June 26, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic exposed major weaknesses in ASEAN’s capacity to respond to a global pandemic. ASEAN failed to take measures to protect those in the most vulnerable situations and to prevent a surge in restrictions on freedom of expression and in hateful rhetoric against marginalized groups. Despite the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic, ASEAN’s principle of non-interference remained a major obstacle to effectively address human rights violations.
At the press conference human rights organizations working in the region will present their demands and recommendations to ASEAN on how to place human rights at the center of their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists will focus on issues around restrictions on civic space and democracy, protection of those in most vulnerable situations, and the situation of Rohingya refugees at sea.