As part of the Humanity Hub’s first seasonal programming theme, focusing on COVID responses, we will share insights by members of the Humanity Hub community and the Hague Peace & Justice ecosystem. This week, we are spotlighting HiiL’s briefing discussing the most pressing priorities that the public health emergency poses for justice leaders.


The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global emergency. It is not only a health crisis but also a human rights crisis. Justice actors face daunting responsibilities as they design, implement, and enforce new measures to prevent the spread of infection. Measures that heighten the risk of human rights abuses can undermine trust, at a time when the justice system most needs to maintain the public’s confidence.

For better or for worse, justice systems and justice workers are on the frontline of this pandemic. If we get our response right, societies will be better able to confront the pandemic effectively and fairly. That will build the foundations for reset and recovery. If we get it wrong, it is no exaggeration to say that people will die unnecessarily.

This briefing – Justice for All and the Public Health Emergency – discusses the most pressing priorities that the public health emergency poses for justice leaders and proposes seven areas for urgent action as the tide of infections continues to rise. It will soon be followed by a second briefing to cover the role justice plays in the economic crisis and recovery, and in building cohesion and hope for a better world.