Authors are free to title their entries as they deem appropriate.
The final date for submission is 30th September 2020.
Submissions are open to any presently enrolled graduate/post-graduate law student whose thoughts resonate with the Concept Note to this call. The institution where the participant author belongs, to must be recognised by the appropriate authority of the respective State.
Authors are expected to critically engage with the legal and policy responses by the jurisdiction of their choice. They can also:
Explore the impact of COVID-19 on civil rights and liberties.
Assess the role and importance of Internationalism, International Law and International Organisations.
Connect the jurisdictional response with the international legal setup.
This is however not a list of superimpositions of ideas. Authors are free to frame and/or identify additional perspectives without losing upon the undertone of justice in their arguments.
We issue this Call for Submissions with the following assumptions – first, that the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed deep-seated biases in our democracy against vulnerable sections of our population; and second, that law remains one of the best tools to understand, respond and mitigate some of these biases. Any submission is, therefore, expected to either address or critique both assumptions. It can range from identification of the issue to forging a valid response to it.
The onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic has butted the ship of humanity against never seen before impediment. The ship may or may not survive the tide as far as ‘market’ indicators are concerned. But it does seem to have offboarded many to the future of uncertainty. It appears as if the true colours of the ‘system’ are now exposed, and it is time to be not just franker but also more rooted in our discourses about the neo-liberal world order.
After the 2003 SARS epidemic, the next big breakout was already anticipated by scientists. But as Noam Chomsky argues, preparing for a future pandemic was not ‘profitable’. The United States saw a steady defunding of public health institutes like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the results are in front of us. It even halted the funding to the World Health Organisation on the unfounded pretext of failing to respond to the pandemic and booking China for spreading the virus. In the European Union, while Germany did well for itself, no certain records are available to show if it reached out to its sistren in the Union. On the other hand, Italy (as one of the worst affected) saw doctors flying from Cuba to help the country fight against the pandemic. These paradoxes are symptomatic of the system that the global world order has put into place.
Not just the divide in economic well-being, health disparities are also stark. The New York Times reported that ‘COVID-19 can be about twice as deadly for those along their society’s lower rungs’. Poor regions where people already suffer from underlying health conditions are at the highest risk of being hit by the aftermath of COVID-19. Most of the third world nations already suffer from dilapidated public health infrastructure and yet are expected to brace up and ‘defeat’ the pandemic. India, Nigeria and Democratic Republic of Congo have emerged as worst sufferers with the highest spike in their poverty index. Among these, India witnessed an unprecedented excruciating saga of around forty million interstate migrant workers stranded in the sudden lockdown imposed by the government of the day; just when those stuck abroad were rescued and repatriated back to their home by ‘special’ flights. It was followed by the dilution of labour securities and preparation of the ground for an even more entrenched (form of) capitalism in a post-COVID world. Along with India, Brazil and Mauritius were also identified as jurisdictions that altered their labour laws at the expense of workers.
Assessing the short and long-term implications of the COVID-19 aeon might appear inscrutable; but it is an opportunity for young scholars and future lawyers to have a critical look at how the dreaded disease has laid bare the hitherto hidden layers of socio-economic arrangements weaved through crafty but (implicitly or explicitly) lopsided legal instruments.