue to support human rights defenders in the new global context we see emerging. 

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