Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis

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Teal and orange banner image introducing virtual series "Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis"

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, how do we identify gaps in human rights protections nationally and internationally? How do we look beyond the immediate and necessary response to the crisis to identify the best strategies for advancing human rights long-term? The University of Minnesota Human Rights Lab and the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility, is providing a space for scholars, practitioners, researchers, and advocates to explore these and related questions through it's virtual series, "Envisioning the Future: Advancing human rights in a time of crisis."

Registration for the free webinars is required (links for each webinar are found below.)

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Gender, human rights, and COVID-19 (view recording)
Wednesday, September 30, 2020 | 1:00-2:00p CT / 2:00-3:00p ET

Christina Ewig, Professor and Faculty Director of the Center on Women, Gender and Public Policy, University of Minnesota joins Ruby H.N. Nguyen, Associate Professor in the Division of Epidemiology and Community Health, University of Minnesota and Katie Spencer, Assistant Professor and Co-Director of the National Center for Gender Spectrum Health, University of Minnesota in a discussion moderated by Rosalyn Park, Director of the Women's Human Rights Program, The Advocates for Human Rights. 

The coronavirus pandemic creates a perfect storm for exacerbating gender-based violence and discrimination. In every area, from employment to school closures to domestic violence to health outcomes, we see evidence of disproportionately negative impacts based on gender. These negative impacts are compounded by intersecting inequalities, including on the basis of race, socioeconomic status, disability, age, geographic location and sexual orientation, among others. Pandemic preparedness and response efforts must better understand these intersectional gender dimensions to avoid further widening inequalities.

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PAST WEBINARS (Links to recordings below)

Revisiting the Right to Health: State responsibility for the highest attainable standard of health in a post-COVID world (view recording)
Thursday, April 30, 2020 | 12:00-1:00p CT

Dr. R. Balasubramaniam (Founder/Chairman, Grassroots Research and Advocacy Movement), Lawrence Gostin (Director, World Health Organization Center on National and Global Health Law, Georgetown University), and Fionnuala Ní Aoláin (Regents Professor; Faculty Director, Human Rights Center, University of Minnesota); moderated by Barbara Frey (Director, Human Rights Program, University of Minnesota) address the following: human rights standards that guide state's responses to the pandemic; the tension between the public health framework and the human rights framework in approaching the right to health; the political and societal conditions of public health crises, responses to them, and potential violations of human rights in the course of such responses; the rights governments may suspend in health crisis emergencies; and strategies for advancing human rights moving forward.


Balancing Rights and Responsibilities During the Pandemic and Beyond (view recording) 
Thursday, May 21, 2020 | 12:00-1:00p CT

Kathryn Sikkink (Regents Professor Emerita, University of Minnesota; Ryan Family Professor of Human Rights Policy, Harvard Kennedy School), Dr. Ranit Mishori (Senior Medical Advisor, Physicians for Human Rights; Professor of Family Medicine, Georgetown University), and Joachim Savelsberg (Arsham and Charlotte Ohanessian Chair on human rights and genocide, Sociology, University of Minnesota); moderated by Shailey Prasad (Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health; Executive Director, Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility, University of Minnesota.) In her latest book, The Hidden Face of Rights: Toward a Politics of Responsibility, Professor Kathryn Sikkink argues that we should reconsider the responsibility of all actors, and not just states, to take action together to guarantee human rights. This argument takes on urgent relevance in the era of the coronavirus pandemic, when we must rely on the preventive individual actions of all people to ensure the right to health is fulfilled. Panelists discuss this reconsideration of balancing rights and responsibilities in light of the current crisis.


Addressing Racial Inequities in Health Outcomes During COVID and Beyond (view recording)
Wednesday, June 24, 2020 | 1-2p CT 

Featuring E. Tendayi Achiume (UN Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance; Professor of Law, University of California, Los Angeles), Rachel Hardeman (Professor of Health Policy and Management, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota), and Sirry Alang (Professor of Sociology and Health, Medicine, and Society, Lehigh University); moderated by Shailey Prasad (Professor of Family Medicine and Community Health; Executive Director, Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility, University of Minnesota.) Structural inequalities between Black and White Americans have always had devastating impacts, and these disparate health outcomes have become even more apparent in the COVID-19 era. Panelists discuss the impact of structural racism on overall health outcomes of black Americans, the framing of police brutality against African-Americans as a public health crisis, how the record of systemic racial injustice in the United States relates to the country's human rights law obligations, racial and economic disparities that exist outside of the U.S., and strategies for addressing gaps on a national and international level to guarantee the right to health in a post-COVID world.


Refusing to 'go back to normal': Addressing structural racism in policing, healthcare, and other institutions (view recording)
Wednesday, September 16, 2020 | 1:00-2:15p CT / 2:00-3:15p ET

This session built upon the previous webinar, “Addressing Racial Inequities in Health Outcomes During COVID and Beyond,” by delving further into the impacts of systemic racism, and suggesting alternative social and policy paths for improving the lives and health by respecting the rights of Black people in the United States. Our distinguished presenters again included Dr. Tendayi Achiume, U.N. Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, Dr. Rachel Hardeman, from the University of Minnesota and  Dr. Sirry Alang from Lehigh University.  The panel was moderated by Dr. Shailey Prasad, Director of the Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility.

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"Envisioning the Future" is co-sponsored by the Institute for Global Studies.

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