On March 1, GSL Research Fellow Roojin Habibi published a co-authored op-ed in the Health and Human Rights Journal, urging governments and public health professionals to make human rights a focal point when crafting responses to the growing Covid-19 outbreak.
Habibi and co-author Alicia Ely Yamin present four key human rights principles that decision-makers should keep in mind when coming up with policies surrounding the coronavirus epidemic.
“The International Health Regulations, explicitly aim to reduce the spread of disease while minimizing disruptions to travel and trade and respecting the dignity, human rights, and fundamental freedoms of persons during public health crises.”
Measures that are implemented to safeguard the public in times of crisis have to be necessary, proportionate, and reasonably related to legitimate public ends.
“Even when measures may seem neutral on their face, public health—especially when controlling infectious diseases—tends to follow an inexorably utilitarian logic, which can often lead to inadvertent discrimination.” This inadvertent discrimination can be on the basis of gender, race, caste, class, disability, ethnicity, and other axes of identity.
“Within a health care system, if people are excluded based on resources, employment and/or immigration status, and the like, the impacts of an outbreak are exponentially greater on those excluded populations—with respect to access to information, as well as to diagnostic testing and treatment.”
Read the full article here.