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COVID-19: Don’t Insist On Rights, Obey Emergency Directives Now, Human Rights Commission Task Nigerians

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The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged all not to insist on attainment of all rights as emergency situations such as the current COVID-19 pandemic, required everyone to give up some rights for the common good of all and protection of lives.

The NHRC Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu, made the appeal while issuing interim guidelines to its offices on COVID-19 pandemic which is ravaging the globe with thousands of people already infected and dead.

He noted that the World is facing a health emergency as the World Health Organization (WHO) had declared COVID-19 a global pandemic which required new strategies, culture of ethics and hygiene that are reasonably fair and should be broadly agreed and understood by every staff of the Commission.

Ojukwu said these measures were necessary to protect its staff and victims of human rights violations that come into contact with the staff throughout the Federation.

According to the Executive Secretary, “In this emergency situation, we have to show respect for rights, kindness, humanity, courage, selflessness and commitment to common good. There are obvious clash of rights during emergencies. They are not just about rights but also human duties and responsibilities.

“We have to give up some of our rights to freedom of movement, worship, association, family life, livelihoods and economic entitlements in order to protect ourselves and others.

“Many will also suffer from measures designed to protect others that are more vulnerable than themselves.

“Health workers and volunteers would be under massive physical and emotional stress due to great expectations from the anxious general public. Older people, unsalaried labourers, destitutes and displaced persons may also face more deprivation and more challenges in coping with the situation.

“More than ever before, our resilience in protection of basic healthcare rights will be challenged beyond limits.

“We should therefore avert our minds to the ways and means of mitigating the worst effects of the rights that would be curtailed during emergencies of this nature.”

Further, he charged the staff to be alive to their responsibilities, saying “We as one of the first responders must be conscious of the safety measures and equipment, show acts of kindness and courage particularly in changing our behavior, accepting reasonable sacrifices and developing good spirit to boost the morale of the people around us.

“Accordingly, you are to comply with the earlier directives of both the Commission and the Federal Government on precautionary measures on COVID-19 and sensitize staff and complainants on the health implications as well as provide the basic sanitation materials as provided and directed.”

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