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New Project on Human Rights Best Practices by Non-State Actors in COVID responses

by Mr. Raymond Andaya

The International Law Training and Research Hub is pleased to share the publication of the decision that our project, “Research, Mutual Learning and Network Formation on Human Rights Best Practices by Non-State Actors in COVID Responses,” has been selected as an awardee of the 2021 Toyota Foundation International Grant Program.

Image by Rafael Urdaneta Rojas from Pixabay

This new project follows the previous UTokyo Hub/UN-OHCHR collaboration for a crowdsourcing database that identified promising practices by non-State actors responding to COVID-19, with great consideration for human rights principles. The “People’s Stories Seminar: Human Rights Best Practices in COVID-19 Responses” was held on 11 June 2021 to highlight responses by non-state stakeholders, and the novel ways they filled gaps in human rights protection amidst the pandemic. The previous research project led to the submission of a report to the Development, Economic, and Social Issues branch of the UN-OHCHR.

This new project builds on the findings of the previous research by further analyzing COVID responses in six Asian countries, mapping out the views of beneficiary communities and the impact these practices had in terms of filling gaps in policy and human rights protection. Non-traditional actors have stepped up to address the vulnerability of certain segments of society, whose predicaments have been exacerbated by the spread of COVID-19. Through this project, workshops will be conducted to build a network for capacity building, exploring how practices by these non-traditional stakeholders can be further improved and applied in different contexts, and examining what other interested actors can learn from the highlighted experiences. The next stage will be a more direct exchange between partner stakeholders and the communities they are serving. Through this, the project aims to initiate, and hopefully sustain, a network of mutual help and learning across borders. The culmination of the project is a symposium jointly organized with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The UTokyo Hub’s Professor Ai Kihara-Hunt received funding for this project, which will officially commence in December 2021. She will be joined by a project team consisting of UTokyo Hub members Amishi Agrawal, Raymond Andaya, Satoko Haru, Timothy Massie, Lauren Power, and Chihiro Toya.

Most importantly, the Hub is looking forward to a mutual learning process with partners in six countries, ranging from relief foundations, teachers’ initiatives, self-help groups, student-led organizations, and skilled individuals with a strong sense of community and great concern for human rights.

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