Protecting and enabling human rights defenders during the COVID-19 pandemic is not just an obligation on states, but it is key to ensuring that efforts to recover from this crisis are effective, inclusive, respect human rights, and leave no one behind. Authorities must not use restrictions imposed during the pandemic to suppress relevant information uncomfortable for the government or use the situation as a pretext to crack down on critics and human rights defenders.
We have a responsibility to act decisively to protect our co-workers from adverse health, social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this in mind, our 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.
Every person on the planet is threatened by COVID-19, but it is the most vulnerable that will pay the highest price. Open Briefing is one of nearly 200 civil society organisations around the world that have signed joint letters to the UN secretary general and the UN Security Council supporting the call for a #GlobalCeasefire to give everyone the chance to focus on overcoming this coronavirus. As a rights-based organisation, Open Briefing wholeheartedly supports this call.
As we all adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic and the public health measures necessary to delay its spread, Open Briefing is offering several remote services to help organisations protect their people and operations during these challenging times. This includes contingency planning advisory calls and reviews, staff wellbeing checks and workshops, and digital security during homeworking.
Given the UK government’s inadequate response to coronavirus and what will likely become a rapidly-developing situation here and elsewhere, it is sensible and prudent that Open Briefing takes steps now to reduce the risk to our people, operations and clients from the pandemic and associated repercussions. As such, we have today enacted a number of temporary measures with immediate effect.