By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
Even as the country continues its fight against the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is saddened to note that there are still acts of discrimination being committed against individuals who are associated with the disease.
CHR Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said that they condemn all acts of discrimination committed against these individuals, which include the medical front liners, persons suspected of being infected, and those found to be COVID-19 positive.
“As the country continues to battle the spread of this highly contagious disease, it becomes apparent that there are people who cause additional suffering for those associated with the disease,” lamented Gomez-Dumpit.
Reports continue to pour into the CHR that people diagnosed with the disease are subjected to stigma and discrimination. They are refused health care, education, employment and shelter. Some are even subjected to physical violence.
“These acts produce negative influence on health behaviors and have a range of physical and mental health consequences for the stigmatized groups and communities around them,” she said.
Because of this stigma and discrimination, the CHR is afraid that people will be hesitant to come forward and seek medical attention should they come into contact with COVID-19. Gomez-Dumpit said this will be counterproductive in the government’s efforts of flattening the curve.
“We should all speak out against the negative behaviors or statements about groups of people, or exclusion of people who pose no risk or harm,” said Gomez-Dumpit. “Finally, we should be able to continue to respect the rights and dignity of everyone, regardless of their physical, mental, or social condition.”