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.


Article by Catherine Stratton et al. Disability and Rehabilitation. December 11, 2020.
Report by Patrick Belser et al. International Labour Organisation. December 2, 2020.
Article by Phoebe Sleet. Future Directions International. December 1, 2020.
South-East Asia

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“Human rights at the heart of the recovery” by UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. December 1, 2020.

“Can governments mandate a COVID vaccination? Balancing public health with human rights – and what the law says” by Amy Maguire, Fiona McGaughey and Marco Rizzi for The Conversation. November 30, 2020.
"Under human rights law, Australia runs out of excuses for leaving citizens stranded overseas" (Opinion) by Jane McAdam and Ben Saul for Sydney Morning Herald. December 10, 2020.

"Queensland's Human Rights Commissioner raises concerns over handling of youth and vulnerable people during coronavirus lockdown" by Ashleigh Stevenson and Kate McKenna for ABC News. December 10, 2020.

"COVID-19 must be our wake-up call on the human right to health" (Opinion) by Helen Watchirs for The Canberra Times. December 10, 2020.

“Execution staff have COVID-19 after inmate put to death” by Michael Balsamo and Michael Sisak for AP News. December 9, 2020.
“California will impose its strongest virus measures since the spring” by Jill Cowan, Jack Healy and Thomas Fuller for The New York Times. December 3, 2020.
“‘Let us disobey’: Churches defy lockdown with secret meetings” by Harriet Sherwood for The Guardian. November 22, 2020.


Read more highlights in the latest On Guard newsletter.