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COVID-19: Impact on MENA Countries

No one yet knows the full impact of the unfolding Covid-19 pandemic, let alone its effects on the MENA region. What is certain is that it will have lasting health, social, economic, and political consequences. The stakes are two-fold: minimising the blow of the crisis in the short term while setting the stage for lessons learnt and better governance policies in the future.

You can access Arab Reform Initiative's complete dossier following this link: https://www.arab-reform.net/dossier/covid-19-impact-on-mena-countries/

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Coronavirus: Healthcare and human rights of people in prison

As the COVID-19 pandemic affects more people in an ever increasing list of countries, Penal Reform International has published a briefing note, Coronavirus: Healthcare and human rights of people in prison . With the fast-evolving situation, there is legitimate concern at a further spread of the virus to places of detention. The difficulties in containing a large outbreak in detention facilities are clear. People in prison and the personnel who work with them are in close proximity and in many cases in overcrowded, cramped conditions with little fresh air. People in detention also have common demographic characteristics with generally poorer health than the rest of the population, often with underlying health conditions. Hygiene standards are often below that found in the community and sometimes security or infrastructural factors reduce opportunities to wash hands or access to hand sanitizer – the key prevention measures recommended by the World Health Organization.

While legitimate measures in times of such an emergency are needed to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19 in prisons, authorities need to ensure human rights are respected. In such anxious times it is even more pertinent that people are not cut off from the outside world, they do not end up in solitary confinement, and most of all they have access to information and adequate healthcare provision – equal of that available in the community.

Our briefing outlines the key measures that criminal justice systems, including prisons and courts, have taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19 – and the impact of these in light of the UN Nelson Mandela Rules and other key standards.

Action needs to be taken now and immediately, given the risk people in prison are exposed to, including prison staff. Such action should be guided by international standards and the values of: Do no harm, equality, transparency, humanity.


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COVID-19 and Fragility

In light of the ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the States of Fragility platform, hosted by the Crises & Fragility team in the Global Partnerships & Policies Division of the Development Cooperation Directorate (DCD), provides key resources and analysis on COVID-19 and fragile contexts. This page features data and visualizations on COVID-19 rates in the 58 fragile contexts on the 2018 OECD fragility framework, updated daily. It also links to publications from the Crises & Fragility team related to COVID-19 and forced displacement, conflict, etc.

To access the platform, please follow the following link: http://www3.compareyourcountry.org/states-of-fragility/covid/0/

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Anticipating the International Security Implications of COVID-19 - GCSP

The COVID-19 pandemic spreading around the world in the first months of 2020 not only affects personal security, but also has potential international security implications. The situation is changing rapidly, and while some issues are clearly apparent, we must anticipate others. This article by Ms Emily Munro, Deputy Head, Emerging Security Challenges, Geneva Centre for Security Policy, discusses five possible international security implications that can be identified at this stage: https://www.gcsp.ch/global-insight/anticipating-international-security-implications-covid-19

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The Covid-19 Pandemic and Deadly Conflict

While the COVID-19 pandemic presents a potentially era-defining challenge to public health and the global economy, its long- and short-term consequences for deadly conflict are less well understood. Much remains uncertain, but it is already clear that the pandemic could cause enormous damage in fragile states, trigger unrest and undermine international crisis management systems. The disease is already disrupting humanitarian aid flows, peace operations and crisis diplomacy, and it could be catastrophic for civilians caught in the midst of conflict, particularly refugees and displaced people.

Crisis Group offers special publications on the coronavirus and its effects on the conflict landscape: https://www.crisisgroup.org/pandemics_public_health_deadly_conflict

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