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Private Security, Human Rights, and Covid-19

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen a leap in demand for certain types of private security services from both States and businesses, and exacerbation of existing challenges in the sector. Many governments and other actors, such as the European Commission, are categorising private security as an ‘essential service’ or ‘critical occupation.’ Additionally, States are resorting to emergency legislation to manage the public health crisis, and as a consequence we are seeing them turn to private security providers to fill public security gaps. At the same time, public tendering, contracting and licensing procedures are being expedited. There are two distinct strands to this proliferating reliance on private security. Firstly, there is an upturn in contracts for existing activities in countries where the private sector has long been involved in the provision of security, for example, in migrant detention centres and public transport. Secondly, private security contractors are moving into new public spaces as a direct consequence of COVID-19 by positioning themselves as humanitarian actors and, for example,…

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COVID-19 and the WHO’s Political Moment

In its Preamble, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that “[t]he achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all. [….] The health of all peoples is […] dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”. It would be difficult to find better terms to express the…

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The right to enter his or her own country

The tension between the right of the State to regulate entry into its jurisdiction and the right of the individual to move freely has come to the fore in the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to contain the transmission of COVID-19, it has been reported that Samoa denied entry to eight of its nationals, and…

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The WHO: The Guardian of Human Rights during Pandemics?

On May 18, President Trump tweeted a 4-page letter addressed to the WHO, threatening to cut funding to the organization and reconsider the United States’ membership within it. One of the reasons for these threats was the WHO’s reaction to China’s alleged human rights violations. President Trump accused the WHO of ‘being conspicuously silent [ with ]…

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EJIL: The Podcast! Episode 3 – Hacked Off!

In the latest episode of EJIL: The Podcast! is now available. This episode focuses on the application of international law to cyber operations by states and non-state actors. For this discussion, Sarah, Nouwen, Marko Milanovic and I are joined by Harriet Moynihan (Chatham House), and Tilman Rodenhäuser (International Committee of…

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