Lauren Martin

Speaking to a workshop in Cox’s Bazar, Kaldor Centre Director Jane McAdam put the 14 Principles of protection for migrants, refugees and other displaced people during COVID-19 into context for humanitarian workers who are serving what has become the world’s largest refugee settlement.

The Bangladesh workshop was organised by Kaldor Centre PhD candidate Brian Barbour on behalf of the Asia-Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN) and co-hosted by the NGO Platform in Cox’s Bazar. The 28 participants were service providers in Cox's Bazar, including local and international NGOs. The goal was to better equip front line staff to recognise protection needs and understand what rights Rohingya refugees have. 

Professor McAdam and Kaldor Centre professor Guy S. Goodwin-Gill were among a small group of experts who contributed to the drafting of the Principles earlier in the pandemic. Endorsed by more than 1000 experts, the Principles were developed under the auspices of the Program on Forced Migration, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University; the Migration and Human Rights Program, Cornell Law School; and the Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility, The New School.

The Principles have been cited in the United Nations Secretary-General’s recent Policy Brief: COVID-19 and People on the Move for the proposition that the human rights of people on the move have not been sufficiently taken into account in the response to the pandemic. The Principles were also highlighted by IOM in a new Analytical Snapshot on the human rights implications of COVID-19 throughout the migration cycle.

McAdam’s pre-recorded talk was shown at the workshop (with Bangla translation), and she also joined the workshop to answer questions and join in discussion alongside a representative from the Bangladesh-based international development organisation BRAC, who spoke about on-the-ground challenges in the current context, and a doctor from the World Health Organization, who provided detailed health information and guidance.

Watch McAdam’s presentation for yourself to better understand what a principled approach to protection looks like amid a pandemic.