Helpful information about COVID-19. Continuously updated.

On this page you can find helpful information and verified resources about COVID-19.

The page is continuously updated



WHO – World Health Organization 

THE UNION – a global union to fight Tuberculosis

ASAM – American Society of Addiction Medicine

European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control

International Drug Policy Consortium

United Nations – Office on drugs and crimes

Life4me+ (a page with useful information)

World Hepatitis Alliance


Inter Agency Standing Committee

Johns Hopkins University 

IOM International (migrants)


The situation in Eastern Europe and Central Asia


Ministry of Health

A map with regions


Ministry of Health of Ukraine

National Health Service of Ukraine

Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine


Official website on Coronavirus

Website of the Ministry of Health of the Kyrgyz Republic

Republican Headquarters Telegram Channel to Prevent Coronavirus Infiltration

Republican Coronavirus Prevention Headquarters Facebook page

Republican Coronavirus Prevention Headquarters Instagram Page


Official website about Coronavirus


A map with regions

Turkmenistan – credible public health information in the Turkmen language


Articles on topics:

Common info

Addressing Mental Health and Psychosocial Aspects of COVID-19 Outbreak

Source –

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: When and how to use masks

Source – WHO

COVID-19 and People Who Live with HIV

COVID-19 Drug Interactions .  Source –

EATG Rapid Assessment COVID-19 crisis’ Impact on PLHIV and on Communities Most Affected by HIV. Source – EATG

PEPFAR Technical Guidance in Context of COVID-19 Pandemic. Source – PEPFAR

Risk assessment and contingency planning tool for health systems functions and to ensure continuity of TB and HIV services . SourceCenter For Health Policies and Studies

A statement “Flatten inequality: human rights in the age of COVID-19” 

SourceCanadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network

No increased coronavirus risk for people with well-controlled HIV say WHO, but how will health systems cope?


EATG Rapid Assessment COVID-19 crisis’ Impact on PLHIV and on Communities Most Affected by HIV

Source – European AIDS Treatment Group 

Q&A on COVID-19, HIV and antiretrovirals

Source – WHO

COVID-19 and People Living with HIV: Frequently Asked Questions

Source – HIV Medicine Association (HIVMA), Prevention Access Campaign, and partners

Resources on COVID-19 Support, Advocacy, Gender and HIV

Source – The Well Project

Lessons from HIV prevention for preventing COVID-19 in low- and middle-income countries

Source – UNAIDS

Condoms and lubricants in the time of COVID-19

Source – UNAIDS

The global impact of COVID-19 and strategies for mitigation and suppression

Source – Imperial College London, UK

The Potential Impact of the COVID-19 Epidemic on HIV, TB and Malaria in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Source – Imperial College London, UK

COVID-19 and prisons

The International Corrections and Prisons Association  

Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention.  Source – WHO

Interim Guidance. COVID-19: Focus on persons deprived of their liberty.

Source – IASC – Inter-Agency Standing Committee

Position Paper COVID-19 preparedness and responses in prisons


COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe. Statement by Commissioner Dunja Mijatović.

SourceCouncil of Europe


COVID-19 and  People Who Use Drugs 

COVID-19 guidance for PWUD.  Source –

Syringe Services and Harm Reduction Provider Operations During the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Source –

How Harm Reducers Cope with the Covid-19 Pandemic in Europe?

Source –

Interim Guidance for COVID-19 and Persons with HIV. Source –

Information on the new virus, guidance for people living with HIV and answers to frequently asked questions from Dr Michael Brady

Source –

Guidance for People Who Use Substances on COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus)

Suggestions about treatment, care and rehabilitation of people with drug use disorder in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic


COVID-19 HIV prevention, treatment, care and support for people who use drugs


Reducing the Harms of a Broken System: Social Justice Demands During COVID-19

Statement by the UN expert on the right to health on the protection of people who use drugs during the COVID-19 pandemic

Harm Reduction Responses to COVID-19 in Europe

Source –

COVID-19 and Tuberculosis

COVID-19 Coronavirus And Tuberculosis: We Need A Damage Control Plan. Source –

New diseases and old threats: lessons from tuberculosis for the COVID-19 response.

Source –

WHO HQ Information note on TB and COVID 19

Source – WHO

COVID-19 and Hepatitis 


Source – AASLD – American Association for the study of Liver Diseases 

WHO HQ Q&A on COVID 19, HIV and antiretrovirals

Source – WHO

COVID-19 and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

The COVID-19 Outbreak: Potential Fallout for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights.

Source –

COVID-19 and youth

Youth guide

Source –

COVID-19 and SRHR 

SRHR and Gender

Source – Share-net International

COVID-19 and Sex workers

Sex workers’ response


What gay men can teach us about surviving the coronavirus

Source –

Reports from AIDS2020 


Source – IAS

Other topics

How civil society helps to overcome COVID-19 pandemic effects in Ukraine

Source –

The COVID-19 Solidarity Program for Key Populations in Eastern Partnership countries is launched! Please, apply!

AFEW International has launched the regional COVID-19 Solidarity Program in the Eastern Partnership countries with the financial support of the European Union and in partnership with People in Need and the Netherlands Helsinki Committee.  This project will support community-based organizations to respond to the immediate and longer-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Eastern Partnership countries.

AFEW International will support 9 organizations with small grants in the period of October 2020 – September 2021. The maximum amount per grant is 5000 euro.

Which activities will be supported?

  • Projects address the immediate COVID-19 related health and socio-economic needs of Key Populations, and enable them to continue supporting their usual constituents.
  • Activities respond to a situation that threatens the health, and/or the physical or juridical safety of one or more people from the above target groups or threatens the financial and/or legal situation of an NGO/CBO.
  • The activity will be used as a tool for local, national and/or international advocacy for preventing similar emergencies occurring in the future.
  • The activities to relieve an emergency will be immediately implemented and will last no longer than 12 months.

Who can apply?

  • Applicant must be a Community based organization (CBO) or represent the interests and needs of the following groups:
    • Sex workers
    • LGBTQI
    • Men who have sex with men (MSM)
    • Women vulnerable to HIV
    • Migrants
    • Adolescents and/or youth
    • People using drugs
    • People living with HIV (PLHIV)
  • Applicant is based in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, the Republic of Moldova, Ukraine.
  • Applicant is a registered CBO or – if not registered – provides references from partner organisations.

How to apply?

Fill out the form (can be downloaded from here). An application shall be submitted in English or Russian. The deadline for submitting the form is on 27 September 2020 at 17:00 CET (Amsterdam time). All proposals submitted after the deadline will not be reviewed! Decisions will be made within 3 weeks. Funds will be transferred approximately within 14 days after a positive decision.

Send this form to the following email address: Once submitted, you will receive an automated notification.

Wait for the decision of the Selection Commission regarding your application. The review of the applications will be done within 3 weeks after the deadline. The decisions will be announced on 19 October 2020.

If you have questions, please refer them to the above-mentioned email address or to Valeria Fulga:

More details about the call for applications  – here.

Application Form CoV-19 Solidarity Program – download.

Budget form download.

Bank details form download.

Human rights impact assessment of the COVID-19 response in Russia

What are the impacts on human rights of the restrictive measures imposed by the Government of Russia in response to the COVID-19 pandemic? How have the Russian authorities complied with international human rights standards while implementing measures to combat the spread of Covid-19?

These questions lie at the heart of the new report by International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and Public Verdict Foundation. This study examines these measures through a human rights lens of international, regional human rights treaties of core and soft law (non-binding) standards.

Download the report 

Source – International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR)  


COVID-19 and prison health

On this page you can find helpful information and verified resources about COVID-19 and prison health.

The page is continuously updated

The International Corrections and Prisons Association (a verified resource)  

Worldwide Prison Health Research & Engagement Network (WEPHREN) (a verified resource)

Preparedness, prevention and control of COVID-19 in prisons and other places of detention. 

Source – WHO

Interim Guidance. COVID-19: Focus on persons deprived of their liberty.

Source – IASC – Inter-Agency Standing Committee

Position Paper COVID-19 preparedness and responses in prisons


COVID-19 pandemic: urgent steps are needed to protect the rights of prisoners in Europe. Statement by Commissioner Dunja Mijatović

SourceCouncil of Europe

Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty

SourceCouncil of Europe

Coronavirus: Healthcare and human rights of people in prison

SourcePenal Reform International

Appeal by European NGOs involved in the field of prison health and in the defence of the right to health protection for prisoners

COVID-19 in prison: the Council of Europe must lead on policies to address the Covid-19 challenges

SourceCouncil of Europe

COVID-19: Council of Europe anti-torture Committee issues “Statement of principles relating to the treatment of persons deprived of their liberty”

SourceCouncil of Europe

COVID-19 population management strategy for prisons

Source –

UNODC, WHO, UNAIDS and OHCHR joint statement on COVID-19 in prisons and other closed settings

Source – UNAIDS

PRI educational posters for criminal justice practitioners to reduce the spread of COVID-19


Understanding COVID-19 in secure settings 

Infection prevention and control and surveillance for coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in prisons in EU/EEA countries and the UK

COVID-19, Prisons and Drug Policy: Global Scan March-June 2020 

Source –


Source – Council of Europe


Migrants in need. COVID-19 and the impact on labor migrants’ health, income, food and travel

Authors – Olga Shelevakho and Helena Arntz

“I lost my job in Russia due to the COVID-19 pandemic and I didn’t have any money to send back to my mother in Tajikistan who is taking care of my children. I don’t know how to help them”

This is one of many stories from Tajik migrants who have lost their job in Russia in the last months and can’t go back to their families. Some of them have to stay in Russia in poverty and some are stranded at the borders or are staying in unsanitary conditions with hundreds of other people without food, money or shelter. Government help is not enough in this situation, which is why NGOs in Russia and Kazakhstan have taken on the responsibility of helping migrants.

For reference

Russia alone hosted around 12 million labor migrants in 2019, which include an estimated 3 million migrants from Uzbekistan and 1.2 million from Tajikistan. Hoping for better chances of finding a job, migrants from Central Asia migrate mostly to Russia and Kazakhstan. Labor migrants from Central Asia significantly contribute to the economies of these two countries, as well as to the economy of their country of origin. That makes migrants an important part of the international economy, however society’s attitude towards migrants still remains bad.

Lockdown in Russia

At the end of March 2020, the Russian government announced that all non-essential businesses would be closed and suspended all international civil aviation travel. These travel restrictions, put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, have a severe impact on migrants’ lives. Due to the pandemic regulations, an estimated 83% of the migrants lost their jobs and many of them were not able to return home. In March, 200 Central Asian migrants were stuck at Moscow Domodedovo airport for two weeks and 300 Kyrgyz nationals stuck at the Novosibirsk airport went on hunger strike. Hundreds of people who were trying to go home to Uzbekistan, Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan by car got stranded at the border.

As many factories and companies stopped working, a lot of migrants lost their jobs and had no money for basic items. When big cities such as Moscow closed down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a pass system was introduced to stop people from going outside. Labor migrants had great difficulty obtaining these passes, as migrants needed to have an officially registered job to be able to receive them. This means that undocumented migrants weren’t able to go out, which caused great difficulties in accessing social and health services. This has serious implications for migrants living with HIV, who cannot get their ARV therapy.

With regards to COVID-19 care, the Russian government announced that it’s free for everyone, even if a person is undocumented. During quarantine there was a moratorium on eviction from Russia, even for people without documents.

Liudmila Vins, the director of NGO “Luna” (Yekaterinburg):

“A migrant who owns a small bakery fell ill with coronavirus. His entire family and workers, also migrants, including illegal immigrants, were tested for free. They started a period of self-isolation, and the bakery was temporarily shut down. The owner of the bakery received all the benefits that were due to him as a small business owner”.

Families in need

The travel restrictions have not only impacted the lives of migrants, but also their families back in their home countries, who depend on incomes from seasonal labor. Especially for a country such as Tajikistan, where remittances made up 32% of Tajikistan’s GDP in 2018, this is a massive blow to its economy. Numbers from the International Organization for Migration show that 51% of Central Asian migrants make regular money transfers to their homeland. Of these, an estimated 80% were unable to transfer any money at the end of April 2020. The lockdown in the host countries thus also places a heavy burden on the families back in the home country.[1] The main problems Central Asian migrants face is not being able to pay their rent (64%), not being able to find a job (45%) and not being able to pay for food (43%).[2] The Russian government decided to compensate migrants for their loss of income, without much success, firstly because the vast majority of labor migrants work in the informal sector, which makes them ineligible for compensation or unemployment benefits. Secondly, the maximum payment by the Russian government to compensate for loss of income of officially registered migrants is 12,130 rubles a month (less than 160 euros), which is not enough not for the migrants themselves to survive, and definitely not enough for them to send money back to their families at home.


Children of “unwanted” migrants are another big problem, according to human rights activists. When undocumented migrants are arrested by the police, they are taken to temporary detention centers. In some regions children of migrants are placed in a shelter for this time, while in Yekaterinburg they are taken to the Detention Center together with their parents. In these centers migrants are kept in separate locked cells. Each cell has several rooms of different sizes, which can accommodate from 4 to 12 people, and sometimes more. One person should have at least 4.5 square meters, but the centers are often overcrowded, especially after police raids.

Who can help migrants?

Despite many restrictions, several civil society organisations have mobilized their resources to help migrants during this difficult time. Kazakh NGO “Zabota”, managed to provide migrants information and recommendations by phone. Some NGOs received small grants from EFCA (Eurasia Fund of Central Asia) for the emergency project “Qolda”. In the framework of this initiative packages with food, hygiene and protection items such as masks were delivered to families of migrants residing abroad. Local ethno-cultural associations and diasporas also didn’t leave their nationals without help. In Russia, NGO “KOVCHEG Anti-AIDS” helps migrants such as Anna who live with HIV receive their medication from its reserve cabinet. They created a mobile point called “trust” so they could continue to meet migrants during the lockdown.

Anna (32 years old) from Ukraine: “I’ve had HIV since 2017. I went to Krasnodar, Russia, with my husband in 2014 where I worked as a housekeeper and my husband at a construction company. Every six months we went to Donetsk to get therapy and take tests. In December 2019, I got pregnant and in March after the borders were closed, we could not go back for the treatment. It was impossible to leave Russia, and I couldn’t interrupt treatment because of the risk of HIV transmission to my child. As a result of the pandemic, the organization where I worked was closed, and my husband and me were told to stay home.  I applied to the Krasnodar AIDS Center for therapy, but they couldn’t help me. Then I found the contact of NGO “KOVCHEG Anti-AIDS” in Rostov on Don, which helped with the therapy”.

In Tajikistan, people are starting to feel the consequences of the lack of remittances normally sent back by their relatives. Since the start of the pandemic, the costs of basic food items have been rising and many families cannot cover basic needs such as food. Thanks to NGOs, people got some supplies. NGO “Nakukor”, with the help of IOM Tajikistan and AFEW International, have distributed food packages to 500 migrant households in the Kulob region, providing families with basic supplies.

NGO “Luna” in Yekaterinburg mobilized resources to provide migrants with masks and hygiene kits. “Luna” has also helped several migrants to obtain residence permits and to register for an apartment. Recently, after borders reopened, some labor migrants left Russia and flew back home, primarily due to fear of infection.

Support NGOs

In April, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a support package for socially oriented NGOs and volunteers. The support package consists of seven items such as additional payments to employees of social institutions, grant support for volunteers as well as direct support for NGOs to help them pay salaries. Some NGOs have been exempted from taxes for the quarantine period.  Obviously, NGOs are playing a very important role in helping migrants during this pandemic. They should also be prepared for the reduction in remittances to the poorest Central Asian states to have implications on society and poverty in the long term. This will become clear in the coming months and years. The work of NGOs should not be underestimated and these organisations should continuously receive support to help people in need.


[1] IOM Central Asian and Russian Federation strategic preparedness and response plan: Coronavirus disease 2019, February – December 2020, updated on 27 April 2020.

[2] “Influence of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Position of Migrants and Remittances in Central Asia” by Sergey Ryazantsev and Marina Khramova. Institute for Socio-Political Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Department of Demographic and Migration Policy at MGIMO University.

COVID-19 and CSOs in EECA

AFEW International is conducting a questionnaire among Civil Society Organisations in the EECA region to measure the impact of COVID-19 on CSOs in the region. Are you working for a CSO in Eastern Europe and Central Asia? Please, fill the questionnaire out before 16 august!

It will take maximum 10 minutes.

A shrinking civil society in Tajikistan

In the Eastern Europe and Central Asian region (EECA), the space for civil society is constantly shrinking. Central Asia has one of the lowest rankings of civil and political freedoms in the world. This makes the work of many non-governmental organisations and activists more difficult.

A clear example of this can be seen in Tajikistan. In June the International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) released a report demonstrating widespread denial of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country and continuous threats to freedom of expression.


Until 30th April 2020, when a World Health Organisation (WHO) delegation travelled to the country to investigate the health crisis, the Tajikistan authorities maintained that no cases of coronavirus had been detected in the country. They adopted a range of preventive measures and only made available general information about the virus. Citizens, however, had pressing unanswered questions, as reports appeared on social media and from independent media outlets about a spike in deaths resulting from pneumonia, tuberculosis and typhoid fever in different parts of the country. Doctors faced harassment and intimidation as officials urged them not to refer patients for testing. Dozens of doctors were reported to have died and many hospitals were filled with quarantined medical personnel and patients. On 21st April 2020, 18 Tajikistani civil society organisations and independent experts sent a letter to the Ministry of Health and Social Protection of the Population of the Republic of Tajikistan urging it to ensure transparency about the epidemiological situation in the country. In her reply on 23rd April 2020, the Deputy Minister of Health did not confirm any cases of COVID-19 but rather stated that in the first quarter of 2020 fewer cases of pneumonia had been registered than in 2019. The first cases of COVID-19 were only officially announced on 30th April 2020.

No freedom of expression

A new Law on Counteracting Extremism signed by the President in January 2020 granted the authorities wide-ranging powers to restrict the rights to freedom of expression. In early 2020 all independent and privately-owned TV and radio outlets in Tajikistan were ordered to inform the authorities about their planned broadcasts each week – a move seen as a consequence of the new law on Counteracting Extremism. Shortly after the new law was signed, 113 alleged members of the banned Muslim brotherhood were arrested. Human rights activists expressed concern that those who were arrested were not allowed to contact relatives or receive independent legal assistance.

On 18th February 2020 the Supreme Court ruled to block the independent news outlet Akhbor after ruling that it offers a platform to “terrorists and extremists”.

On 16th April 2020 independent journalist Daler Sharipov, who frequently writes about controversial issues such as human rights and religion and has criticized government policies in these areas, was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment on what are widely regarded as politically motivated charges. He was targeted in retaliation for his journalistic work.

Authorities block, and in some cases disable, websites, social media platforms and internet messaging platforms and internet access. These methods form part of the authorities’ toolkit used to put pressure on independent media outlets, bloggers and social media users, and to limit the dissemination of reports critical of the government.

New rules

The Lower House of Tajikistan’s Parliament approved amendments to the Criminal Code to penalize the deliberate spread of infectious diseases, including HIV.

Amendments are made to Article 207 of the Criminal Code of Tajikistan regarding “Violation of sanitary and epidemiological norms and rules”. The penalty for the violation is two to five years, and in case of serious injury to health can reach five to ten years.

The Parliament also amended the Code of Administrative Offences. They refer to knowingly spreading inaccurate information about the Coronavirus pandemic in offline and online media and social media. The penalty for violating the law is from 580 somoni ($56) for citizens and up to 11 600 somoni ($1128) for legal entities.

Fearing punishment, organizations in Tajikistan, including NGOs, prefer to keep silent about state violations.

Shrinking of civil society

Civil society is not the only thing that’s been shrinking during the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare organizations working with key populations vulnerable to HIV, TB and viral hepatitis are constantly affected by strict governmental policies.

In 2017 AFEW International conducted an assessment to examine the extent to which decreasing space for civil society threatens the effectiveness of the response to HIV and related public health issues (i.e. the effects on harm reduction programs for people who use drugs).

The assessment focused on the consequences of the shrinking space for civil society in the EECA region for community networks of people who use drugs, as well as harm reduction and drug policy NGOs. The study also looked at the strategies civil society develops and chooses while its space for agency melts away. The coping strategies were identified amongst resilient harm reduction non-governmental organizations and community networks of people who use drugs in Eastern Europe and Central Asia and can be defined by three categories – fight, hide and unite. These strategies were described in the report “We Fight, We Hide or We Unite: Coping strategies amongst resilient harm reduction organizations and community networks in the context of shrinking space for civil society in Eastern Europe and Central Asia”, published in July 2018. This research was a part of AFEW’s regional approach within the Bridging the Gaps: health and rights of key populations project.

The research showed that civil societies in the EECA region’s countries struggle with limited political rights and civil liberties, including freedom of expression and associated rights. CSOs, particularly those opposing authorities, report serious threats to their existence and to continuing their activities, but also to the security of their staff. In most of these countries, it was also noted that restrictive laws on foreign funding and international collaboration have been introduced. For instance, the Law on Public Associations in Tajikistan obligates organisations to notify the Ministry of Justice about grants and other aid received from abroad.

AFEW International is concerned about the developments in Tajikistan and will continue follow developments in the country. Moreover, we will keep our strong commitment to advocating on internationally and supporting key populations at risk for HIV, TB and viral hepatitis in each and every one of the ongoing health crises in the region.


Download the report Shrinking Civil Society space 

Women at the forefront of COVID-19 response in Europe and Central Asia

In response to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the relatively limited data available, the UN Women Regional Office for Europe and Central Asia developed a rapid survey, through the Making Every Woman and Girl Count global programme, to assess the gendered impacts of COVID-19 on women and men.

The Rapid Gender Assessment (RGA) survey was rolled out between April and May 2020 in 16 countries/territories across the region. This report draws on RGA data collected in 10 countries/territories in the region: Albania, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, North Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova and Turkey. The sample size varies from 1,000 to 2,000 respondents depending on country population size. A more comprehensive RGA analysis encompassing data from all 16 ECA countries/ territories will follow.

The RGA survey findings are intended to be used by countries/territories to inform, guide and support response planning and address the gendered impact of the pandemic. Furthermore, it is intended to serve as a baseline assessment for faster and more gender-sensitive interventions if future outbreaks occur. Customized for the regional context, the RGA survey identified a minimum set of variables to be collected in the 16 countries/territories, covering demographics, employment and livelihoods, time spent on household activities, access to basic goods and services, and women’s safety, in order to understand the pandemic from a gender perspective. Data collection was done primarily through telephone interviews. In a few countries/ territories, rural households were reached through computer-assisted telephone interviews, and online surveys were used for urban households.

The sampling was based on lists of registered mobile and landline phone users in the target countries/territories. The sample size draws results at an aggregate level for each country/ territory and ensures representativeness by sex and main age groups (18–34, 35–64 and 65+). This information, along with other profile information on respondents, is available in the Annexes. UN Women would like to express its gratitude to the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), UN Resident Coordinators and other partners for supporting the RGA in several countries/territories across the region. Data collection at the country/territory level was also made possible through the generous support of the Governments of Canada, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, and the European Union.


Download the document

Human rights impact assessment of the Covid-19 response on the territory of Ukraine

The International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR), together with civil society organisations and researchers from across the Former Soviet Union (FSU), are conducting a region-wide assessment of national governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact on human rights.

The present report sets forth the assessment of the COVID-19 response in Ukraine, and is part of a series of country-reports from the FSU region. It was prepared by IPHR, CrimeaSOS and Truth Hounds.

The IPHR team analyzed dozens of cases of alleged rights violations reported by local civil society actors and independent media. Statistical data on prevalence of the disease and information about restrictive measures introduced in response to COVID-19 crisis has been obtained from official government sources. Information collected has been analyzed against applicable regional (Council of Europe) and universal (United Nations) standards.

The report contains recommendations, in which IPHR calls on all governing authorities in Ukraine to ensure that restrictive measures have a legal basis, are strictly necessary and proportionate to the objective of protecting public health and saving lives (based on scientific advice), are subject to constant review and lifted when no longer necessary, and are applied indiscriminately. Authorities must take particular care to ensure that vulnerable and marginalised groups are not disproportionately disadvantaged by the response to COVID-19, and must take steps to address pre-existing inequalities. Authorities must not use the pandemic to restrict fundamental rights and democratic principles for ulterior purposes.


Download the report 

Human rights impact assessment of the Covid-19 response in Kazakhstan

In the framework of an initiative of International Partnership for Human Rights (IPHR) and its partners from Central Asia a paper has been prepared to monitor and document the human rights impact of governments’ responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in this region. 

Through the monitoring, specialists have identified the following key points on how the COVID-19 pandemic was handled in Kazakhstan from mid-March until mid-July 2020:

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities of Kazakhstan implemented strict quarantine measures at an early stage, restricting the movement and freedoms of the citizens of the country. Since the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country in March 2020, the toll of infections had risen to over 63,000 by mid-July, with an unknown shadow number of infections categorised as pneumonia. The infection rate began to escalate in the early summer. Hospitals in Kazakhstan are functioning, but since June, there have been over-occupancy in most regions, and there is a deficit of certain types of medicine in pharmacies, such as antibiotics.
  • In response to the pandemic, Kazakhstan implemented a state of emergency starting from 16 March 2020, along with highly restrictive measures to limit the freedom of movement and other fundamental freedoms of residents. The national borders were shut, and the entry and exit points of most cities were closed. Within cities, movement by both vehicle and foot was also restricted. The authorities forcibly sealed off apartment blocks where some residents were found to be Covid-19 infected, resulting in that an unknown number of residents were not able to leave their homes for two weeks. The quarantine was lifted in early June, but re-instated in a less far-reaching format on 5 July.

Through the monitoring of the situation in Kazakhstan, partners have also documented the following developments during the COVID-19 pandemic:

• During the state of emergency introduced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the authorities have adopted a number of amendments to national legislation, some of which have negatively affected the protection of fundamental freedoms in the country. In May, the president signed a new law on assemblies into force, in spite of widespread criticism of this law by both the local civil society and the international community. In a more positive development, the offenses of libel and slander were removed from the Criminal Code and transferred to the Administrative Code.

• Freedom of expression: Numerous people have been persecuted and prosecuted for exercising their right to freedom of expression and speaking out on the government’s handling of the pandemic. Among others, well-known civil society activist Alnur Ilyashev was convicted for expressing his opinion in this regard and given a sentence entailing court-imposed limitations on his freedom of movement.

• Freedom of association: During this period, the right to freely associate has continued to be seriously violated in Kazakhstan. In one particularly disturbing incident, a Nur-Sultan court banned a popular, unregistered opposition movement – the Street Party – as “extremist” in May 2020. Numerous people have been prosecuted for disseminating information about the movement, also prior to its banning.

• There were widespread reports of homeless people being mistreated by police or not provided with adequate support by the authorities during the quarantine, when whole cities were sealed off and movement was restricted.

• In a more positive development, the authorities provided modest financial support to citizens and businesses during the period of quarantine, especially supporting vulnerable citizens, who benefited from free food distribution.

• Civil society has criticised the failure of the authorities to ensure adequate conditions for incarcerated people during the pandemic and to adequately protect detainees and prisoners from COVID-19 infection.

• The education system in Kazakhstan has been seriously affected by the emergency measures introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic, as schools and universities were shut down and pupils transferred to distance learning from March until the summer break. As in many countries, the attempts to secure learning with the help of online platforms have had limited success.

• Incidents of domestic violence significantly increased in Kazakhstan during the Covid-19 lockdown. While the country’s crisis centres have continued to operate and provide support during the pandemic, victims have experienced difficulties in accessing help because of the restrictions of
movement in place.


Download the document