The justice sectors in Council of Europe member states have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Special arrangements have been introduced in most systems in order to respect the need for social distancing, while at the same time delivering a minimum level of service in cases where postponement would have particularly harmful implications. This is the case notably as regards proceedings involving children, custody, domestic violence and detention. This responsiveness is to be welcomed.
As part of the Doha Declaration Education for Justice initiative, UNODC and the Ban Ki-moon Centre for Global Citizens have announced that they will soon begin implementation of a new Women's Empowerment Programme (WEP) catering to young females from Latin America. The WEP, made possible thanks to generous support from the State of Qatar, will transform education policy into action in order to promote justice, the rule of law and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Programme will focus on training and equipping 20 young women from Latin American countries with the skill-set to act as SDG leaders within their fields of work. While all of the 17 SDGs provide the framework for the WEP, its focus will be on SDGs 4,5,16 and 17.
One of the many limitations of the stay at home orders, which remain effective around most of the world, is its impact on physical movement in large spaces for the sake of exercise. For people accustomed to the regular practice of sports, whether in a gym, in parks or even on streets, suddenly renouncing to these activities can be difficult, sometimes causing stress which only adds to the anxiety of these new global circumstances.
In the past month, over 20,000 people in Uzbekistan have risen to the challenge of the country's Ministry of Physical Culture and Sports and UNODC to Line Up, Live Up from their homes, and to then share those special moments on social media accounts.
COVID-19 has been traveling rapidly since December last year. Carried by millions of tourists and expanding, first, to Europe, the United States and then the rest of the world. At the beginning gradually and imperceptibly, then exponentially. The WHO declared it a pandemic on 11 March 2020 when the number of infected people was "only" 118,000 and the number of deceased people, 4,291. With over 3.5 million people infected and over 250,000 dead as of the day of this writing, the world has built new frontiers and is becoming unrecognizable.
The lockdown has been difficult for most people, as the world adapts to the strict measures necessary to combat COVID-19. For children, the challenge is a big one as they find themselves suddenly unable to learn in the appropriate settings, or to run around outside with their friends. This situation becomes even more problematic when children are in particularly vulnerable circumstances, in need of humanitarian assistance and with few outlets to help them deal with the reality.
Several hundred children in Lebanon were pleasantly surprised this month when they discovered The Zorbs, the colourful alien characters helping young generations understand the values which help keep the world safe.