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Debating the humanitarian aspects of the corona crisis

Thematic news

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04.15.2020

In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, researchers at the International Institute of Social Studies in the Hague write blog posts, articles and make videos about its social, economic and political repercussions. ISS conveniently places these publications by ISS faculty and PhD researchers, and other news items relating to the coronavirus, on its corona file-page.

PhD researcher Lize Schwartz, reports about a webinar on the global dimensions of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and how social movements could respond. The way we discuss the coronavirus needs an emphasis on human rights and common humanity. Therefore, an apt international response should create a strong counternarrative to the xenophobic, militaristic narrative that is driving defensive and authoritarian responses. 

Away with the ‘holy grail’ of economic growth
In another article by professor Irene van Staveren, the impact of the corona crisis on shifting economic values is discussed. Van Staveren contends that the 'holy grail' of economic growth and competition has been pushed off its pedestal as we see a move towards a more solidarity-based economy. She cites hospitals that no longer compete for scarce resources needed to treat Covid-19 patients but pool their resources to ensure that those most in need receive them first. 

Less solidarity is seen with regard to refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in general, argues PhD researcher Haris Zargar in a blog post on the ISS corona file. With countries adopting stringent measures to contain this pandemic – including rigid border controls – the outbreak may create another, and even worse, refugee tragedy. Zargar warns that government measures could systematically target refugees, asylum seekers and migrants on the pretext of containing the spread of the virus. 

Corona: not the ‘great equaliser’
In another article, Professor of Humanitarian Studies (ISS) Thea Hilhorst, states that disasters are never equally distributed and that the same holds true for the corona crisis. Just like climate change, the virus particularly hits the poorest people. Hilhorst wonders how humanitarian organizations should respond: “Is it a good idea to send aid workers into refugee camps that have already been struck by the coronavirus? How are we going to organize this? It’s a rather complicated issue.” 


To the ISS Corona File


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