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).
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
Click here to read a summary of the main topics raised during the first week of discussions.
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