COVID-19 Related State of Emergency Measures: Impact and Responses   [open pdf - 0B]

From the Executive Summary: "The American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights (CHR) undertook this report to analyze the impact of COVID-19 [coronavirus disease 2019] emergency measures on HRDs [human rights defenders] and explore the responses of HRDs through the use of strategic litigation and other actions to push back against disproportional restrictions related to COVID-19 states of emergency. This report captures the successes and challenges of such strategies. It examines the viability of such approaches to effectively push back against attempts to normalize restrictive measures that do not meet public health goals and maintain civic space for HRDs and other civil society actors. The report finds that the success of challenges largely hinged on the nature of the authorizing statute and scope of its enforcement. Successful legal efforts challenged the repurposing of statutes originally meant to target activity 'unrelated to public health or public safety.' Further, in cases where litigants focused on separation of powers, courts seemed more receptive to challenges to executive measures without legislative oversight. As the viability and success of strategic litigation largely depends on the degree of respect for rule of law and the independence of the judiciary, the report also examines non-litigation approaches adopted by civil society actors to challenge 'de facto' measures and practices, including the deployment of military forces to enforce lockdown measures, selective or disproportionate enforcement, and police brutality. Through the formation of new coalitions, enhanced coordination with other actors, and pressure on government agencies, civil society actors successfully challenged 'de facto' measures. Finally, the report concludes with a set of recommendations for all stakeholders to help ensure that, in the future, governments effectively respond to public health crises while protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms."

2022 American Bar Association
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American Bar Association: https://www.americanbar.org/
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