HURIDAC LAUNCHES REPORT ON THE HUMAN RIGHTS PERSPECTIVE OF COVID-19 PANDEMIC IN WEST AFRICA

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This was contained in a statement signed by Ayodele Ameen who is the Executive Director, HURIDAC.

Cognisant of grave human rights violations that have emanated and may continue to take place due to the global COVID-19 pandemic crisis which at the point of drafting this report on the 3 May, 2020 already killed over 247,633 people globally and infected 3,555,618. HURIDAC, today 5 May, 2020 launches a report whose main focus is to assess governments responses in managing this crisis, which in most cases saw an encroachment on the human rights space of individuals and communities.

Given the context within which data was collected and the limited access to data on human rights violation during the Covid-19 pandemic period, HURIDAC recommends a proper human rights investigation and assessment of COVID-19 after the pandemic. HURIDAC believes that a human rights examination of the coronavirus pandemic is crucial to developing models for protecting human rights of citizens during and after the covid-19 pandemic.

The report contains detailed analysis of the Human Rights framework within the context of management of COVID-19 pandemic through the medium of emergency powers and rights limitations; Government obligations under international human rights laws.

Though the report clearly states that permissible grounds for curtailment of human rights must not include non-derogable rights; it however delves into Human Rights and Security under the COVID-19 pandemic, raising question on absolutism of Human Right by looking at permissible grounds.

The report highlights some of the human rights related cases in enforcing compliance with government directive and in the management of the pandemic. While the report has its limitations in sourcing and verifying reported cases, it also analyses data to suggests country’s survival ratio and chances of surviving coronavirus in the countries under review. Using extensive data analysis, the report highlights causal and correlative links between the available and verifiable data on confirmed cases and deaths; and success indicators.

The environmental impact of COVID-19 pandemic, environmental warnings prior to the pandemic that were ignored including biodiversity/wildlife protection were looked and hypothesis proffered to prevent re-occurrence and to use conservation as panacea to kick start the economy after the defeat of COVID-19.

The report also examines the COVID-19 pandemic crisis management strategy and further suggests that crisis management should be anchored on three strands which are: Effective Government Management of COVID-19, Quality of Public Health System as well as Citizen Compliance and Co-operation.

The HURIDAC report calls specifically on West African:

Citizens to comply and cooperate with their Governments as they enforce preventive measures against the Coronavirus; to adapt to the new lifestyle brought about by the virus and to avoid spreading fake news as this can kill faster than the Coronavirus itself.

Governments to ensure compliance with treaty obligations including notification to treaty bodies establish and operate emergency response units with particular consideration on the safety and protection of frontline health workers and human rights challenges; to commit resources in addressing and combating poverty, job and social security.

Human Rights Institutions/Commissions to strengthen human rights education and awareness components of the institutions; establish special units to monitor disaster, epidemics and State of Emergency (SOEs).

Civil Society to monitor the human rights obligations of the states during this period and to highlight activities of Government enforcement agencies particularly in West Africa.

HURIDAC also makes detailed recommendations to ECOWAS and the African Commission which include the commissioning of a proper human rights investigation and assessment of COVID-19 after the pandemic; encourage a regional strategy in management of COVID 19, leveraging on peer

 learning and co-operation; strengthen the regions medical and economic response mechanisms through WAHO in order to reduce response time.

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