GNPHR Activities

GNPHR Activities

Human rights in times of Covid19

Covid-19 is still holding the world in its grip, exposing lies and liabilities, sorrows and sadness, inequities, weaknesses and strengths.

  • UN Sustainable Development Group, policy report: The Impact of COVID-19 on children, April 2020
    Children are not the face of this pan­demic. But they risk being among its big­gest victims. While they have thankfully been largely spared from the direct health effects of COVID-19 – at least to date – the crisis is having a profound effect on their wellbeing. All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are being affected, in particular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good. This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong.
    Moreover, the harmful effects of this pandemic will not be distributed equally. They are expected to be most damaging for children in the poorest countries, and in the poorest neighbourhoods, and for those in already disadvantaged or vulnerable situations. This policy brief provides a deeper analysis of these effects. It identifies also a series of immediate and sustained actions for the attention of governments and policymakers.
  • For those affected by dementia, the pandemic has been especially grim.
    But new research offers some faint glimmers of hope. (The Economist, August 2020)
  • Respect older people’s rights when exiting the COVID-19 pandemic.
    Many older people in care homes fell victim to COVID-19. Many also faced months of isolation and restrictions often harsher than those enforced for other parts of the population. The EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) looks at how the pandemic affected the rights of older people. It highlights the need for a rights-based approach as governments shape their exit strategies. (EU FRA, June 2020)
  • Hardships multiply for older refugees amid COVID-19 pandemic.
    Physical decline, deepening economic hardship and isolation make life tougher for older people, who comprise four per cent of the forcibly displaced population worldwide. UNHCR, October 2020.
  • The pandemic is widening educational inequality.
    For many low-income students, online courses are a poor substitute for in-person learning. (The Economist, July 2020)
  • Human rights are more important than ever in times of crisis.
    On the Front Line against Human Rights Violations. Council of Europe, 2020
  • Looking back to look ahead: A rights-based approach to social protection in the post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
    United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights. 11 September 2020
  • The Impact of COVID-19 on children. United Nations. April 2020.  All children, of all ages, and in all countries, are being affected, in partic­ular by the socio-economic impacts and, in some cases, by mitigation measures that may inadvertently do more harm than good. This is a universal crisis and, for some children, the impact will be lifelong.
  • COVID-19 disrupting mental health services in most countries, WHO survey
    World Mental Health Day on 10 October to highlight urgent need to increase investment in chronically underfunded sector. The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing, according to a new WHO survey. The survey of 130 countries provides the first global data showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and underscores the urgent need for increased funding. WHO, October 2020.
  • Fundamental rights implications of COVID-19. EU Fundamental Rights Agency, September 2020.  The COVID-19 pandemic has an impact on everyone. Governments take urgent measures to curb its spread to safeguard public health and provide medical care to those who need it. They are acting to defend the human rights of health and of life itself. Inevitably, these measures limit our human and fundamental rights to an extent rarely experienced in peacetime. It is important to ensure that such limitations are consistent with our legal safeguards and that their impact on particular groups is adequately taken account of.
  • Pandemic worsens Roma and Travellers poverty and discrimination. EU Fundamental Rights Agency, September 2020
    The Coronavirus pandemic hit Roma and Travellers particularly hard, shows a new bulletin from the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA). Many Roma and Travellers lost their income, overcrowding and lack of sanitation increased their health risks, and distance learning was difficult without internet access. Discrimination and anti-Roma rhetoric have increased too, especially online. FRA calls on policymakers to urgently address these immediate challenges and put in place lasting structures to fight deep-rooted prejudice and discrimination.
  • The New Common. In this book, the transition from the old to a new “together” is described.  The word “common” has many interesting and relevant meanings including: collective, normal, public place, collective. All these elements contribute to describing the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. And in setting up what is often called the 1.5 meter society or the new normal. More than fifty scientists from all five faculties of Tilburg University were invited to contribute. These have been complemented by several colleagues from other universities and a single author from the private domain. Tilburg University, September 2020. Free download.
  • Will the economic and psychological costs of covid-19 increase suicides? It is too early to say, but the signs are ominous. The Economist, October 5, 2020.
    A few preliminary estimates of suicides during the pandemic have emerged. Though the figures will be revised, they bode ill. An initial tally of suicides in Japan in August put the number at 1,849, a jump of 15.3% over the same period last year, the health ministry has reported. Nepal’s national police force has said suicides during the pandemic seem to have climbed by a fifth. Thailand’s health ministry fears that nearly nine out of every 100,000 Thais will have killed themselves this year, up from 6.6 in 2019, says Varoth Chotpitayasunondh, a spokesman. The ministry is setting up a new reporting system to obtain official numbers faster.
    A study in the Lancet, a medical journal, equates a 1% rise in unemployment with a 0.79% climb in suicide in Europe and a 0.99% increase in America, where jobless benefits have often been less generous—and guns are readily available (sales have boomed during the pandemic). Those estimates roughly align with other teams’ findings. As the pandemic continues to squeeze economies everywhere, this augurs ill.
  • Psychological impact of COVID-19 in a refugee camp in Iraq. Jan Ilhan Kizilhan, PhD and Michael Noll-Hussong, MD. Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences (September 2020)

Human rights Education for Psychologists

Academic freedom

Forced migration

  • Nearly 300 Rohingya come ashore in Aceh after months at sea. Al Jazeera, September 2020
  • Preventing Forced Migration and Adapting to a Changing Climate
    What is the migration link with environment and climate change and how does this impact the achievement of our #GlobalGoals? Climate change is occurring at rates much faster than anticipated and its effects are clearly felt worldwide. Nowhere is this more evident than in the Small Island Development States of the Pacific. (IOM, 2020).


  • Automated Hardship; How the Tech-Driven Overhaul of the UK’s Social Security System Worsens Poverty(Human Rights Watch, September 2020)
    This report documents how the government’s drive to promote efficiency and personal responsibility through Universal Credit has led to flawed design choices that are depriving people of essential social security support in the UK. As they borrow money to cope and turn to food banks to provide for their families, these restrictions on their right to social security are also undermining their rights to food and other essential elements of the right to an adequate standard of living.

Refugees and Migration

  • Fundamental rights of refugees, asylum applicants and migrants at the European borders.
    The Council of Europe (CoE) and European Union (EU) Member States have an undeniable sovereign right to control the entry of non-nationals into their territory. While exercising border control, states have a duty to protect the fundamental rights of all people under their jurisdiction, regardless of their nationality and/or legal status. Under EU law, this includes providing access to asylum procedures.
  • When covid-19 recedes, will global migration start again? The Economist, August 2020.
    Nearly all of those losing their jobs in the UAE are migrants, who are almost 90% of the population. Without a job, they have to leave the country. This is irksome enough if they are bankers or architects. For those who used to wash dishes in hotels or lay bricks on building sites that are now shuttered, it can be a nightmare. Some 500,000 Indians in the UAE have registered to be evacuated; less than half have been.
  • World Migration Report 2020. IOM

Racism / BLM

International Human Rights news

  • The Rafto Prize for 2020 is awarded the Egyptian Commission for Rights and Freedoms (ECRF) for their persistence in bravely resisting Egypt´s state of fear.
    ECRF was founded by Mohamed Lotfy and Ahmed Abdallah in the wake of the coup d’état in 2013. In a relatively short time ECRF has grown to a team of more than 50 lawyers and researchers as well as about 1000 volunteers. The aim of their work is to provide non-partisan support to human rights defenders.
  • Global Biodiversity Outlook 5. UN Environment Program. Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity.
  • Webster psychology professor Linda Woolf receives National Distinguished Teaching Award. We congratulate Dr. Linda Woolf. She currently teaches in both the Psychology Department and the Center for International Human Rights in the College of Arts & Sciences.
  • 2020 Nansen Refugee Award spotlights child survivors of sexual exploitation.
    Mayerlín Vergara Pérez (Colombia) has spent decades helping rehabilitate survivors of childhood sexual exploitation, working to heal children and teenage survivors of sexual violence. She recently accepted the 2020 Nansen Refugee Award. As coordinator of a rehabilitation home in north-eastern Colombia for children who have been rescued from bars, brothels or the streets or removed from abusive homes. (UNHCR, October 2020)
  • For news and statistics about refugees, visit the website of the UNHCR:
  • For news and statistics about migration, visit the website of The International Organization for Migration.
  • For news and statistics about health, visit the website of the World health Organization:
  • For news and statistics about human rights, visit the website of the

Regional News

  • Mental health Europe, is an advocate for positive mental health and the rights of people living with mental ill health. Human rights are at the core of Mental Health Europe’s work. Human rights violations can negatively impact mental health and the lives of people living with mental ill health and psychosocial disabilities.

Conferences, Events, Education and Grants

  • 16th World Congress On Public Health. 12 – 16 October 2020. Online Congress.
  • CANPA TALKS. November 19: Racial Injustice, November 20: Indigenous Healing. Registration and more information available on
  • International Council of Psychologists 78th annual conference. Human rights, dignity and justice: Intersectionality and Diversity. ICP2020 will be held online through an interactive virtual conference platform. December 10, Evening – Welcome Event; December 11- 12. Scientific Program, Breakout Chat Rooms, Poster Sessions, Discussions.
  • 32nd International Congress of Psychology (ICP2020), Prague, Czech Republic. Rescheduled to 18-23 July 2021.
  • IACCP2020. Rescheduled to 24-29 July 2021. 25th International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. Olomouc/ Czech Republic.

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