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Confronting COVID: How Civil Society is Responding Across Countries

Our “Confronting COVID” blog series shares experiences of partners and allies in responding to the economic fallout of the pandemic.

As the longevity of the pandemic is becoming clearer, lockdowns in many places are being relaxed and debates are quickly moving on to how we “reopen” our economies. Civil society and social movements spread across different countries are strategizing and collaborating to make the voices of ordinary people heard, as well as demanding respect for their basic rights in the face of unjust and ineffective government action. Where are they focusing their efforts? What types of policy response are they calling for? What room are they finding (or creating) for human rights-centered solutions? These questions form the basis of this series, which invites our partners around the world to reflect on how their work is being shaped and shifted by COVID-19. 

Read more from partners in:

  • Brazil | Grazielle David from Red de Justicia Fiscal de América Latina y el Caribe shares strategies employed by the Coalizão Direitos Valem Mais (“Rights Are Worth More Coalition”).
  • Argentina | Julieta Izcurdia from Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia highlights the need for more comprehensive tax reforms in Argentina. 
  • Scotland | Alison Hosie from the Scottish Human Rights Commission stresses the importance of hearing marginalized voices in resourcing decisions.
  • South Africa | Carilee Osborne and Pamela Choga of the Institute for Economic Justice reflect on the challenges of leveraging South Africa’s strong constitutional rights protections to influence economic policy making.
  • Colombia | Alejandro Rodríguez Llach of Dejusticia outlines efforts to build on a newly created Solidarity Tax.
  • Uganda | Angella Nabwowe Kasule of the Initiative for Social and Economic Rights describes how the pandemic has increased momentum around calls to better fund public services.  
  • Brazil | Livi Gerbase from INESC details how civil society sees pandemic recovery programs as an opportunity to make the case for rolling back austerity in Brazil.
  • Global | Joshua Castellino of Minority Rights Group International discusses the disproportionate health and economic impacts of the pandemic on minority groups around the world and how civil society and governments should use economic policy to respond.
  • Serbia |  Danilo Ćurčić of the A11 Initiative describes how Serbian civil society is advocating for economic and social rights for all in the face of the pandemic.
  • Mexico | Máximo Ernesto Jaramillo-Molina of Fundar, Center of Analysis and Research highlights key areas where public investment is urgently needed. 
  • New Zealand | Paul Hunt, Chief Human Rights Commissioner for Aotearoa New Zealand, describes how the commission is advising the government, connecting with communities and holding decision-makers accountable during the pandemic.
  • Global | Polly Meeks, Dr Elizabeth Lockwood, and Dr Mohammed Ali Loutfy describe what some of the key international debates on financing for development in the era of COVID-19 might look if a disability rights lens was applied.