Constitutional Law, the Global South and COVID-19: Comparing Colombia, South Africa and India

The South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (a centre of the University of Johannesburg) and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung would like to remind you of our invitation to join an online panel discussion titled ‘Constitutional Law, the Global South and COVID-19: Comparing Colombia, South Africa and India’.


Constitutional Law, the Global South and COVID-19
Constitutional Law, the Global South and COVID-19

The advent of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic has undoubtedly shaken the governance of states worldwide. Many countries have responded by taking extraordinary measures such as national lockdowns in order to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus.  The implementation of these measures often suspend ordinary structures of governance and result in the serious intrusion on and limitation of the fundamental rights of persons.


These effects are global but the response of constitutional democracies in the Global South – such as Colombia, South Africa and India -  raises a range of interesting questions relating to the specific circumstances of these societies. These include high levels of absolute poverty,  socio-economic inequality and limited capacity within the state as well as continuing efforts to entrench a democratic culture. This panel will focus on a range of issues that are raised by the responses in these societies:  

•           Under which constitutional structures have lockdowns been declared in these democracies and what checks and balances are in place to ensure power is not abused?

•           Did governments adopt the least restrictive measures on fundamental rights when imposing social distancing requirements?

•           Have there been constitutional challenges to these measures? Were they successful?

•           Did socio-economic rights assist in the time of lockdown and did the governments comply with their obligations to realise these rights?

•           Were there significant exclusions in the economic measures adopted to advance the realization of socio-economic rights?

•           Given that Global South democracies remain fragile, did authoritarian tendencies display themselves or was there an entrenchment of a culture of constitutionalism?


It is particularly illuminating to consider how constitutional democracies of the Global South have fared in relation to one another. That helps us to abstract from the particular context, to detect trends and, also to consider whether there are common lessons that can be learnt for constitutional democracy in Global South societies. The panel will provide an overview of the situation in their countries and responses to the above questions (and others) before seeking to draw out commonalities and differences between their contexts and explore the trends, opportunities and challenges that COVID-19 suggests for constitutional democracies of the Global South.


The Panel

The star-studded panel will include:

•           Prof. Manuel Cepeda (Professor, Universidad de Los Andes and former President of the Colombian Constitutional Court);

•           Prof. Sandra Liebenberg  (Distinguished Professor of Law, University of Stellenbosch and member of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights);

•           Prof Amita Dhanda (Professor of Law and Head of the Centre of Disability Studies, NALSAR University of Law).


The details are of the online panel discussion is as follows:

Date:              9 June 2020

Time:             15h00 – 16h30 (South African time – GMT plus 2)

Venue:           Zoom Meeting

RSVP: Please RSVP to in order to receive the link to the seminar and to join on Zoom.

Hier finden Sie das Programm zum Download: Saifac Online Forum- Constitutional Law, the Global South and COVID-19

Zum Kalender hinzufügen