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Petter Wille: National Human Rights Institutions and COVID-19
First, I would like to echo what was said by others; there is no clear answer to the question, should some rights be prioritized? Hard to say there is priority, all human rights could be potentially violated during this crisis.
 
A few words on the general challenges we face: (1) Limitation on freedoms, and prohibitions. Many rights and freedoms are affected, there are limits on freedom of movement, freedom of assembly, freedom of speech; (2) Division of power is a pillar in a democratic society. The crisis has led to power being moved from parliament to the executive, parliament’s role in controlling government is limited; (3) Judiciary. Possibilities of conducting hearings open to the public are limited, (ICCPR Art. 14, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law; to be tried without undue delay). The  restrictions on court hearings have led to delays which are challenging the the right of everyone charged with a criminal offense to be tried without delay (4) Media freedom, is also a pillar of democratic society, if there is a lockdown, it is hard for media to carry out their role, hard to visit places, meetings are conducted online, they can't visit elderly people's houses.
 
How national human rights institutions have responded? HR institutions are independent from the government, they monitor, give advice to government and the parliament and inform them about HR.
 
NHRIs are established according to the Paris principles, the most important elements of these principles are independence, and broad mandate. In Europe, there are more than 40 NHRIs. The European network of NHRIs provides platform for cooperation and solidarity in human rights issues on European level. We also work closely with the Fundamental Rights Agency.
 
The points I would like to stress: HR remains in force in time of crisis, even during a state emergency, states can only derogate to the extent strictly required by the situation, they should announce their intention to derogate in a timely manner. Prohibition of torture, right to life, prohibition of discrimination, are non-derogable. Derogation requires “public emergency which threatens the life of the nation”, it should reach the level of threatening the life of nation. 

Human rights law recognizes that national emergencies that do not amount to “threaten the life of the nation” may permit restrictions to be placed on the exercise of certain rights. Lockdown in many countries impose restrictions on freedoms, including freedom of movement (ICCPR Art.12), right to assembly (ICCPR Art. 21), and these restrictions must be strictly necessary, proportionate, non-discriminatory, have legal basis, and should be limited in time.
 
Challenges: what kind of restrictions are necessary? According to ECHR, restrictions must be necessary in a democratic society. Restrictions should be continually valued, under parliamentary control, the longer the restrictions in place, more negative impact they have. States should determine whether the measure is proportionate, if they are not, they should be abolished.
 
Measure should not be discriminatory in nature, governments should take the rights of all people into consideration, should not discriminate. Impact on certain groups, for example, elderly people, the disabled, children, migrants, the homeless, should be taken into consideration before the measures are being imposed, to make sure people are not disproportionately affected. Government should protect those who are in vulnerability.
 
States must particularly address the vulnerable people, for example women, children meeting violence at home, people in over-crowded prisons, homeless people, people in long term care, hospitals, prisons. In Norway, inmates complain they can’t receive visits, so video conferences have been arranged. 
 
Broad public debate is more important than ever, Covid-19 has impacts on all the people, it is essential that the human rights impacts are publicly debated, states must ensure media freedom, freedom of civil society, human rights defenders. These are means for the public to ensure government is making decision in interests of everyone. When distributing Information, linguistic minorities should be taken into consideration. In Norway, the first information was in Norwegian, this info did not reach minorities that do not use Norwegian, government decided to promote info in minority languages. 
 
Parliamentary control is also very important in a democratic society, the Parliment should regularly assess COVID-19 measures, they do so in Norway. Judicial impendence is also as important as ever. Parliament check is also important. States should engage with national human rights institutions, we provide info, give advice on legality of restrictions, and we are in good contact with civil society and HR defenders.