Recorded May 27, 2020
The COVID-19 pandemic is having dramatic effects on many facets of the rule of law around the world. Growing barriers to access to justice, rising manipulation of emergency powers, and intensifying pressures on civil society and independent media are together eroding fundamental principles of good democratic governance and the rule of law. These early warning signs from the pandemic crisis come on the heels of growing evidence that the rule of law, particularly in such areas as fundamental rights, corruption, and constraints on executive powers, continues to decline in most countries, according to the latest World Justice Project Rule of Law Index.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is likely to exacerbate such trends further, allowing leaders to exploit the situation to further monopolize power and curb political and civil freedoms. In Africa, excessive police brutality has been reported in South Africa, Uganda, and Kenya, while press freedom has been curtailed in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone. Throughout the Balkans and Eurasia, reports are emerging of a crackdown on political opponents and media outlets, violations of privacy and rights to security, and attempts to do away with any remaining checks on power. How should European Union external policy actors — governments, donors, and civil society — respond to this crisis in light of such preexisting negative trends? What immediate and longer-term steps should be taken to ensure justice, rights and governance institutions and communities are protected and strengthened in a post-COVID-19 world?
To discuss these questions, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Brussels and the World Justice Project are co-hosting a webinar with rule of law practitioners and supporters focused on recent developments in Africa and the European Neighborhood. The discussion will feature expert inputs from implementers in the field as well as key officials engaged in shaping EU and US rule of law policies and programs in these regions.
- Ted Piccone, Chief Engagement Officer, World Justice Project
- Kemi Okenyodo, Executive Director, Partners West Africa Nigeria
- Vladislav Gribincea, Executive Director, Legal Resources Centre Moldova
- Jonathan Van Meerbeeck, Programme Officer, DEVCO B1 - Gender Equality, Human Rights and Democratic Governance, European Commission
- Andrew Solomon, Senior Rule of Law Advisor, Center for Democracy, Rights, and Governance, USAID