By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has claimed the lives of so many people all over the world and continues to wreak havoc on people’s health and daily lives, not to mention the economy.
This is why the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is as much a human rights crisis as it is a public health crisis.
“We have seen its disproportionate effects on many sectors, the rise in hate speech, attacks against vulnerable groups, and the risks of heavily militarized responses that overlook the groups who are starting to be left behind,” the CHR said in its position paper on the proposed measures prohibiting discrimination against persons with COVID-19.
The position paper was signed by Chairperson Jose Luis Martin Gascon and Commissioners Karen Gomez-Dumpit, Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana, and Roberto Eugenio-Cadiz.
The CHR stressed that the government must ensure the needs of vulnerable populations in order to prevent further divide or marginalization. By respecting human rights during this particular health crisis, the CHR believes the government will be building a more effective solution for future emergencies.
“By positioning human rights at the heart of the COVID-19 response, we hit an aim that is threefold: to boost the effectiveness of the response to public health threats; to mitigate the extensive impacts of the pandemic on people’s lives; and to avoid generating new or worsen existing problems,” the paper read.
This is why the CHR is fully supporting House Bill No. 6676, which is entitled, “An Act Prohibiting Discrimination Against Persons who are Confirmed, Suspect, and Probable Cases of COVID-19 Virus, Repatriated OFWs, Health Workers, Responders, and Service Workers.” The bill was introduced by Rep. Jose Christopher “Kit” Belmonte.
With a bill that will provide legal safeguards and immediate remedy for those facing stigma and discrimination, the CHR believes that the government will indeed fulfill its duty to protect and promote human rights for all.