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Protecting our co-workers during COVID-19: A social security protocol for civil society

We have a responsibility to act decisively to protect our co-workers from adverse health, social and economic impacts of the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. With this in mind, our founder and CEO, Chris Abbott, has joined the secretary general of CIVICUS and more than 60 other leaders to initiate a social security protocol for civil society.

CIVICUS, the global alliance of civil society organisations and activists, has drafted a set of social protection measures that civil society organisations can consider to protect our colleagues from the adverse economic and psychosocial consequences of the pandemic. As a voting member of the alliance, Open Briefing is one of the first organisations to endorse this coronavirus-related social security protocol.

Based on the ILO’s policy framework to fight coronavirus, the six-point protocol provides a shared template for civil society groups to deliberate context-specific measures and adopt feasible actions in a time-bound and transparent manner. The proposed measures are:

  1. Systems to ensure physical distancing and other precautions.
  2. Support for COVID-19 testing and related treatment.
  3. Protection of jobs and pay across the COVID-19 lockdown and escalation period.
  4. Flexibility and support for home and care related responsibilities.
  5. Extending our community of care to our collaborators and constituencies.
  6. Acting in solidarity with workers and other vulnerable communities.

Read the full protocol here.

The protocol aims to assist a reflection on immediate actions and systems that are needed to help organisations navigate challenges. Each organisation is free to determine its course of action based on its specific context and resourcing realities. A list of resources to help determine and action relevant measures is available here.

Endorsing the protocol is just one of the steps that Open Briefing is taking to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have joined the #GlobalCeasefire campaign and signed joint letters of support to the UN secretary general and the UN Security Council. We have joined Amnesty International in calling for authorities worldwide to not use restrictions imposed during the pandemic to crack down on critics and human rights defenders. And we have launched a number of security and wellbeing services to help civil society organisations protect their people and operations in these challenging times.