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LAW, JUSTICE AND DEVELOPMENT WEEK 2020 | COVID-19 and Human Rights: Impacts and Lessons Learned

November 17, 2020


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant global impact. The virus has had a disparate impact on groups, with the poor and vulnerable being disproportionately affected. As governments have tried to tackle the pandemic, several policy measures have been taken which directly impact people’s human rights. The scope of these measures has been far reaching and has impacted people differently. In many cases it has exacerbated inequalities and increased certain groups’ vulnerability, and in some instances responses to the pandemic have been thinly veiled pretexts to target particular groups and isolation has often provided a context for severe human rights violations. Thus, the pandemic itself created significant health related and socio-economic impacts on different groups in society; and the policy response has in some instances also negatively impacted political and civil rights.

This panel aims to highlight the different human rights impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The panel has three objectives:

  1. To provide an in-depth discussion of the main human rights impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the human rights impacts generated by response policies. 
  2. Discuss the interplay between the different human rights impacts. 
  3. Identify good practices and forward-looking solutions that can draw on human rights law and human rights due diligence to mitigate the human rights impacts of the virus and responses to it.
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    François Croquette

    Ambassador for Human Rights

    François Croquette, graduated from Sciences-Po Paris and the LSE. He joined the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1988 and began his career in Kinshasa before following the dismantling of the apartheid. He was part of the European Election Observation Mission in South Africa in 1994. Counsellor at the French Embassy in Moscow and in London, he also took part in the reform of French Development policy within the Ministry for International Development. Diplomatic advisor to the President of the French Senate (2011-2013), he held, as well, positions in the field of cultural cooperation in Montreal and London.


    Joelle Grogan

    Senior Lecturer in Law, Middlesex University

    Joelle Grogan is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Middlesex University London. Her research focuses on the rule of law, in particular the legal measures taken in response to Brexit and COVID-19. Joelle is part of the H2020-funded RECONNECT project; director of a Fintech startup, InferStat Ltd; and creator of the legal education blog, StickyTrickyLaw. Joelle convened the 'COVID-19 and States of Emergency' Symposium, jointly hosted by the Verfassungblog and Democracy Reporting International, which analysed the use of emergency powers in response to the COVID-19 crisis globally from the perspective of democracy, human rights and the rule of law.


    Paul-Joël Kamtchang

    Executive Secretary, Adisi-Cameroun

    Paul-Joel Kamtchang is a Datactivist and Data Journalist wearing his cap as Executive Secretary of ADISI-Cameroon, a Cameroonian civil society organization, supporting www.datacameroon.com, a platform for promoting Data Journalism and fact-checking, the first of its kind in Cameroon and Central Africa. He is at the head of a team of journalists, IT specialists and digital communicators, and in charge of monitoring and evaluation of the "Fact and Data Covid-19 Cameroon" project, supported by AFD. This project aims to better inform Cameroonians about public policies in the fight against COVID-19. He is also an associate expert in the #Defyhatenow project.


    Siobhan McInerney-Lankford (Moderator)

    Co-chair, Human Rights Working Group, Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development

    Siobhán McInerney-Lankford is Senior Counsel at the World Bank Legal Vice-Presidency and an expert in international human rights law. She has advised the World Bank on human rights since 2002 and has represented the World Bank in a variety of fora including the UN, EU and the OECD; from 2006-2009 she chaired the OECD DAC Human Rights Task Team. Siobhán is an adjunct professor at AU Washington College of Law, and has published widely on human rights law.She holds an LL.B. from Trinity College, Dublin, (First Class Honors), an LL.M. from Harvard Law School, a B.C.L. and D.Phil. (EU human rights law) both from Oxford. She is admitted to practice law in Rhode Island and the District of Columbia.


    Jan Wouters (Moderator)

    Co-chair, Human Rights Working Group, Global Forum on Law, Justice and Development

    Jan Wouters is Full Professor of International Law and International Organizations, Jean Monnet Chair ad personam, Director, Institute for International Law and Leuven Centre for Global Governance Studies (Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and University Centre of Excellence), President, International Policy Council, KU Leuven. Adjunct Professor, Columbia University, Visiting Professor, Sciences Po, LUISS and College of Europe. Member of the Belgian Royal Academy; Of Counsel, Linklaters. He has published widely on international and EU law, international organizations, global governance and corporate and financial law. He coordinates a Horizon 2020 Project, RECONNECT, and frequently advises and trains international organizations and governments.


  • DATE: November 17, 2020
  • TIME: 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
  • CONTACT: ljd@worldbank.org