On Guard takes its name from the idea that human rights are both a shield and a sword to protect the dignity of all people.

Protecting human rights requires more vigilance than ever in a time of crisis. 

The Australian Human Rights Institute has created this portal to share news, reflections, and policy advances on COVID-19 across the human rights spectrum. The database centralises some of the most interesting sources available, while news highlights will be shared with subscribers every fortnight in the On Guard newsletter. 

As we are all witnessing, the scale and severity of this pandemic is having indiscriminate effects on global social, economic and political structures. 

Having an overview of the pandemic's trajectory and its human rights impacts is crucial in keeping governments and businesses accountable during these unprecedented times. It is also important to keep a record of the disparities and deficiencies that emerge, as this will inform better practices and response mechanisms for the future. 


How to use this portal: 

Select your subject area of interest from the sidebar on the right-hand side of this page, or use the search bar below to refine your search. 

Using the search bar, you can select multiple categories, including any combination of the subject areas and one country or region. 

If you have feedback about this portal or would like to suggest a source to be included, email innovaterights@unsw.edu.au.


Report by Mishal Khan et al. The Rapoport Centre for Human Rights and Justice. July 2020.
Report by Tobi Ariyo et al. The Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. July 2020.
United States
Report by Cynthia Ahmed et al. The Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. July 2020.
United States
Report by Betty Akoh et al. The Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. July 2020.
United States

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“QR codes and your privacy” by Hilary Harper with guests Graham Greenleaf and Lucie Krahulcova for Life Matters, ABC Radio National. November 26, 2020.
“No time like the present to protect our human rights” Address by Australian Law Council President Pauline Wright to the National Press Club. November 18, 2020.
“Are health restrictions and lockdowns a violation of the Charter of Rights?” by Tyson Fedor for CTV News Calgary. November 25, 2020.
“UNICEF warns of a ‘lost generation’ and finds school closures are ineffective” by Marc Santora for The New York Times. November 19, 2020.
“World Children’s Day: Young people deserve to be heard during COVID-19” by Julie Garlen for The Conversation. November 18, 2020.
“Gender-based violence on the rise during lockdowns” by Kristy Siegfried for the UN Refugee Agency. November 25, 2020.


Read more highlights in the latest On Guard newsletter.