The establishment of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 was a groundbreaking moment for global consensus on the shared rights of all human beings. 72 years later, international human rights agreements are often violated without consequence, with their impact on directly improving state’s human rights records modest at best. And Covid-19 has presented new, unexpected and unprecedented challenges to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, as well as exacerbating suffering and violence from ongoing conflicts.
Governments in the Middle East and in North Africa (MENA) are tackling the pandemic in different ways, many challenged by weak social systems and growing societal frustrations. In relatively prosperous (middle-income) countries – such as Lebanon, Egypt and Iraq – leaders have used the pandemic as an excuse to suppress justified protests at their lack of accountability and failure to provide basic services. For international cooperation, which supports the functioning of legitimate, accountable governments and resilient societies, this poses a critical challenge – as the case of Lebanon currently illuminates.
Media coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic has raised the profile of armed groups in curious and often contradictory ways. ODI’s Centre for the Study of Armed Groups will seek to address these challenges in several ways.
COVID-19 has caused disruptions across the globe on a scale not previously imagined. This brief looks at the consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for conflict-affected areas in Africa, as well as measures taken against the pandemic, which are likely to be even more profound and far-reaching. But as the virus continues to spread, the impact of COVID-19 on ongoing conflicts is still uncertain.
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting all of us, but to differing extents. Overstretched health care systems, curfews, unemployment and school closures are posing challenges and pushing people beyond their ability to cope. The consequences of the pandemic will be felt in both, the short and long term. However, the longer term health, economic and social impact can only be estimated at present.
Europeans are incredibly lucky to largely not know what it feels like to fear for their lives due to war and violence. Yet suddenly, communities in Europe share characteristics with people who live in countries with violent conflict: coronavirus makes lives precarious and incomes unstable. It shows what it’s like when public services are underfunded, unreliable and insufficient.