The Malawi Human Rights Commission (MHRC) has fervently stated that government’s decision to introduce mandatory Covid-19 vaccination will have a direct impact on the citizenry’s enjoyment of human rights.
The Malawi government through the health minister Khumbidze Kandodo Chiponda, who is also co-chairperson of the Presidential Taskforce on Covid-19, announced on Tuesday that it would introduce the scheme in January, 2022.
According to Chiponda, in a statement, the scheme would very much affect public servants, Frontline workers, and those working in the social sector, including journalists.
But MHRC in a statement on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, and signed by its chairperson, Scader Louis, unreservedly talked off government’s decision saying it was against international human rights laws as regards vaccinations.
The statement said compulsory vaccination was an interference with the human right of bodily integrity, which is part of the right to private life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Ultimately, international provides a strong indication that the right not to be subjected to medical treatment is an absolute right that cannot be limited.
“This ought to set a very high bar on any attempt to mandatory forms of medical treatment – including vaccination.
“Government should consider multiple interests, that is, individual human rights and collective rights – all protected by human rights laws – and strike a fair balance between them,” reads the statement in part.
According to MHRC, any attempt to adopt mandatory Covid-19 vaccination should be the last resort after exhausting all less coercive and non-punitive means.
It said it was not convinced that all efforts had been exhausted by the State, and other actors, to educate the people on the need for and workings of the vaccines in an effort to convince the to voluntarily vaccinate.
Adds the statement: “The Government should fully satisfy the six World Health Organization (WHO) Ethics and Covid-19 Working Group preconditions (vaccine safety, efficacy, and effectiveness; necessity and proportionality; sufficient supply; public trust; and ethical processes of decision making.”
The Commission questioned, for example, whether government has the capacity to vaccinate every person who needs the vaccine when a mandate is introduced or whether government has put up the best and comprehensive public education on the Covid-19 vaccines.
“The Commission therefore finds mandatory vaccinations not only intrusive and coercive but also a violation human rights.
“This measure can only be considered if voluntary mechanisms have clearly failed, and which is not the case at the moment.
“All efforts must be made by Government and all its partners to propagate the benefits of accessing Covid-19 for the greater good of every Malawians,” reads the statement.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :