AU Watch

Covid-19 and Agenda 2063

The global COVID-19 crisis is exposing and exacerbating existing human rights violations and inequalities with a devastating effect on vulnerable groups and societies. COVID 19 is a test of societies, of governments, of communities and of individuals. Now is the time for solidarity and cooperation to tackle the virus, and to mitigate the effects, often unintended, of measures designed to halt the spread of the virus.

Rising disparities in how COVID-19 is affecting communities, and the major disproportionate impact it is having on racial and ethnic minorities, including elderly people of African descent and the disabled.

Our Contribution to the Covid-19 Pandemic

We work to secure effective and sustainable national justice systems where duty-bearers provide justice services for all, and rightsholders have knowledge and ability to seek remedy for their grievances.

Why

In normal times, elderly people and the disabled in Africa, suffer the most. In many states, the law or its institutions do not adequately provide people access to justice. The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated the situation.The pandemic is delaying the vision of Agenda 2063!
Our systemic approach to the promotion and protection of human rights. is well suited for addressing relevant justice providers, as well as needs of rights holders in improving the rule of law and access to justice.Our objective is to improve the AU, its Members and other duty bearers’ capacity to provide justice services, and rights holders’ ability to access justice.

Our Approach

We do so by engaging with the AU, its Members, the media, local partners –and other non-state justice actors –and supporting them to fulfil their diverse roles within their health, justice and 2063 contexts

“The elderly and disabled people have been handed the short end of the stick. This is not a time to neglect human rights, especially so the most vulnerable of our community. More than ever, it is a time when rule of law and human rights are needed to navigate this crisis in a way that will allow us, as soon as possible, to focus again on achieving vision 2063.”
Dieu-Donee Wedi Njemba (Director, AU Watch Human Rights Program)

Improving justice service delivery

We work with the AU, especially its judicial and human rights bodies, AU Member States and non-state actors to develop their capacity to improve justice services for rights-holders, especially where the rights of the elderly and the disabled are concerned, when they are in conflict with the law. We are currently working with the Ministry of Development, judiciary, informal justice actors and local communities to ensure that those in custody – including providing detainees with legal information about their rights in these perilous times, representation in court, as well as ensuring they have contact with their families, in these times of Covid-19

Strengthening legal and policy frameworks

We help justice actors to improve laws, policies, procedures and guidelines that better serve the needs of rights-holders and strengthens access to justice. This could include strengthening ombudsman institutions or supporting drafting legislation that provides free and effective legal aid.

Enhancing rights-holders’ knowledge and agency

We raise awareness about what is happening all over Africa, as far as Covid-19 is concerned. We work with partners including justice service providers, human rights institutions, and civil society to raise awareness and enable rights-holders to seek justice and remedies for grievances related to the pandemic. We are currently running legal clinics that reach out to local communities and individuals to provide them with legal information on how to deal with the pandemic.