Explore the map of repressive governments and a number of private companies that have exploited the coronavirus health crisis to further their own agendas at the expense of human rights, based on Trócaire’s documentary Never Waste a Crisis.
In March 2020, Ireland, like many other countries, introduced emergency legislation to tackle the Covid-19 global pandemic. Since then, we’ve seen immense acts of solidarity.
The pandemic has also been used as a smokescreen for digital crackdowns, mass surveillance and silencing human rights defenders. Examples of this have been captured in Emmet Sheerin’s recent documentary, Never Waste a Crisis, produced by Trócaire:
The pandemic has also laid bare the global drift toward authoritarian leadership. And has been a major accelerant of global injustice, especially in fragile or undemocratic states. The reality is that powerful forces, including repressive governments and some private companies have exploited the health crisis to further their own agendas at the expense of human rights.
- Scroll over country pins for summary details or click on the pins below for news reports to explore the issues in more depth.
Guatemala – Women who challenge the activities of corporations are vulnerable to harassment and sexual violence.1 of 7
Guatemala – heightened risk that surveillance infrastructure can be used in ways that violate human rights, such as holding personal and location-based data for 10 years as part of a COVID-19 alert app that was introduced – and withdrawn.
Source: Global Witness2 of 7
Honduras – freedom of expression suspended, random detention of human rights defenders and police abuse emergency powers.
Source: CIVICUS3 of 7
Zimbabwe – Government silences thousands of critics and attacks opposition supporters and human rights defenders through mass arrests and pre-trial detention in custody.
Source: AllAfrica4 of 7
Israel – Will coronavirus surveillance outlast the pandemic? Cyberfirms, including Israeli company NSO Group, are leading efforts to produce mass surveillance technology and map the security needs of countries around the world based on COVID-19 with the potential to extend into other security control measures.
Source: Reuters5 of 7
Global – Mining companies and governments are using the crisis to secure regulatory change that favours the industry at the expense of people and planet, taking extraordinary measures to shut down legitimate protests and promote the mining sector.
Locations: Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ecuador, Mali, Mexico, Northern Ireland, Panama, Peru, Siberia and South Africa.
Source: Voices from The Ground report by MiningWatch6 of 7
Global – Journalists and human rights defenders being arrested, placed under house arrest, harassed and threatened for their criticisms of governments’ handling of the coronavirus.
Locations: China, El Salvador, Iraq, Turkey, Serbia, Egypt, Iran, Belarus and Vietnam
Source: Frontline Defenders7 of 7
- take a look at Trócaire’s Business and Human Rights campaign
- read the blog: challenging corporate harm during the Coronavirus
- explore how human rights are under threat during the Covid Pandemic
- take a look at the COVID-19 dashboard of tools, resources, ideas and stories and our 2020 Human Rights Day live-blog
This interactive map was developed to coincide with a joint event by Trócaire and developmenteducation.ie on the International Day of Education, ‘Framing the debate – documentary making and activism in education‘, based the documentary Never Waste a Crisis.
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Launched in February 2021, the Our World Irish Aid Award theme ‘Partnership for the Goals’ invites primary teachers and pupils to learn about the work of Irish Aid in partnership with others in over 130 countries to help progress the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development.
Órla Ryan reflects on her assignment in Kenya in April 2019 examining women’s rights issues, in particular female genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence at the launch of the Irish Global Solidarity in 100 Objects exhibition.