Human rights are at their most vulnerable at times of crises. During the pandemic, Partners in Justice International has continued our work in solidarity with the most vulnerable members of our communities.
In response to the crisis related to COVID 19, PJI quickly committed to doing our part to prevent the spread of the virus and to safeguard the life and health of our colleagues and the communities we serve. We have been keeping our eyes on the human rights situation in the countries where we live and work, and we continue to be vigilant with respect to access to justice for victims of grave crimes. Many of the communities we serve have been dramatically affected, and we stand with them in solidarity and grief.
Safeguarding Access to Justice for Victims and Survivors of Grave Crimes
Access to justice presents one of the main challenges of the current crisis, and this is especially true for victims and survivors of grave crimes. Bringing an unprecedented scale of death and disease, COVID-19 directly threatens victims and witnesses of grave crimes, who are often at increased risk due to their age or underlying conditions. Such underlying conditions may be associated with conflict-related trauma. Compounding this threat, the crisis has also exposed economic, digital, and health-related disparities rooted in patterns of discrimination and neglect that may themselves have contributed to or resulted from mass atrocity events. While we are monitoring the human rights situation in every country where we work, we continue to contribute to the international conversation relating to access to justice, sharing best practices and recommendations with our national counterparts for the benefit of the victims and other members of our partner communities.
Safeguarding Our Partner Communities and Our Staff
The health and safety of our colleagues, our partner communities, and our staff are our top priorities. Many of the communities we serve are at significant risk due to their limited access to information, medical supplies, and hospital systems. To minimize the spread of the virus, PJI converted our on-the-ground training and mentoring work to remote support wherever possible, to avoid exposing our colleagues and their communities to unnecessary risk. We continue to learn about and develop new and innovative methods and tools for working with our colleagues remotely, while reinforcing electronic security measures.
We have taken and continue to take the following precautions to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19:
- Prioritizing digital tools, communications, and security: To better support each other and our colleagues remotely, PJI has continued to learn about and develop new methods and tools for remote collaboration, training, and mentoring. At the same time, we have been evaluating and refining our digital and electronic security measures. Further, we have increased our engagement with our colleagues, allies, donors, and partner communities through use of digital platforms.
- Canceled missions and other in-person events: In early 2020, we put all in-person meetings, events, trainings, and mentoring sessions on hold. We have continued to support many of our colleagues through virtual meetings. We are committed to following national guidelines for each region in planning future missions.
- Virtual office: PJI has maintained a robust virtual office since our inception. All our staff work remotely.