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.”