Discussion
18 May - 31 May 2021

Accountability, rule of law and human rights (2nd e-discussion)

SDG 16 Hub • 27 April 2021

This second e-discussion is now concluded, but contributions can still be made (without moderation) until the end of June. You can also use the main Southern Voice & UNDP group page to share new thoughts and ideas with all group members. We hope you will be able to contribute to the other e-discussions happening in this group – currently on civic engagement and civic space (until 14 June). 

Discussion Summary


Accountability, Rule of Law and Human Rights

One of the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an over-centralization of power by governments (around the executive branches) leading to a curtailment of civil and political rights as necessary measures to address the health risks posed by the pandemic. There are many reports of excessive governmental reactions, including suppression of dissent and overuse of force. In addition to concerns over executive overreach and consequential shrinking of civic space, there are increasing fears about high levels of perceived corruption related to public spending during the pandemic and questions regarding governments’ management and capabilities to respond efficiently. These are further eroding an already undermined trust in democratic institutions as people demand accountability from state actors and politicians. It is, therefore, crucial to analyze these trends to guarantee checks and balances on executive power to ensure a balanced response and protect fundamental liberties and human rights.

The pandemic has laid bare some of the deep structural inequalities across societies. Population groups most at risk of being left behind are the most affected by the pandemic and often have the least access to decision-making power. Effective recovery requires a human rights-based approach in this crisis response.

In this e-Discussion, as we analyze issues like the changing social contract due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and its impact on democratic institutions, civic rights and fundamental freedoms, and peoples’ access to fair justice systems and rule of law, we encourage you to identify trends in your communities and share them here.

In particular, we invite your thoughts on the question:

What are some key policy recommendations, for national and global policymakers, to address the aftermath of Covid-19 with a human-rights approach?

Some additional questions to frame the discussion are:

  • What are the implications of the global backsliding in democracy and human rights? Will the trade-off between health and civil and political rights in the short term have longer-term consequences?

  • How can independent oversight mechanisms be strengthened to hold governments accountable, including security and police institutions responsible for upholding rule of law? Do people have access to justice to hold accountable those who have violated human rights?

  • What is the role of technology in making political institutions accountable? What are the challenges - or opportunities - with the use of technology in decision-making processes?

  • How can the relationship between citizens and their representatives be improved, particularly for marginalized groups having limited access to decision-making power?

  • What are the key factors that are eroding trust in institutions and what is needed to increase trust levels in democratic institutions?

The moderators for the e-discussion are:

●          Carolina Tchintian, CIPPEC - Argentina

●          Sarah Rattray, UNDP Crisis Bureau

●          Aparna Basnyat, UNDP Oslo Governance Centre

We look forward to hearing your ideas and to an engaging conversation!


First Week Summary

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Comments (32)

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

Dear Colleagues,

Thank you so much for the extremely interesting discussion over the last two weeks. It has been a pleasure to co-moderate this discussion with Carolina Tchintian and Sarah Rattray.

I think the key points of the discussion have already been summarized by my co-moderators. I would just remark how interlinked the different themes of the 4 e-discussions are to each other. We see issues related to civic engagement and civic space already coming up in this discussion. Gerardo Scherlis , for example, highlights how the increasing political polarization has impacted the ability to respond to the pandemic. Jane Loo  also mentions that, as part of social accountability, we need to make sure that citizens are able to meaningfully participate and challenge the arbitrary use of state power – especially to make sure that measures imposed do not further discriminate marginalized populations. Sarah Long emphasized the importance of the use of data as a tool for accountability, including to ‘build data narratives’ and counter misinformation and disinformation, and Mariana Neves of disaggregated data with a need for investment in national statistical systems and broader data ecosystem to provide reliable and accessible data to keep people informed. Priya Sood has also highlighted the role of civil society and broader stakeholder engagement in Voluntary National Review processes as important to make sure all perspectives are included in reviewing progress on the SDGs.  

We also already see the issues related to the 4th discussion on transparent, inclusive and responsive public service delivery being highlighted especially in relation to trust in institutions and the ability of the state to provide access to easy to understand and reliable information as has been brought up by Agustina , Gichung Lee and Adedeji and also, as Gerardo Scherlis mentions the need to reinforce capacities of the state to deliver services in a way that is inclusive. Saionara König-Reis and Chelsea both highlight the importance of National Human Rights Institutions so that they are able to monitor the actions of the state to ensure that service delivery is human rights-based. I am also curious to hear more in the coming weeks on the role of technology and both the opportunities and risks involved.

Finally, I would say that the discussion on accountability, rule of law and human rights is very strongly connected to the first discussion on peace and security, not least because all the issues we have discussed here – from increasing inequality and exclusion, political polarization to the arbitrary use of state power – can be the basis for instability and conflict in the future.

Thank you again for all your contributions and we look forward to bringing all this together at the Global Roundtable in the margins of the High Level Political Forum in July.

This discussions space will remain open for contribution until the end of June but active moderation will now conclude.

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

Hi and welcome to this e-discussion! I am the Director of the Political Institutions Program at CIPPEC, a leading think tank in Argentina that promotes evidence-based policy decisions in our country and the region. Over the next two weeks, I will be moderating this discussion space, along with Sarah Rattray and Aparna Basnyat, in order to analyze the main trends on the impact of the pandemic on achieving SDG 16. Particularly, during these two weeks we would like to consider the issues of accountability, rule of law and human rights. 

The pandemic posed significant challenges to the governance system worldwide. Among these, we can identify tensions between the restrictions imposed by lockdowns and civic freedoms; trade offs between quick governmental responses and public spending amidst the crisis and citizens’ overseeing and accountability capacity; and conflict between the concentration of decision making process by executives and the key role of the parliament for the consensuated public policies. However, it is also possible to identify trends that could represent key opportunities to move forward the recovery period, while advancing the SDG 16. For example, the acceleration in the use of technology for the decision making process and political participation could represent an opportunity to bring citizens and representatives closer, and to improve levels of transparency, responsiveness and accountability.

I look forward to learning from your insights in an effort to better understand the current global and regional trends and their impact on achieving peace, justice and inclusion. 

 

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

Hi everyone - I am greatly looking forward to this e-discussion - building on the last  one on peace and security and exploring the issues from the lens of accountability, human rights and rule of law. I am the SDG 16 Advisor at the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre and I am very happy to join Carolina Tchintian  and Sarah Rattray  to co-moderate this discussion. 

Carolina Tchintian already mentioned some issues where we very much look forward to hearing from you, but I wanted to particularly pick up on the issue she mentions above, which we are increasingly seeing across different countries and regions. On the one hand, we see an increasing demand for strong institutions to deliver public services and, at the same time, in many contexts, a consolidation of power in the executive, where institutions responsible for oversight and accountability - legislative, judiciary, independent oversight institutions - are being increasingly undermined. This also reinforces the risk of measures put in place to enforce COVID-19 regulations being used to silence dissent, infringe upon human rights and constrict the ability of people to demand accountability

We hope you will be able to share your thoughts and experience over the next few weeks on this and the other related topics above and we look forward to your contributions!

Agustina

Hi, my name is Agustina. I work for the Buenos Aires city government and was wondering how we can leverage the data governments and public agencies have about the pandemic to increase social trust on government institutions. Or, alternatively, how can we make sure that the information that citizens are able to properly digest all the information that is out there and make sense of it, without negatively impacting their trust on institutions? 

Gerardo Scherlis

Hi I am Gerardo Scherlis, professor at Universidad de Buenos Aires and associate researcher at Cippec. To contribute to this discussion, I would like to focus on what Carolina called opportunities to advance SDG 16 that emerged from the pandemic. I will mention two of these opportunities which were particularly underlined by the participants of our recent round meeting on this subject.

First, the pandemic put on the table the urgent need to reinforce Latin American states´ capacities. Even when it was known that our states are overall weak and lowly professionalized, the pandemic brought this problem back to to the top of the agenda. A responsive state which can provide with high quality public services to all its citizens requires a strong and state, irrespective of the ideological orientation of the governments. The aftermath of the pandemic will require an enormous effort in this direction in order to deal with increasing challenges in terms of social exclusion and organized crime.

Second, high levels of political polarization hindered in most countries the chance to implement successful and legitimate responses to the pandemic. Actually, polarization generally increased around the measures adopted by governments in the face of the pandemic. Hence it is key for the region to work on the search for more cooperative and collaborative institutional frameworks to face future emergency situations.  Only through more consensual institutional mechanisms it will be possible to face this type of crisis with the necessary legitimacy. This implies strengthening representative institutions, starting with congresses and political parties, but also opening up the system through participatory mechanisms.

I look forward to continuing this conversation by reading the contributions of our colleagues.

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

Thanks Gerardo Scherlis! I would like to add to you comment the risks that non-consensual decisions have on policy stability. Consensual decisions that include and represent diverse voices are more stable and efficient in the long term.

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Hi colleagues,

My name is Sarah Rattray and I am the global policy specialist on Human Rights with UNDP Headquarters supporting the Global Policy Network in UNDP and Country Offices on human rights programming and mainstreaming.  I am looking forward engaging with you in a vibrant discussion and moderating with Carolina and Aparna.

The first couple of responses have already pointed to some of the critical lessons we have learned from the pandemic in relation to accountability and human rights. Gerardo Scherlis' points on how political polarization which pre-existed before the pandemic was exacerbated and heightened during the pandemic and its response is similar to the overall “x-ray effect” the pandemic had on inequalities that exist in societies. We know from research that the pandemic affected those who were furthest behind and excluded prior to the pandemic disproportionately – across countries.  The answer Gerardo points to: strengthening representative institutions and enhancing participatory mechanisms is key here as a long term process to support responsive and inclusive governance institutions necessary in times of crisis or emergency response.

Agustina talks about the vital issue of trust and the fraying of the relationship and trust in the state which can have a negative effect on information uptake at critical times. When we think about accountability, the systems of checks and balances between institutions of the state – so-called horizontal accountability is often what our focus is. However, when it comes to trust between institutions or the state and populations, we need to focus on supporting social accountability which relates to how most populations interface with governments on a daily basis at the local level – focusing on processes and participation in public service delivery and supporting actions by civil society and populations to meaningfully participate in decisions that affect their lives.  

It would be really interesting to hear from participants about what sort of social accountability approaches or mechanisms were successful in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic response. How did governments address trust deficits or did other actors – like national human rights institutions or civil society – have vital roles?

Looking forward to exchanging further,

Best regards,

Sarah

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

Hello colleagues, 

Thank you for your comments and interventions. It is very interesting to read your insights and  reactions to these very relevant issues. 

Regarding Agustina's comment, I believe availability of data is not enough to strengthen accountability, specifically social or vertical accountability, which is the point raised by Sarah Rattray. It is critical to improve the way that data is made available to the citizens. Is the available data adequate to “open government” standards (i.e. easy access, uniformity in the way is presented across offices, in the maximum level of disaggregation)? In this regard, I would like to add on Sarah Rattray’s question to our audience the following ones: How should data be displayed in order to guarantee its efficient use? Do you know of any measures related to data availability and active transparency measures taken by governments that are worth highlighting?  

This is crucial as citizens´ trust in basic democratic institutions, which has been decreasing in the last few decades, is being further eroded these days. The vast amount of money spent by governments in COVID-19 related measures and the quick need for responses and purchases present opportunities for corruption and other practices that further damage citizen’s oversight and trust in our institutions. 

Finally, due to the massive amount of information available regarding COVID-19, there is a second issue that has given rise to concerning phenomena: misinformation and the associated phenomena of increasing levels of polarization. In fact, specialists have warned us about the problems associated with the COVID-19 infodemic, for example. 

Analyzing how the introduction of technology and the exponential growth of digital tools as a result of the pandemic could mean both a big risk (for example, given the digital gap) and and opportunity (for example, in data availability) for strengthening our democratic institutions. This is a topic we can further discuss in the upcoming weeks! 

Thank you all and I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts! 

 

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Yes vertical accountability also Carolina Tchintian. I had been referencing horizontal accountability and how state institutions monitor / engage across the state architecture but vertical accountability processes (elections!) are very relevant here also!

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

Completely agree Carolina Tchintian and Agustina -  the issue of reliable data to build trust in institutions is an important one - especially in the context of misinformation/disinformation. It would be interesting to hear more also on how this is affecting the functioning of governance institutions - not only in terms of transparency and access to information, but also how it is impacting the effective functioning of democratic processes. Niamh Hanafin  - it would be great to hear your thoughts on this as well.

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Aparna Basnyat another issue that impacts trust between populations and goverments is the concern regarding privacy and the surveillance state. Governments understandably rushed to try to find innovative - and often out of necessity, digital solutions to the many challenges of the pandemic including at the time contact tracing and other actions to track and try to control the spread of the virus. How these technologies are used, particularly in emergency response where the usual checks and balances that would be in play in a normal legislative or policy process may not have been in place raises questions around data protection, privacy, freedom of information and other human rights dimensions of digital responses to COVID-19. A good summary of these issues and how they are manifesting is included in the blog by @AinuraBekkoenova and @ZanaIdrizi here: In a global pandemic, do we still have a right to privacy? 

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

@Sarah, that is a very interesting point and thank you so much for sharing that useful resource. In the last year or so, concern has grown worldwide regarding state surveillance as a result of the measures taken by governments in the COVID-19 setting in democratic states. For example, Amnesty International described a Norwegian app - that was later paused - for COVID-19 tracking as one of the most alarming mass surveillance tools. This app was ranked alongside others in Bahrain and Kuwait. Similarly, earlier this year there was some controversy in Singapore as officials informed that data from a COVID contact tracing program could also be used by the police for criminal investigations, reversing previous privacy safeguards. 

For the recovery period, I think it is crucial to be very watchful of the rise of governmental invasive measures which have a direct negative impact on basic human rights, such as state censorship and surveillance, as we are facing the risk of normalization. The role of the Legislative and Judiciary Branches will be key in this discussion. We should demand openness and that high standards are kept regarding the use of our private information and civil society organizations also have a key role in this quest. 

The pandemic has accelerated the already rapid development in TICs usage in our societies and the exponential growth of technological tools available. I think that this has also somehow altered some of the original expectations that this technology availability represented. Ten years ago, the spread of smartphones and the use of social media were identified as democratizing tools that contributed to horizontalize deliberation and reduce the problems associated with collective action to organize, for example, protests.

Now, as protesters turn to their smartphones to record their experiences on the ground and upload them online, those same devices can be used against them. This is even more relevant during the pandemic. Law enforcement actors have digital surveillance tools that can be used to identify protestors and monitor their movements and communications. Furthermore, while protesters are within their rights to take pictures and video at protests, the images they capture could lead to unintended consequences for vulnerable participants. For example, this appears as particularly relevant in Latin America, where massive protests and significant social demands were taking place in the streets right before the pandemic hit (e.g. Chile in 2019) and I wonder how all of this will evolve after pandemics.  

 

Agustina

Thanks Carolina Tchintian and Sarah Rattray for your feedback and comments regarding my question. In line with what has been said, I believe it will become more and more relevant in the days and months that come for governments to think about how they make available their data to the population. While the availability of data is a priori something that is desirable and good for transparency and government accountability, the way this data is presented (for example, through figures, graphs, and tables) will be key in helping citizens' make sense of it. We know that graphs and figures can be created in such a way as to be misleading, and it will be interesting to see how governments try to avoid this problem. I believe one solution to this would be to invest more time and resources in creating easily digestible graphs and figures for the population at large.  

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

"Easily digestible graphs and figures", to use your exact words, also contribute to decrease the risk of introducing new inequalities among those prepared to understand the data when available and those who lack of that expertise. 

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Fully agree that it is critical to get vital information to populations and ensuring easily digestible materials and figures for the population is an important way to do that Agustina. In doing so we also need to ensure information is accessible to all populations with a priority focus on populations who are consistently left behind. Ensuring that those populations in each country / county are specifically targeted with information is critical - so for example, indigenous people, ethnic or linguistic minorities, people with disabilities - may need targeted information and engagement campaigns. 

Another important issue is conceptualizing information flow to populations taking into account the digital divide that may exist in different contexts. 49 percent of the world still lacks internet access and this impacts women far more than men and is often more prevalent in countries emerging from conflicts and there is a distinct urban vs rural divide. Part of effective campaigns as well may include the need to consider digital infrastructure, literacy, education, access and inclusiveness..... 

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

summary

Thank you for all the contributions to the e-discussion so far and we look forward to hearing more from you in the coming days!

Some themes that we see coming out of the discussion so far:

  • We see an increasing demand for strong institutions to deliver public services, but this has also led in some cases to using the pandemic as a cover to silence dissent, infringe upon human rights, and constrict people’s ability to demand accountability. In many contexts, there has been further consolidation of power in the executive, undermining institutions responsible for oversight and accountability, including the key role of parliaments and citizens in oversight and accountability.
  • The pandemic has exposed and exacerbated existing societal fault lines further highlighting pre-existing challenges and inequalities. It has underscored the need for substantial improvements in State capacities for the provision of public services, and to counter exclusion and organized crime.
  • Collaborative and cooperative institutional frameworks, and more consensual institutional arrangements which strengthen representative institutions and open up the system through participatory mechanisms is needed.
  • Technology can play an important role to assist in decision-making and political participation, bringing together citizens and representatives and improving levels of transparency, responsiveness and accountability. However, there are many potential risks as unequal access to technology will exacerbate inequalities (e.g. digital gap and lack of accessibility for population groups already at risk of being left behind).
  • The issue of dis- and misinformation, or “infodemic”, has been a growing concern since the beginning of the pandemic. It has been instrumental in undermining trust and transparency, eroding basic democratic principles, increasing polarization and affecting the functioning of institutions.
  • The link between access to reliable data and evidence and trust in governance institutions has been highlighted especially in terms of supporting social accountability, i.e., how most populations interface with government on a daily basis at the local level and can meaningfully be involved in decisions that affect their lives.
  • The way data is presented is also important and needs to be easily digestible and understandable. Targeted information and engagement campaigns must consider digital infrastructure, literacy, education, accessibility and inclusiveness in order to reach those consistently left behind, such as indigenous peoples, ethnic or linguistic minorities, and persons with disabilities.
  • The issue of privacy, data protection and the surveillance state, given that quick innovative solutions to fight the pandemic have raised ethical questions about technology use without adequate checks and balances, raising the question “In a global pandemic, do we still have a right to privacy?”

Some remaining questions to be addressed now include: What mechanisms of social accountability were successful during the pandemic? How can governments address trust deficits? What was the role of other actors in  promoting oversight and accountability, such as National Human Rights Institutions or civil society? What are some examples of how data be made more accessible to promote transparency and access to information?   

Jane Loo

Hi everyone. Glad to be a part of this discussion. My name is Jane Loo and I am a research associate at the SMU Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Data Governance in Singapore. I enjoyed reading all of your comments above and wish to share my thoughts in response.   

 

Narrowing in first on some of the key opportunities arising out of the pandemic, I agree with Gerardo Scherlis’ insights that the pandemic has brought to the fore the need for better and stronger governance. State institutions and actors must be well-organized, responsive, and accountable to its population to achieve effective pandemic containment and control. On the point of accountability, I see it as being linked to citizens having a more participatory voice and ability to challenge the exercise of (arbitrary) state powers. Having this platform or redress mechanism will ensure that measures adopted by the State are representative of the people’s needs. As Carolina Tchintian puts it, “consensual decisions that include and represent diverse voices are more stable and efficient in the long term”. Building on her point, it is good to recall also that citizen inclusion/ participation should function as an inclusive and not exclusive concept so it is imperative that we acknowledge initially and principally vulnerability as a universal and inherent human condition and prioritize the protection of those living at the margins of society. Pandemic control measures should not exacerbate vulnerability and discriminate vulnerable populations but alleviate their ongoing hardship.

 

Another point I wish to raise about opportunities arising out of the pandemic and also relevant to Sarah Rattray's question on what sort of social accountability approaches are successful in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic response –  I believe mention must be given to the rule of law. Ascription to the rule of law can strengthen institutional and process frameworks, as well as offer potentials for actionability and enforcement remedying trust deficits. I enjoy Martin Krygier’s writings on the rule of law and his conception that the rule of law should be understood as the tempering of powers. The extent to which the exercise of such arbitrary powers’ deviate from principles of the rule of law is a measure of the illegitimacy of its authority and its (indisputably, negative) influence on citizens trust. I see the tempering of arbitrary powers as linked to the enhancement of social trust and greater trust as having a positive influence on the legitimacy of the State – it would be interesting to hear all of your thoughts on this relationship.

 

Saionara König-Reis

Hi everyone, I'm Saionara König-Reis from the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR), which is the National Human Rights Institution of Denmark. I am the Programme Manager for our SDG-related work on Data and Accountability. 

I would like to share some initial insights we are having from a joint study in collaboration with the regional UNDP office for the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) region, which is closely related to the questions in this forum. 

We are gathering good practices implemented by state and non-state actors in LAC during the Covid-19 pandemic and which are contributing to further the realization of human rights in relation to specific SDGs, in particular related to peace, justice and inclusion. From the data we gather, we will draw practical recommendations. We will be happy to share the results in the coming months.

For now, it might be relevant for this discussion to share some criteria we have designed for what a good practice in times of Covid-19 might be, from a human rights perspective. They can also be read as recommendations for the purpose of this discussion and applied for improving accountability and strengthening the rule of law.

We are working on it in Spanish, but from the instructions above it seems to be ok for this platform. If not, please let us know if we should get it translated.

From our perspective, policymakers must ensure that actions to address the impact of the pandemic can lead us to a better social cohesion by considering the following, among other specific measures already addressed by other in the discussion above:

  1. Ubica a las personas en el centro: La medida debe estar orientada, en primer lugar, a mejorar la calidad de vida y asegurar el respeto y garantía de los derechos de las personas y de las comunidades. La reactivación económica y las acciones de manejo de la pandemia deben priorizar a las personas.
  2. Reconoce las diferencias: La medida reconoce que la crisis de la Covid-19 afecta de manera diferenciada a distintas poblaciones e individuos. Por ello, realiza de manera rápida, efectiva y completa un mapeo de grupos y poblaciones vulnerables que incluye, entre otros, a mujeres; menores de edad; personas mayores; migrantes y refugiados; personas y comunidades indígenas; personas con discapacidad; personas detenidas o en entornos institucionalizados; y personas en extrema pobreza o situación de informalidad. La situación de las personas reconocidas en este mapeo es considerada en el diseño e implementación de medidas, con el objetivo de mitigar situaciones de vulnerabilidad que se intersectan con la crisis sanitaria.
  3. Prioriza la transparencia y el acceso a la información: La medida pone en práctica acciones de transparencia y rendición de cuentas a lo largo de todo su proceso, desde la toma de decisiones hasta la evaluación de resultados, comunicándose adecuadamente en medios, Internet o conferencias de prensa. Asimismo, la medida no interfiere con la libertad de prensa ni representa una violación al derecho a la privacidad de los ciudadanos.
  4. Favorece la inclusión y participación ciudadana: La medida prioriza la participación ciudadana y la inclusión de los distintos actores de la comunidad que se verá impactada por medio de consultas y diálogo con las comunidades. Tiene la flexibilidad necesaria para adaptarse a la realidad y a las necesidades de las comunidades e individuos a los que está dirigida.
  5. Cuantifica el impacto y responde a la evidencia y las necesidades: La medida se justifica, diseña e implementa sobre la base de la evidencia e información existentes. El impacto de la medida debe poder ser evaluado mediante indicadores concretos, previamente establecidos. Se debe tener en cuenta que el impacto se refiere a las consecuencias positivas que dichos resultados tuvieron para el bienestar ciudadano. La medida establece líneas de base, indicadores y cronogramas de medición y autoevaluación. En los casos en que no exista evidencia suficiente para justificar una medida, toma decisiones sobre la base de suposiciones informadas y justifica adecuadamente esta evaluación.
  6. Fija límites a las limitaciones: Cuando la medida implica estados de emergencia o limitación de derechos, se establece claramente los motivos que justifican esta decisión, así como la fecha de expiración o de evaluación de su continuidad. Asume cualquier situación de excepción como estrategia para contener la crisis y regresar lo antes posible a un estado de pleno reconocimiento de derechos. Comunica adecuadamente la justificación de la medida y los criterios de contención que permitirán dar fin al estado de excepcionalidad, e informa pertinentemente a la ciudadanía de los avances.
  7. Pondera adecuadamente los derechos: Cuando la medida pone derechos en conflicto, pondera adecuadamente el derecho que debe prevalecer y justifica esta decisión. Aun así, un derecho superior, como es el derecho a la vida o a la salud, no debe ser entendido como una carta blanca para suspender otros derechos como la libertad de prensa, participación política o libre tránsito. La ponderación debe estar adecuadamente justificada.

Lastly, on Aparna's last question on the role of NHRIs in promoting oversight and accountability. Some recent ad upcoming studies are compiling information on this issue. Listing some below for reference, and adding a few bullet points to spark the conversation:

- NHRI's are a critical actor in human rights monitoring and reporting, which improves accountability at the global and national level

- NHRIs can contribute so that e.g. legislations, national development planning, budgeting and reporting are aligned with human rights standards and they can monitor that its implementation is also aligned

- NHRIs can facilitate the participation and consultation of groups impacted by government programmes

- NHRIs are contributing to the availability of high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data through their own data collection processes but also through partnerships with national statistic offices

- NHRIs can contribute to unveiling patterns of systemic barriers to fulfil human rights for specific groups from the data gathered through their complaints systems.

- NHRIs can foster and monitor the enabling environment for civic participation i.e. to exercise the right to defend rights.

There are challenges to getting NHRIs well-resourced and to have its role recognized in national processes, but the potential in these cases is enormous. 

Published work with examples on this include:

- Working with the 2030 Agenda to promote human rights: NHRI initiatives in the Asia Pacific region - https://www.humanrights.dk/publications/working-2030-agenda-promote-hum… 

Upcoming publications include:

- Policy brief on the role of NHRIs as accountability actors in the SDGs (German Development Institute and DIHR)

- Report on NHRIs in LAC, experiences, roles and practice, including during Covid-19 (DIHR, GAHNRI, RINDHCA, and others)

- Global SDG Accountability Report (TAP Network)

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

Thank you so much for such valuable contributions, Saionara König-Reis  We are very interested in learning more about your results from your study with the UNDP office for the LAC region in the next months. It is definitely OK to share insights in Spanish, too, so thank you for that. 

I found especially interesting the fifth and sixth measures in the list provided and how connected they are one to each other: in order to establish credible boundaries on the limits imposed on individual rights it is key that the decisions are based on evidence and clearly communicated to the population. A very good example we have been discussing these days is the postponement of elections in many countries because of the pandemic. These types of measures have to be the last resource, but in case it is considered to temporarily postpone this political right, the decision has to be sustained on data, provide certainty on when elections will  be held and the boundaries on these limits must be clearly communicated.

 

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Thanks Saionara König-Reis for these important insights.

From a broader UN perspective, many of these points are captured in the approach outlined by the UN Secretary-General in the UN socio-economic response framework to COVID 19 which was first published in April 2020. To complement that UNDP and OHCHR with the UN Development Cooperation Office published a companion programming piece specifically on human rights and to help ensure a Human Rights-Based Approach to the socio-economic response to COVID-19 which delves deeper into what is required to ensure that the UN is fully integrating human rights in the socio-economic response to COVID. From ensuring a rights-based Leave No One Behind (LNOB) mapping to ensure disproportional impacts on excluded, vulnerable or marginalized groups are part of the analysis to putting rights-considerations at the centre of the 5-pillar response of the UN.

Many UN partners did a review of the socio-economic response plans of the UN system in terms of inclusion and human rights and based on that review we collated some of the main lessons learned about the human rights aspects of how the UN system has responded to the socio-economic impact of COVID-19.  Some of the main lessons learned are:

  • Where the UN is already investing and working together on human rights before COVID-19 pandemic we are better off at ensuring a rights-based response.  So investment in human rights is important to stem any future crises.
  • Mapping or analysing people left behind or recognizing the disproportional impact on certain populations is critical but not enough if is it not translated into action.
  • Human Rights mechanisms issued important guidance on the rights-implications of COVID from the get-go: were we listening? Thematic advice was swiftly put forward by many special procedure mandate holders and mechanisms of the Human Rights Council specifically on how to support disadvantaged or marginalized groups as well as inclusive policy proposals.
  • We need to support and leverage the expertise of NHRIs and civil society as active partners
  • Macro-economic response that is rights-based can protect fundamental freedoms and as we think about how to ensure inclusive economies in the aftermath of COVID these considerations are critical
  • Addressing immediate consequences matters but for long term inclusive growth and realization of rights, we need to factor in measures to address structural drivers of exclusion, inequality and discrimination.

There is much to learn from the COVID-response in terms of human rights implications and actions for future resilience. The forthcoming resources you mention Saionara König-Reis  will be very useful!

Thank you

Chelsea

Hi everyone! I am Chelsea Shelton, a Human Rights Programme Specialist at United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this discussion.

I'd like to echo Saionara König-Reis who articulated well many of the ways national human rights institutions (NHRIs) can promote accountability. Indeed, NHRIs play a crucial role in bridging accountability gaps where other justice oversight and complaint systems fail.

NHRIs have also proven to be essential for supporting inclusive and rights-based responses and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Many NHRIs have monitored rights restrictions imposed by emergency measures and have engaged in policy formulation to ensure rights-based responses. 

At the same time, the operations and scope of work of NHRIs have been impacted by the pandemic. NHRIs require financial and logistical support to enable effective remote  operations as well as the technical and human resource capacity needed to address rising human rights concerns during the pandemic.

The Tripartite Partnership to Support National Human Rights Institutions (TPP) between UNDP, the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), and the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) seeks to offer a responsive, coherent, and reliable framework of United Nations (UN) support to NHRIs and their networks. The TPP adapted to the changing needs of NHRIs during the COVID-19 pandemic and continues to strengthen their capacities to fulfill their mandates. 

For example the NHRI of Mali, with support from the TPP and MINUSMA, conducted monitoring visits of places of deprivation of liberty in Mopti and utilized these reports  as an advocacy tool to improve the conditions for detainees during the COVID-19 pandemic. These efforts contributed to the Government of Mali’s decision to release 1,300 convicts and 200 defendants nationally, including 32 women, through a collective grace taken by the President in June 2020

Meanwhile in The Gambia,  the TPP supported the design and installation of an Automated Case Management System for the NHRI to respond to increased demand for the NHRI to monitor, investigate, and report human rights situations. The system enables the NHRI to efficiently manage complaints through a user-friendly and secure online platform.  The system also produces real-time disaggregated data and thematic analyses and reports of the complaints.  

The TPP has two forthcoming studies's on NHRIs and COVID-19 - one at the global level encompassing materials from over 75% of NHRIs world wide and another one focussing on the African region in collaboration with the Network for African National Human Rights Institutions.

I also want to stress that while NHRIs are essential for ensuring accountability, they are only one line of defense and need to be supported as part of a holistic national human rights system with strong connections to international and regional mechanisms that are key for promoting the normative framework of human rights and can open windows of opportunity for progress. We need to utilize all of the tools at our disposal and strengthen multiple layers of accountability to deal with the injustices of today and protect the rights of future generations.

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

Thanks Chelsea and Saionara König-Reis for highlighting the important role of NHRIs and sharing these great examples. The role of oversight institutions such as NHRIs become even more important during crisis as they are able to monitor the equitable delivery of aid or services and highlight specific population groups that may be overlooked. The challenge however is when the independence of institutions are being actively undermined and, as you have pointed out Chelsea, we also need to further consider how to better connect with regional and international mechanisms to address this. At the same time, investment is also needed on building the resilience of such institutions so that they can also actively safeguard the space for others - human rights defenders, media, etc. - to demand accountability. This speaks to your point Saionara König-Reis of creating an 'enabling environment of civic participation' which perhaps we will also hear more about in the next e-discussion on 'Civic Space and Civic Engagement' which begins from tomorrow.

Gichung Lee

Hello everyone, my name is Gichung Lee and I am a Policy Analyst at UNDP Seoul Policy Centre for Knowledge Exchange through SDG Partnerships and am happy to join this interesting discussion. As a person based in Republic of Korea, I would like to try and contribute to the important questions Sarah Rattray, Carolina Tchintian, and Aparna Basnyat raised on data availability, trust deficit, and transparency guarantee.

During our webinar with the Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG), we learned that the local government utilizes online platforms to publicly release/update COVID-19-related information. The website keeps citizens updated on COVID-19 situations reports and past itineraries of confirmed patients as Seoul’s disinfection policy, support services, social campaigns. Along with the website, the past whereabouts of confirmed patients are also informed via pre-existing emergency text alert system, which originally designed to provide information on natural disaster, crisis, air pollution, etc. To meet the challenges posed by the COVID-19 Infodemic, SMG developed a fact-checking online platform with the aim of easing public fears by thoroughly verifying misinformation. The designated team filters out false information and announces fact-checked COVID-19 related information with the evidence material. This enabled citizens to critically evaluate online contents and contributes to positive impact to the community, such as enhanced public support and trust.   

Let me also add on the current development and policy changes by SMG which also touches upon the privacy issues. Disclosing the past itineraries of confirmed patients (despite its good intentions) not only created unnecessary tension and confusion but also negatively affected the local businesses and economy with stigma even after the disinfection. Hence, based on the updated laws, only the information with absolute necessity for prevention is released on the website and deleted after 14 days. It would be also worth noting that they encourage the information to be text-based (rather than the image) to ensure accessibility for the disabled.

Looking forward to hearing more about other country examples and benefiting from your insights!

Adedeji

Hello everyone, I will like to respond to two of the issues raised: Technology, Accountability & Inclusive Decision-Making and Increasing trust levels in democratic institutions amid erosion. 

It has become mainstream belief that technology can play a significant role in improving governance and public participation, particularly in developing countries. This is especially important in the wake of the coronavirus crisis and the impact it has had on government-people relations in Africa, where citizens now trust their leaders less than they did at the start of the pandemic. A number of countries - such as Malawi, Kenya, Nigeria, Uganda, South Africa, etc - have reported rampant corruption and theft of resources meant to cushion against the impacts of the disease. A citizen-focused approach to recovery efforts can be achieved with the help of technology. Information and communication technologies (ICTs) hold promise in ensuring transparency and accountability in governance and with them, governments can renew the social contract, reduce corruption, and rebuild trust with its people. Technology equally has the potential to change (and improve) the way governments interact with their citizens, especially with those most excluded from decision-making processes. A global culture centered on information access has emerged in recent years and so if ICTs will be successfully used in addressing structural inequalities across societies, access to information, education and the ability to share information is a must-have for all citizens. New technologies such as social media, legislative websites, application programming interfaces (APIs) and databases can improve monitoring of political processes and citizen participation, thus increasing government accountability. However, simply making more data available to the public - while it indicates more transparency - does not necessarily translate to total openness of the government to inclusiveness or accountability. Civil society organizations can help in this case, by articulating desired outputs and actively championing citizen involvement. Examples abound across the world. In Korea, an E-Procurement system provides services to public bidders to help overcome red tape and corruption and in India, Bhoomi touch-screen kiosks in government offices facilitate land registration and help avoid corruption. Also in India, an initiative by civil society organisation Janaagraha mobilising citizens to reveal government corruption with the use of ICTs culminated in the reforming of the motor vehicle department to eliminate potential demands for bribes. Furthermore, citizens often lack ways to give feedback to governments except during infrequent election periods. Here, advances in data collection and several online platforms for citizen engagement present new opportunities for technology to promote inclusiveness in decision-making. Some examples are sentiment analysis websites - the California Report Card, OpinionSpace, and the Citizen Report Card - that allow constituents to express their opinions for representatives to better respond to their needs. Though potentially very effective in promoting government transparency and citizen participation, use of ICT tools have drawbacks. Marginalised populations often lack resources and face cultural and literacy barriers; the usage of ICTs is costly, may not produce the expected results and in fact, could backfire if not adequately planned; without a framework for information governance, they may mislead and misinform citizens, instead of empower them; and focusing solely on the use of ICTs to the detriment of building a collective voice can lead to a lot of information with minimal action

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Thank you Adedeji for your insights here. You really emphasize so clearly how important social accountability mechanisms are to ensure inclusion and voice are heard in policy and public administration delivery, which is particularly critical in crisis environments such as the response to COVID. Also how the role of civil society (and I would argue NHRIs) is in supporting this. 

Aside from the many interesting examples you share, one very interesting initiative that I am aware of at city-level launched in March 2021 is the is the Coalition of Cities for Digital Rights, which was an initiative launched by the cities of Amsterdam, Barcelona and NYC and now has 50 cities worldwide including including Amman, San Jose and many others. The CC4DR initiative recently published a set of recommendations to guide city leaders, urban managers and other stakeholders as they use technology in response to crises such as COVID 19. These recommendations provide a framework that places human rights at the centre, providing guidance on how to involve the beneficiaries of technology and how digitalization can be managed and monitored to promote inclusive access and positive impacts for all in urban communities. 

The initiative is touching on many current rights issues local governments are facing globally around digital transformation including the digital divide, privacy in the digital age and how to address fake news and misinformation. This is likely very interesting for those working at local government level (Zoe Pelter) and again shows how cities working together can be at the forefront of innovation and rights-based change.

 

Adedeji

Institutional trust has long been a precious commodity but is more precarious than ever presently. Threats to public trust often rise in times of crisis and it has not been any different during the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As governments across the world seek an end to the pandemic, plummeting public trust can undermine the ability of social institutions to serve the people they are intended to benefit. For instance, scandals surrounding the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines or reported cases of state actors aiding the purchase and use of fake jabs would only stoke vaccine apathy among the people, and consequently hinder mass vaccination and recovery efforts. Some of the factors behind the growing distrust, particularly in African countries, include reports of irregularities and corruption in the management of Covid-19 funds and relief items by governments. These not only impede the effectiveness of response measures but also undermine trust and legitimacy in government leaders and democratic institutions. Secondly, an excessive reliance on coercion in the enforcement of measures meant to curb the virus from spreading further - in countries such as South Africa - have done severe damage to institutional trust. Furthermore, reported attempts by some governments to leverage the pandemic to introduce repressive legislation and curb media freedoms and other civil liberties have only eroded democratic governance gains of the past two decades. African governments will be in a much better position to overcome the Covid-19 crisis and boost chances for post-pandemic rebuilding if they commit to protecting and improving domestic political capital - the trust of the people - and strengthening the social contract with citizens. More so, the consequences of today’s trust deficit could haunt societies for many years to come, long after the pandemic has gone. African governments can repair declining social trust by making sure institutions are effective and deliver real benefits for people; strengthening accountability and transparency; engaging citizens in solving community and societal challenges; strengthening social inclusion and establishing real commitment.

Sarah Long

Hello all – My name is Sarah Long, and I’m the Director for Access to Justice Research at the World Justice Project (WJP). Many thanks to Carolina Tchintian, Sarah Rattray, and Aparna Basnyat for organizing this important discussion. I’d like to respond to some of the questions that Aparna raises on the themes of accountability, trust, and openness, through my professional lens working on justice data specifically.

I’d like to first point out that data itself is an important tool for accountability, and in turn helps to build trust. In the justice space, data on the impacts and outcomes of various justice services for people is vital for providing accountability on the extent to which justice service delivery is inclusive and people-centric – i.e., whether everyone, including marginalized populations, can access legal and justice services that allow them to meet their justice needs – and therefore facilitates progress towards the goal of “leaving no one behind.”

In order for data to serve as a tool for accountability, it must be open and accessible. New strategies are needed to expand access to anonymized and appropriate justice data, in particular to researchers, advocates, and innovators who can use this data to develop new justice strategies and solutions. The 2021 World Development Report on Data for Better Lives calls for the development of regulations and best practices that include requirements on data accessibility and openness, as well as privacy standards.  

Data must also be well communicated and user friendly – for both policymakers and the general public – in order to facilitate accountability and trust. Data producers must work to build data narratives that speak to these audiences, using language that is easy to understand. The WJP has done work to improve on this in recent years, as part of our global legal needs survey in over 100 countries. It asks respondents about the everyday justice problems they have experienced without using technical or legal language, and displays the data as a “path to justice” that illustrates how people navigate their everyday justice problems. Other good examples of this include the Everyday Peace Indicators or Poverty Stoplight, which aim to measure peace and poverty respectively, using language that reflects the lived experiences of people. I was struck by a comment from Roger MacGinty, who works on the Everyday Peace Indicators, that many top-down peace indicators are disconnected from the way that people narrate their lives. This is an important obstacle to the effective use and communication of data, especially on themes discussed in this forum.

Lastly, for data to serve as a tool for accountability and trust, it must be collected, communicated, and used by a diverse ecosystem of data producers, including governments, civil society, and academia, among others. Last week’s discussion touched on a lack of trust driven by disinformation, or an “infodemic.” In this context, civil society data plays a very important role on combatting misinformation and sometimes perverse incentives for state actors to misrepresent data, particularly when it comes to issues of rule of law and human rights. Even when intentions are good, the pandemic has introduced a number of resource and capacity constraints that have prevented governments from effectively collecting and using data. In this context, non-official data producers can also help address these capacity constraints and ensure continued monitoring of rule of law and human rights issues.

I hope these insights are helpful and look forward to the rest of this discussion.

Aparna Basnyat Moderator

Thanks Sarah Long for bringing up these important points from your extensive experience at the World Justice Project. As you and others have noted, having reliable, timely and accurate data is fundamental for accountability - but it must also be accessible and easy for people to use and understand. One of the challenges, as you know, is that SDG 16 is one of the goals where there is least amount of official data available so measuring progress on SDG 16 and holding state accountable for this progress becomes difficult when we don't have a baseline to measure against. I agree that new data partnerships are fundamental to making sure that we overcome this data gap! One of the initiatives that we have been working on with UNODC and OHCHR is an SDG 16 Survey tool - which we hope to make available later on this year for countries to use to collect data on most of the SDG 16 indicators. Mariana Neves may have more to share on this as well.

Mariana Neves

Hi colleagues,

 

I’m Mariana Neves and I work as Governance Statistics Specialist in the UNDP Oslo Governance Centre. I thank Aparna Basnyat for inviting me to this interesting discussion. I would like to join with a few thoughts.

 

I completely agree with Carolina that the availability of data is not sufficient, and we should invest in Open data, although this should be duly anonymized and respect the principles of confidentiality as set by the Fundamental Principals of Official Statistics. In 2019, only 132 countries had legislation complying with FPOS, so considerable investment is still required in that front.

 

Second, there is a higher demand for statistics, particularly disaggregated statistics but overall the funding is decreasing, it would be interesting to see in the next SDG report how many country still have fully funded national statistical plan, because this has a direct implication on the amount of data produced and its granularity. In 2019, 92 countries had fully funded national development plans under implementation, with the impact of COVID-19 and reprioritization of resources this might have decreased in 2020. This further corroborates that the data that is available and being produced needs to utilized to its fullest and that can only be achieved by a combination of open data, increase of statistical literacy, and improved communication and visualization strategies.

 

One of the existing resources to strengthen the national capacities in the measurement of SDG 16, is training conducted by UNODC, UNDP and OHCHR on the SDG 16 indicators, last year there was one dedicated to the African Continent and there is currently training in Latin America and Caribbean that is ending this Thursday. The last webinar will cover part of the thematic discussed in this e-discussion, namely, Human rights, strengthening national institutions, leaving no one behind, and eliminating discrimination.

 

As already mentioned by Aparna, there is also one initiative led by the same three agencies on the development of a single operation to collect most of the survey-based indicators under the SDG 16, the methodology is under development and currently being piloted. Once concluded and implemented the operation will be able to produce data on governance (satisfaction with public services and external political efficacy), violence (violence reporting, safety, physical and psychological violence, harassment) access to justice (access to dispute resolution mechanisms), corruption (bribery), human rights (discrimination), and human trafficking.

 

Lastly, the role of e-discussions like this one is pivotal to harness the experience and best practices of a diverse group of stakeholders, as the statistical production landscape is changing this brings a unique opportunity to learn from the mitigating strategies and lessons learned from colleagues.

Priya Sood

Hello All, My name is Priya Sood and I am the coordinator of the Global Alliance for Reporting Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies.  Thank you for all the insights throughout the discussion - I wanted to focus more on how we can strengthen the role of civil society in improving relationships between citizens and their representatives?  Community based organizations can offer unique opportunities for connecting more marginalized communities to local and national governments.  Through both the VNR and UPR processes if governments are committed and if civil society and international organizations advocate there are opportunities for these marginalized voices to be heard.  Let's explore further how to strengthen engagement between local CSOs and local and national governments. CSOs do play a key role in identifying who is left behind as well as in filling data gaps, providing relevant programming, and advocating for groups not otherwise seen or heard. 

Carolina Tchintian Moderator

Hi everyone! I would like to thank all of the colleagues, researchers and experts who have contributed to this discussion over the past two weeks. So many interesting comments, experiences and inputs have been shared and we are very excited to continue analyzing and working on some of the topics mentioned. Also, I would like to thank you for all the relevant resources that will be crucial in our synthesis report. Please remember your contributions will be appropriately acknowledged in this report feeding into the Global Roundtable at the 2021 High-level Political Forum.

I would like to share two final points that emerge from the last few comments and contributions. On the one hand, even though the role of data and ICTs was considered in depth (thank you so much @Gichung Lee and @Adedeji for bringing such interesting information to the discussion!), I think we should also include the role of AI in the discussion more comprehensively in the future, when considering the impact of technology in our democracies. At CIPPEC’s Future of Politics Initiative we have been analyzing different aspects crucial to these two-week discussions around AI, such as how we can exploit its benefits without violating basic rights or reinforcing pre-existing inequities (see, for example our work here). It is then crucial to develop appropriate governance structures to mitigate some of the risks associated with the use of AI through, for example, promoting transparency measures regarding AI implementation and information. 

On the other hand, I think there is another point to be made that did not appear explicitly but it would be beneficial to further consideration in future discussions regarding procedural justice. This connects directly to @Sarah Long’s contribution on justice data and the idea of well communicated and user friendly data. “Understanding” is one of the key elements typically described for the experience of procedural justice (Berman & Adler, 2020). At CIPPEC, we have been working from some time to now with procedural justice approaches in order to improve citizens’ trust in rules and authorities. The goal through this approach is to generate an improvement in legitimacy levels in judiciary institutions (see, for example our work with Southern Voice and Espacio Público regarding quarantine sanctions in Argentina and Chile). When discussing trust and accountability in democratic institutions, which - like we discussed - have been decreasing in the last years and are being further eroded by the pandemic, it is crucial to be particularly mindful of ways in which we could make data people-centric, as @Sarah Long mentioned. Once again, the role of civil society organizations and partnerships is decisive in this matter.  

Looking forward to seeing you all in the currently open e-discussion on “Civic Space and Civic Engagement”!

Carolina

 

 

Sarah Rattray Moderator

Dear colleagues, 

As our current discussion closes and we move on to discuss Civic Space and Civic Engagement - i wanted to echo the words of my co-moderator Carolina Tchintian and thank you for the important points that you have raised and experiences you have shared.  These perspectives will be vital to include in the report for the Global Roundtable at the High-Level Political Forum - thank you. 

A few of the key take-aways that i have noted from the discussion: 

- high-quality, disaggregated data is crucial to drive statistical analysis and gather the right information about who has been left behind and to start to extrapolate the 'why' of that equation. Data and evidence matter and need to be rights-based. If they are not we can run the risk of exacerbating the voicelessness of populations that are not represented in the so-called traditional data we / policymakers use. This isn't easy - we need to acknowledge and factor in our 'blind spots' in data collation, systems and evidence. 

- Information is power and if it isn't shared equitably and isn't accessible or targeted toward under-represented populations it can exacerbate unequal power relationships to the disadvantage of populations. The digital divide is real and we need to factor elements to bridge that divide - to ensure inclusion and equality of access to data - every step of the way. New technologies provide enormous and exciting opportunities, but human rights risks need to be managed and factored in including in relation to the rights to privacy and the inherent bias that can be represented in AI technologies

- Civil society and the role of National Human Rights Institutions are critical. I am pleased to share a study that we just published with the UN Human Rights Office and the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI) highlighting the critical role NHRIs have had around the world in COVID-response. https://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Countries/NHRI/GANHRI/COVID-19-and-NHRI…   The study shows that NHRIs put people first and when they have fulfilled their mandates they have supported the most marginalized and vulnerable populations and strengthened support to rights-based policy. However, not all NHRIs are operating in compliance with the Paris Principles and NHRIs themselves have been severely impacted by the pandemic. This is all within a broader context of shrinking global civic space and increases in reprisals against human rights defenders. 

- As Adedeji points out trust between duty-bearers and rights-holders, between populations and the state, in the media and civil society is critical in our social contract. Other stakeholders such as the business sector need to be taken into account here too including in relation to accountability. 

Thanks again for your great engagement,

Best regards, 

Sarah

 


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