The Third Issue of Newsletter and Feature Articles on the Federation of International Human Rights Museums- Asia Pacific Official Website Released
The Third Issue of Newsletter and Feature Articles on the Federation of International Human Rights Museums - Asia Pacific Official Website Released
Theme: Human Rights Challenges and Resilience in the Face of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic have had several outbreaks throughout the world. To combat the virus, containment measures have been implemented, such as border restrictions, lockdowns, social distancing protocols, and masks mandate, turning everyone's life upside down, especially the marginalized. They have always been forgotten, but now, they face even more difficulties during these hard times, and their human rights are severely impacted. In this newly released issue, there are four articles talking about advocacy during the COVID-19 pandemic. As Charles Dickens wrote in A Tale of Two Cities, "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times". The pandemic causes damage to human rights, but it also gives us a chance to see the power of civil society.
The first article “The Light Still Gets in through the 1.5-meter Crack” elaborates on a exhibition called "Poor Taipei". The author Chu Kuan-chen is the co-founder of Do You A Flavor, a non-governmental organization focusing on homelessness issues in Taiwan. Since 2017, several NGOs dedicating to the marginalized issues, including Do You A Flavor, have jointly curated "Poor Taipei" exhibition every year as a way of initiating advocacy campaigns on urban poverty. In 2021, the pandemic has become serious, and Taiwan imposed a Level 3 alert to combat the virus. That was when the marginalized face more discrimination and stigma than before. To show the public the poor's life and feelings during the pandemic, the "Poor Taipei" exhibition went virtual to continue its advocacy. As Chu said in this article, the 1.5 meters of social distance drove a crack in humanity, so it is important to keep holding the "Poor Taipei" exhibition so that the poor's voices can be heard.
In "Was it a Lockdown or a Crackdown?", Philippine journalist Michael Beltran unveils a human rights crisis in the Philippines during the pandemic, including lack of food and medical resources, increased economic inequality, etc. What's worse, the government used the pandemic to oppress people more harshly than ever. The passing of the Anti-Terror Law in July 2020 is an example, where the author worries that the government wanted to use law to rationalize its violence. Other than that, the article also shows us the power of citizen society organizations, which never give up on advocacy and continue to fight for democracy and human rights during the crisis.
Same as the Philippines, in "Human Rights Fulfillment in Indonesia under COVID-19", Erpan Faryadi, project manager of Indonesia NGO Link-AR Borneo, talks about human rights violations in Indonesia. During the pandemic, a series of wrong policies caused economic and social problems, where people's freedom and rights are restricted more than ever. As a way to response, several citizen society organizations built an online platform together to collect COVID-19 related data and monitor the government. With this platform, citizens can connect with each other and continue their advocacy during the pandemic. Back to Taiwan, while citizens are seriously affected by the pandemic, migrant workers face more discrimination and unfair treatment during these times, showing that they have been suffering injustice for a very long time. "With songs and contemporary arts, Unaccounted Travelogue weaves together the stories of laborers.", written by Loh Li-chen, director of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Taipei(MoCA Taipei) ,and Chan Hua-tzu, deputy head of the Research Division, MoCA, Taipei, uses the exhibition "Unaccounted Travelogue" as an example to explain how MoCA Taipei creates a space for social issue discussion through modern art, as well as how this exhibition discusses the oppression and obstacles that migrant workers have been facing.