International, Regional & Domestic Organisations

This section includes statements, guidelines, reports and other publications.

COVID-19: Governments Must Promote and Protect Access to and Free Flow of Information During Pandemic’ - Joint Statement issued by the United Nations, the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, and the Representative on Freedom of the Media of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (19 March 2020)

This joint statement urges governments to provide truthful, reliable and accessible information, refrain from blocking internet access, protect the work of journalists, address disinformation, and limit the use surveillance technology to track the spread of the coronavirus in order to rigorously protect patient privacy, individual rights to privacy, journalistic sources and other freedoms, and to ensure non-discrimination

Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, CPA Toolkit for Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures on the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Pandemic and Delivering Parliamentary Democracy

The Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) conducted research amongst its membership of 180 Commonwealth Parliaments and Legislatures to synthesise this toolkit, which provides various measures and recommendations that can be adopted by Parliaments and Parliamentarians in order to continue to deliver on the Legislatures’ role of scrutinising legislation and delivering democracy during a global pandemic.

European Law Institute, ELI Principles for the COVID-19 Crisis

These principles are:

(1) fundamental values, principles and freedoms;

(2) non-discrimination;

(3) democracy;

(4) lawmaking;

(5) justice system;

(6) privacy and data protection;

(7) borders and freedom of movement;

(8) free movement of goods and services;

(9) employment and the economy;

(10) continuity of relationships at a distance;

(11) education;

(12) moratorium on regular payments;

(13) force majeure and hardship;

(14) exemption from liability for simple negligence; and

(15) return to normality.

European Union: European Agency for Fundamental Rights, Fundamental Rights of Refugees, Asylum Applicants and Migrants at the European Borders (27 March 2020)

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. In recent weeks, states in Europe have taken measures to protect their borders to address public order, public health, or national security challenges. This note summarises some key safeguards of European law as they apply at the EU’s external borders, bearing in mind that relevant CoE instruments apply to all borders.

European Union: European Commission, Communication from the Commission COVID-19: Guidance on the Implementation of Relevant EU Provisions in the Area of Asylum and Return Procedures and on Resettlement (C(2020) 2516 Final, 16 April 2020)

Abstract: The Guidance illustrates how to ensure continuity of procedures as much as possible while fully ensuring the protection of people’s health and fundamental rights in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights. At the same time, it recalls the fundamental principles that must continue to apply, so that access to the asylum procedure continues to the greatest extent possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. In particular, all applications for international protection must be registered and processed, even if with certain delays. Emergency and essential treatment of illness, including for COVID-19, must be ensured.

European Union: European Commission, COVID-19 Guidelines for Border Management Measures to Protect Health And Ensure The Availability Of Goods And Essential Services (16 March 2020)

These guidelines to Member States on health-related border management measures in the context of the COVID-19 emergency aim is to protect citizens' health, ensure the right treatment of people who do have to travel, and make sure essential goods and services remain available.

European Union: European Group on Ethics in Science and New Technologies, European Solidarity and the Protection of Fundamental Rights in the COVID-19 Pandemic (2 April 2020)

This statement discusses the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic in Europe and globally, and the value of a concept of solidarity that is inclusive of everyone when confronting such a threat. Recommends actions Member States can take in addressing the threats posed by the pandemic and in protecting fundamental rights following the crisis.

Global Protection Cluster (GPC), COVID-19 Pandemic: Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Considerations in Internal Displacement Contexts (March 2020)

Abstract: This guidance on TIP considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic is intended as a quick reference tool to support colleagues in the field working directly with internally displaced persons (IDPs) and/or engaged in protection advocacy. It has been developed in response to requests for further guidance on how the evolving COVID-19 pandemic may disproportionally impact internally displaced trafficked persons and people at risk of trafficking. It should be read in conjunction with the Global Protection Cluster COVID-19 guidance and anti-trafficking response guidance.

International Justice Resource Centre, COVID-19 Guidance from Supranational Human Rights Bodies

This webpage collects the resolutions, press releases, and other statements from human rights bodies and their parent intergovernmental organisations on States’ obligations to respect human rights in mitigating COVID-19. The Thematic Overview section organizes the most significant of these statements by issue area.

Statements are then organised by body or organisation, beginning with United Nations entities and then regional human rights bodies. Within those sections, statements are listed chronologically. Note that joint statements are listed under each co-authoring entity. For human rights bodies only (ie: not intergovernmental organisations or their agencies), included are statements that address procedural changes and other adjustments in these bodies’ functioning, in the section for each body.

International Labour Organization, COVID-19 and the World of Work

This site includes news, analysis, publications such as ILO Monitor, policy and technical briefs and country policy responses. See for example:

Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU)

The IPU Parliaments in a Time of Pandemic site includes information about the response from national Parliaments to the Coronavirus pandemic, as well as guidance notes and opinion pieces – such as:

Judicial College of Victoria

This open access site includes a summary of the provisions of the COVID-19 Omnibus (Emergency Measures) Act 2020 (Vic) as it relates to the operations of Victorian courts and tribunals – see Coronavirus Emergency Act Summary.

The site also provides regularly updated comprehensive information on:
  • Coronavirus and the Courts - detailed information on changes to court practices and procedures across all Australian jurisdictions.
  • Coronavirus Jurisprudence – uses decided cases in all Australian jurisdictions to track the developing impact of the pandemic on the common law and the application of general principles in the areas of Sentencing, Bail, Conduct of hearings and adjournment, Open Courts, Judge alone criminal trials, Leave to withdraw, Civil trials and appellate proceedings, Commercial Proceedings, Amending or staying orders and decisions, Making orders, Family Law, Guardianship, Immigration, Tort, Property / Residential Tenancies, Constitutional Law, Costs, and Employment Law. More information about the cases discussed in this section is available in the companion document, Coronavirus cases.
  • Coronavirus and Contracts - this document provides an overview of the law in relation to the discharge of contracts in Victoria with brief commentary on how the principles might be applied to circumstances arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. Topics covered include:
  • Force majeure clauses;
  • The common law doctrine of frustration;
  • Discharge by exercise of right;
    • Right to terminate for breach of contract;
    • Repudiation (anticipatory breach of contract); and
    • Restitution.

UK Parliament

House of Commons Library - the Coronavirus Research page has produced many quick-read articles and longer briefings on the UK Government’s response to the coronavirus and its impact on key sectors such as health, social care, housing, employment rights, education, childcare, welfare, and the economy. The research is arranged by topic. The Home Affairs topic includes research and analysis on how emergency powers may affect areas such as policing, prisons, funerals and access to domestic abuse services during the coronavirus ‘lockdown’. The Government and Parliament topic includes research explaining parliamentary consent, the Coronavirus Bill, and how the pandemic may affect Brexit. Lastly, the Around the World topic provides research briefings on the response to coronavirus from across the world. House of Commons Justice Committee House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee House of Lords Library – the Coronavirus page contains articles and commentary on various topics, such as:

United Nations Economic and Social Council, Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Statement on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights , UN Doc E/C.12/2020/1 (17 April 2020)

Extract from Introduction: The pandemic has profoundly negative impacts on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, especially the right to health of the most vulnerable groups in society. As explained below, States parties are under an obligation to take measures to prevent, or at least to mitigate, these impacts. Nevertheless, if States do not act within a human rights framework, there exists a clear risk that the measures taken might violate economic, social and cultural rights and increase the suffering of the most marginalized groups. No one should be left behind as a result of the measures it is necessary to take to combat this pandemic.1 These circumstances have led the Committee to issue the present statement to highlight the most important impacts of this pandemic on economic, social and cultural rights and to make some recommendations to States parties to combat the COVID19 pandemic in a manner consistent with their obligations under the Covenant.

United Nations COVID-19 Response portal

Included on this portal is the recently added (25 June 2020) UN response page which links to policy briefs listed by theme (eg: human rights), by population group (such as children people with disabilities etc) and by region.

United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), COVID-19 and its Human Rights Dimensions

Note: This site contains many news items, guidance notes on specific topics and other publications. See for example:

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

The UNHCR COVID-19 website contains global, regional and national information, including the following publications:

UN Network on Migration

World Trade Organization, COVID-19 and World Trade

This site includes news, statements, proposals and the following WTO reports on COVID-19 and World Trade:

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