Promoting peace in the pandemic

In partnership with its global Citizenship partner PeaceTech Lab, Hogan Lovells has taken an innovative approach to combat violence during the COVID-19 pandemic. Driven by research and the use of technology, the firm has supported PeaceTech Lab to launch the COVID-19 Violence Tracker, a new resource for policymakers, activists, and crisis response professionals to track and better respond to violence resulting from the current pandemic.

Over 120 lawyers from Hogan Lovells offices around the world have so far participated in the project, which aims to catalogue and highlight incidents and assist the vulnerable around the world. Incidents logged on the tracker include threats and physical harm, excessive force by police, governments and vigilantes, domestic abuse, xenophobia and the confiscation or abuse of essential resources as the virus spread worldwide.

Early findings indicate that countries with low infection rates of COVID-19 had a rise in deaths related to police brutality rather than the disease itself. In addition, the xenophobia, race-based attacks and abuse on Asian communities were increasingly perpetuated not only by individuals, but also by institutions, governments, businesses and the media.

Amy Roma, partner at Hogan Lovells, said: “The findings from this research have been very informative. It is disturbing that COVID-19 is being used as an excuse to discriminate against racial and ethnic minorities, prompt hate speech and expose racial injustices, but with clear data in hand showing these trends connected to the pandemic, it’s easier to work with organizations to prevent the violence from continuing and to promote peace.”

PeaceTech Lab CEO Sheldon Himelfarb added: “What we’re learning from tracking the relationship between the virus and the violence is a real wake up call for policymakers and local leaders alike, who need to commit additional essential resources to address the political, social, and economic fallout from the disease. Just as we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus, we must all play a part in bringing peace to our communities.”

Pinsent Masons advises on New South Wales bushfire relief project

Multinational professional services firm Pinsent Masons is advising Laing O’Rourke on the first phase of recovery clean-up works following recent bushfires across New South Wales (NSW).

The NSW Government has selected Laing O’Rourke Australia as the lead contractor to undertake the clean-up of residential and commercial properties destroyed by the recent bushfires across the state. The construction and engineering specialist is currently engaging with the community regarding plans to deliver the project as promptly as possible.

The contract was announced in conjunction with an agreement reached by the federal and state governments to split the costs of the NSW clean-up, which are expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.

Pinsent Masons advised Laing O’Rourke on the contract arrangements with the NSW Government. The Pinsent Masons team was led by partner Anthony Arrow and special counsel Katie Joukadjian.

Anthony Arrow says: “We are proud to have supported Laing O’Rourke with what is a vitally important project for the people of NSW impacted by the devastating bushfires. Given the crucial nature of the work, these arrangements were concluded at a rapid pace. Our team worked collaboratively with the State of New South Wales to agree contractual terms in record-breaking time, consistent with the urgency of providing this much needed support to impacted property owners as soon as possible.”

Pinsent Masons is also supporting Save the Children Australia via a donation to its response to the bushfires, and encouraging colleagues to seek out opportunities to help with relief and recovery efforts, either through hands-on voluntary activities or pro bono work.