The Corona virus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak infection has lasted for three years since it was first detected at Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China in December 2019. Referring to the World Health Organization report, the number of positive covid-19 cases worldwide reached 460,280,168 people and the dyed reached 6,050,018 people. Meanwhile in Indonesia, based on data from the Covid-19 Response and National Economic Recovery Committee (2022), the number of people who were confirmed positive covid-19 was 5,927,550 people and 152,975 people were died. This number shows that covid-19 infection is a very serious problem for all countries in the world.

As a pandemic, COVID-19 has affected and posed a threat not only to the health aspect, but furthermore it also has an impact on various fundamental aspects such as social, economic, legal, defense and security, and so on, both at local, national and global. Countermeasures have been taken and the elimination strategy has become one of the most effective methods, as has been done by New Zealand, Hongkong, South Korea, Singapore, and Taiwan (Baker et al., 2020). Meanwhile in Indonesia, the implementation of large-scale social restriction—in practice, showing inconsistencies in the application and terminology—is carried out to encourage people to practice physical distancing, limitation of movements, and reduce activities in public spaces.

From the aspect of fulfilling human rights, the above policies also influence how citizens use their right to move. The fulfillment of economic rights has also been disrupted because the economic activities carried out have been limited. In more general case, guarantees for citizens human rights show the vulnerability of the system during a pandemic, for example in the fields of welfare, health, public services, finance, resilient ecology, decent living and employment, to guarantees for inclusive governance (Leach et al., 2021).

Covid-19 also makes democracy imperfectly organized (IDEA, 2021). In the name of the need for emergency action through rapid response, community involvement is often neglected in the formation of policies to deal with this emergency condition. The decisions made are relatively centralized and public spaces are increasingly closed, even though the consequences of these decisions affect every aspect of the life of the wider community. Not infrequently the decision is not in line with the actual needs of the society. The common trend, freedom of expression was the aspect of democracy most at risk prior to the outbreak of the pandemic (IDEA, 2021), the potential of authoritarianism increases (Leach et al., 2021), the election postponement issue being public attention and information for public being limited.

The threats and challenges of Covid-19 to social group equality are also important to highlight, both in the pre-formulation, formation process, or policy implementation during the pandemic. In fact, as women and other vulnerable groups—such as children, migrants, disabled people, and ethnic, sexual and religious minorities—have faced discrimination in the enforcement of Covid-19 regulations and access to justice across the world (IDEA, 2021). In addition, the unequal distribution of benefits and burdens in society due to technology and knowledge gaps, supply chain disruption, and disproportionate rural and urban-demographic disparities of disadvantaged and vulnerable groups from the virus and its effects, require an examination of how pandemic play a role, complicates, and intensifies the problem of social injustice (McNeely and Schintler, 2020).

In addition to presenting the challenges above, the pandemic also provides shared lessons and opportunities for legal developments. Although it has been felt before, at this time, the convergence between the fields of law and technology is growing rapidly. Several states, however, opted to proceed with elections and its related activities through the utilization of digital technology as a mitigation measure. For example, in Canada, candidates resort to campaigning through social media, such as Instagram and TikTok, to rally votes. In Bulgaria, Cyprus, and Armenia, for example, elections have been held through digital platforms. The justice system start to adopt e-court model and there’s also transformation on other fields. Likewise, the scientific progress that uses interdisciplinary studies on legal issues has also increased in order to find the right solution.

However, the pandemic is not such a short-term condition, it’s a condition where we need to live with it so we have to normalize the pandemic condition. Normalization allows us to focus “the work that actors do as they engage with some ensemble of activities and by which means it becomes routinely embedded in the matrices of already existing, socially patterned, knowledge and practices”. Normalization in this case means people need to transform from pandemic stage to post-pandemic stage of life. In order to meet this post-pandemic era, there needs to be a rethink and in-depth on the paradigm of legal development that covers three stages of time: past, present, and future. Another important issue that needs to be answered is the evaluation of what can be done on the policies and actions that have been implemented; what is the right approach in developing regulations during a pandemic, so that it does not hinder democracy, human rights, and social justice; what changes need to be made to the current underlying legal framework in the post-pandemic period; and what needs to be improved to address future challenges, threats and opportunities.

On that basis, the Master of Law Study Program, Faculty of Law, Universitas Gadjah Mada will hold the Second International Conference of Postgraduate Students with the theme “Legal Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Human Right, Democracy, and Social Justice in the Post-pandemic Era“. This International conference held for a more comprehensive pandemic response by involving components of the academic world globally to respond, criticize, and offer solution steps and reformulate our understanding of the pandemic. This activity is intended to encourage students, practitioners, and experts to unite their thoughts in responding to these changes, especially in the field of legal studies. For law students in particular, participation in international conferences will contribute to sharpening critical thinking skills and increasing analytical skills through formal discussions and academic writing.



Legal Challenges and Opportunities in the Field of Human Right, Democracy, and Social Justice in the Post-pandemic Era

Sub Theme

  • Covid-19, Digitalization, and Democracy
  • International Diplomacy on Health Public Services 
  • Contemporary Issues on Women’s Rights
  • Vulnerable and Minority Groups Rights and Access to Social Justice
  • Environmental Law in time of Covid-19 Crisis
  • Rethinking and Reforming Criminal Justice System
  • Contemporary Issues on Labour Law 
  • Emergency Constitutional Law in Relation to Civil and Political Rights 
  • General Development of International Law
  • Law, Investment and Economic Development 
  • Shariah Incorporated in Islamic Family and Economic Law