Join Prisoners of Conscience, Human Rights Watch, Front Line Defenders and Amnesty International UK for this webinar on how to protect human rights during the Covid pandemic.

The event is free to attend and takes place on Thursday 11 June between 17:00 and 18:00 (BST). Book via eventbrite here.

The unprecedented situation has seen countries around the world introduce extensive lockdowns in an attempt to slow transmission of the virus. By their very nature, these extraordinary measures have restricted freedom of movement and assembly. In many cases, free speech and freedom of expression have also been impacted.

Meanwhile, mass surveillance measures have been, and continue to be, introduced. In addition, there are many examples of governments using the crisis to specifically target human rights defenders and quash dissent.

This event, which is hosted and organised by Prisoners of Conscience, will consider how our human rights are being impacted by the crisis, who is being adversely affected and where, and what can be done about it.

The full line-up of panellists is:

* Gary Allison, director, Prisoners of Conscience

* Kate Allen, director, Amnesty International UK

* Akshaya Kumar, director of crisis advocacy, Human Rights Watch

* Ed O’Donovan, head of protection at Front Line Defenders

* Panel chair: Ashitha Nagesh, BBC News

Gary Allison, director of Prisoners of Conscience, said: “Human rights are key in shaping the pandemic response, both in terms of public health and human dignity. Yet we know that many governments are taking advantage of the situation to silence their critics and remove freedoms. I am looking forward to discussing with my colleagues how we can mitigate the risks this situation presents, and how we can best protect the courageous individuals who take a stand.”

Akshaya Kumar, crisis advocacy director at Human Rights Watch, said: “Covid-19 presents an overwhelming public health challenge but also an opportunity to address long-simmering human rights concerns. This discussion presents an important opportunity to spotlight how policies to respond to the crisis should recognise that our communities are only as healthy as the most vulnerable among us.”

Kate Allen, director at Amnesty International UK, said: “The Coronavirus pandemic is a human rights crisis in the most immediate sense. Globally, we have already seen the pandemic being used as an excuse to clampdown on dissent. Meanwhile, a lack of PPE equipment has put our care workers and health workers at risk. It has also exposed ingrained inequalities, with the virus notably having a disproportionate impact on BAME groups. At Amnesty, our work will continue. These issues cannot be ignored. This discussion represents a great opportunity to explore these issues and look at possible solutions.”

Ed O’Donovan, head of protection at Front Line Defenders, said: “The targeting of human rights defenders during this crisis – and the range of countries in which it is happening – should be of grave concern to everyone; raising awareness of this, as the webinar will do, is a first step in fighting back.”

The event is free to attend and takes place on Thursday 11 June between 17:00 and 18:00 (BST). Book via eventbrite here.