The University of Aruba is organizing the seminar "Maintaining Human Rights during a Pandemic."

ORANJESTAD - On November 21, 2023, the University of Aruba will hold the seminar "Maintaining Human Rights during a Pandemic," where the results of the COVIDCAS research on the social impact of Covid-19 in the Dutch Caribbean societies will be presented.

In March 2021, the University of Aruba, in collaboration with the Institute of Biomedical Research and Health of Curaçao and the universities of Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and Utrecht, initiated a research project to study the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the quality of life and human rights of vulnerable families in Aruba, Curaçao, and St. Maarten.

Covid-19 was one of the most catastrophic health crises in recent times. The virus not only affected the global economy, healthcare systems, and social structures but also those of Aruba.

Seminar Upholding Human Right in a pandemicDuring this multidisciplinary research project, the social impact of the pandemic on vulnerable families with lower incomes in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten was studied, with attention given to women, the elderly, and undocumented immigrants.

They used a human rights-based approach to study the effects of agreements between the Netherlands and the CAS islands on human rights within the Dutch Kingdom. Additionally, they examined the vulnerability of families and the resources they used to build social resilience.

In Aruba, they interviewed 27 participants, and six of them were with local organizations HIAS and Red Cross Aruba, They organized two focus groups with the government and civil society. They also created three short videos to capture and understand the experiences of a community worker, a healthcare provider and a pofessor.

Finally, they conducted a literature review on the reactions of countries and the effects of these reactions on the norms and legal protection of human rights.

The seminar will take place on Tuesday, November 21, 2023, from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm in the Auditorium of the University of Aruba, where they will present the research results and give recommendations to the government and local organizations to respond to future crises. Attendees can react to these recommendations and contribute with their thoughts and input. Admission is free.

This project is funded by "the Dutch ZonMW." The study team members include:

  • Prof. Ashley Duits, PhD (CBHRI);
  • Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth, MD (CBHRI);
  • Dr. Mieke de Droog, PhD (University of Aruba);
  • Benedicta Dr. Deogratias, LL.M, PhD (University of Aruba);
  • Prof. Ajay Bailey PhD (University of Utrecht);
  • Prof. Antonio Carmona Báez PhD, USM (University of Sint-Maarten);
  • Dr. Raymond Jessurun, PhD (University of Sint-Maarten);
  • Dr. Lisbeth Echteld, PhD (University of Curaçao).


  • Dr. Merel F.H. Griffith-Lendering, PhD (CBHRI);
  • Elly Hellings, MSc (CBHRI).

Study Team: Research Team Aruba

  • Mr. Dr. Benedicta Deogratias, Project Coordinator;
  • Dr. Mieke de Droog, Project Coordinator;
  • Dr. Luc Alofs, Project Advisor;
  • Nurianne Arias-Helder, Interviewer;
  • Thais Franken, Interviewer;
  • Yanelis Botman, Interviewer.
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