SHAPE-SEA launches 'Elevating Critical Voices on the State of Human Rights and Peace in the time of Covid-19 | Global News

SHAPE-SEA launches ‘Elevating Critical Voices on the State of Human Rights and Peace in the time of Covid-19

/ 11:39 AM February 06, 2021

In February 2020, the world was in a state of panic due to the mysterious illness that has been affecting scores of peoples in just a short time.


Identified as Sars-CoV-2 earlier in February, the virus was discovered in Wuhan, China as early as November 2019.

In March 2020, most of the countries had started to shut down their borders in the bid to stop the pandemic. But it was too late.


The pandemic is raging until now despite the promise of a vaccine.

To date, over two million deaths have been recorded, worst than the two World Wars. The pandemic also brought about economic difficulties, particularly in developing nations.

In Southeast Asia, countries such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar have been experiencing the worst human rights violations mostly in the guise of containing the pandemic.

SEA: Infected and Interrupted

The Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research in ASEAN/Southeast Asia Programme (SHAPE-SEA), in its pursuit of increased knowledge on human rights and peace and to promote academic-activism, invited researchers, scholars, students to share original and evidence-based think pieces on the impact of Covid-19 on human rights and/or peace at the local, national, and regional levels.

The program is among the earliest to initiate a digital project to enable people to express their opinions on how they or their communities in different parts of Southeast Asia dealing with Covid-19.

On 4 February 2021, in light of SHAPE-SEA’s sixth-anniversary theme of “Shaping a Better Normal”, an edited collection of selected think pieces entitled “Southeast Asia: Infected and Interrupted: Elevating Critical Voices on the State of Human Rights and Peace in the Time of COVID-19”, was launched.


Edited by Southeast Asian academic-activists, Joel Mark Barredo, Dr. Khoo Ying Hooi, and Dr. Herlambang P. Wiratraman, the book features a total of 72 articles on topics covering all Southeast Asian countries.

Ms. Cecilia Jimenez Damary, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) wrote the foreword.

The zoom launch was attended by around 80 people from Southeast Asia including prominent human rights advocates and commissioners, the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, scholars, academics, and activists.

These think pieces proved the thesis of many academics and observers, where Covid-19 has been a real challenge for all different stakeholders and there have been strong arguments where the direction of human rights and democracy amidst this pandemic has not been encouraging.

On a brighter note, the pandemic has revealed the community resilience and the strength of civil society groups that play a significant role in providing assistance and services to the people who are in need but are left out.

This book seeks to serve as an academic contribution to the growing knowledge of Covid-19, human rights and peace.

It is a homage to knowledge frontliners, who, despite limitations and restrictions, remained committed to holding the torch of truth to spread light amidst uncertainly and vulnerability.


The Strengthening Human Rights and Peace Research and Education in ASEAN/SEA Programme or SHAPE SEA is funded by Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights, University of Oslo.

Established in 2015, this program envisioned a Southeast Asia where the culture and values of human rights, peace and democracy are instilled through widespread research and teaching in higher education.

It is housed at the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies, Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand.

A copy of the book is downloadable on this link:


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