Presented by Paul Chaney

This seminar outlines findings from two new studies. The first analyses the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the human rights situation in six countries in East Africa. The analysis reveals civil society organisations’ (CSOs’) ‘situated knowledge’ of how pre-existing violations have been exacerbated by the global emergency and flawed pandemic response from governments in the region. Key rights pathologies include discrimination; denial of the right to adequate healthcare and social security; and surges in domestic abuse, as well as poverty and child labour. In face of the pandemic, governments have used authoritarian practices to stifle civil society criticism and curtail freedom of expression and association. The second explores the neglected issue of the human rights situation of persons with albinism (PWA) – a rare genetic condition characterized by reduced or absent pigmentation of the hair, skin, and eyes in six sub-Saharan African states. The findings reveal continuing serious human rights violations suffered by PWA, including widespread persecution, stigmatization and murder owing to discrimination, superstition and witchcraft. The wider significance of this lies in highlighting the need for improved government action, including awareness-raising of the issue and stricter monitoring of states’ UN treaty obligations.


This seminar is part of the Cardiff WISERD Lunchtime Seminar series. If you are an external guest, please email us to confirm availability of places.