Upholding Human Rights in a Pandemic: the Social Impact of COVID-19 Measures on Vulnerable Families in Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten

About the Project


The COVID-19 pandemic has strained the economies, health-care systems, social structures and living standards on the islands Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten. Using a human rights-based approach this multidisciplinary study will focus on the social impact of the COVID -19 pandemic and the State responses towards protecting vulnerable families.  We apply a multi-sited, mixed-methods approach to understand the diverse reasons that contribute to increase in vulnerability and measures that can be taken to build social resilience among families and communities. This study will also evaluate the performance of COVID-19 measures and make recommendations for future outbreaks and epidemics.



Curaçao Biomedical Health and Research Institute (CBHRI)


University of Aruba (UA)


University of Curaçao (UoC)


University of St. Maarten (USM)


Utrecht University (UU)



  1. Assess the impact of COVID-19 pandemic and State measurements.
  2. Identify the various ways in which vulnerable families are resilient.
  3. Reconsider and improve state responses to strengthen resilience.



General Definition: Low income households are households with an income <3500ANG, a size > 3 persons without access to welfare (Red Cross).

Women and Older Adults: Tend to be more affected by COVID-19 pandemic and State measures.

Migrants / Undocumented: Are extra vulnerable as they lack certain rights and provisions.



Qualitative research techniques to provide insight into the problem and the opinions, experiences and perceptions of the target group.

  • Desk Research: Inventory and analysis of policy reports, legal  documents and news reports.
  • In-Depth Interviews: With 30 vulnerable families per island, 15 Red  Cross volunteers and other stakeholders.
  • Focus Group Discussions: With policy makers and stakeholders to validate the  research outcome.

An exploratory quantitative research design will be applied, using a cyclical approach and grounded theory principles for the analysis, to investigate the perception of COVID- 19 measures and the impact of these measures on the human rights situation, resilience and quality of life of vulnerable families in Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten.