Within the framework of its commemoration of of International Human Rights Day:The National Human Rights Committee organized a seminar on Developing human rights mechanisms in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond in various sectors with the participation of the Ministries of Public Health and the Interior
Al-Kuwari: Developing human rights mechanisms is one of the strategic objectives of national institutions
Mona Al-Maslamani: The Coronavirus vaccine will be available to everyone free of charge within the framework of the right to health
Al-Dossary: The Ministry of Interior takes into account human rights as part of precautionary measures to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus epidemic
Doha: December 14, 2020
Within the framework of the National Human Rights Committee’s commemoration of the International Human Rights Day, which came this year under the slogan “Building back better,” the National Human Rights Committee organized a seminar on “Developing human rights mechanisms in light of the Corona pandemic and beyond in various sectors” with the participation of the ministries of public health And internal. Dr. Muhammad bin Saif Al-Kuwari, Vice President of the National Human Rights Committee, pointed out in his opening speech to the seminar that the Coronavirus pandemic has jeopardized the interests of various vital areas in state institutions in all their sectors, especially those related to the public.
Al-Kuwari stated we should call for early research to find the best ways to develop the mechanisms of national human rights institutions in light of the Coronavirus pandemic and beyond, in terms of response and administrative efficiency in considering the issues raised while improving the level of services for the public. Al-Kuwari noted that the work of national institutions is not limited to receiving complaints, but there are other functions relating to providing recommendations and advice in relation to national, regional and international legislation and conducting visits and monitoring of human rights conditions. This is in addition to its role in raising awareness and educating the society within the framework of its role in protecting human rights and preserving its dignity, implementing the values of social justice and tolerance, and promoting equality and non-discrimination, pointing out that each function of the aforementioned needs to be “rebuilt in a better way” in line with the global trend and commensurate with the burdens on the national human rights institutions. Al-Kuwari explained that the National Human Rights Committee has already applied the process of benefiting from electronic systems since the announcement of the Coronavirus pandemic as a global epidemic and relying on social distancing as a means to limit the spread of the epidemic among members of society. He said: These methods have proven their effectiveness and have saved a lot of time and effort in light of reducing the human labor force and applying home quarantine for 80% of the workforce.
Dr. Mona Al-Maslamani, Medical Director of Hamad Medical Corporation’s (HMC) Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) presented a working paper on “The necessity to adhere to precautionary measures in case of health emergencies to promote the right to health.” Al-Maslamani said there are two ethical factors that are related to human health rights and must not be overlooked in any health strategy , namely the right to educate society about the risk this virus and the right to access information about the developments of the pandemic. Al-Maslamani discussed the experience of the State of Qatar to confront the virus and the challenges that faced the health sector in this respect, and addressed the process of ensuring that quarantine is subject to human rights standards, pointing out International human rights law, notably the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), requires that restrictions on rights for reasons of public health or national emergency be lawful, necessary, and proportionate. Restrictions such as mandatory quarantine or isolation of symptomatic people must, at a minimum, be carried out in accordance with the law. They must be strictly necessary to achieve a legitimate objective, based on scientific evidence, proportionate to achieve that objective, neither arbitrary nor discriminatory in application, of limited duration, respectful of human dignity, and subject to review. As for the category of workers, Al-Maslamani pointed out that The state has allocated places for quarantine under the full medical supervision of the Hamad Medical Corporation in cooperation with the Ministry of Municipality And the environment, the Public Works Authority and the Ministry of Interior.
For his part, Colonel Saad Salem Saad Al-Dossary, Assistant Director of the Human Rights Department at the Ministry of Interior, presented a working paper entitled “The Role of Law Enforcement Officials in Follow-up of precautionary Measures and Respecting Human Rights,” in which he reviewed law enforcement responsibilities while preserving the right to public health in addition to Efforts made by the Ministry of Interior in preventing the spread of the Coronavirus pandemic. Al-Dossary said: This pandemic has posed a real challenge for states, governments, organizations and civil society institutions, pointing out that this epidemic has caused great harm to human rights, foremost among which are the rights to life, work, movement and peaceful assembly. This is due to the measures required to impose control and restrictions within the framework of quarantine, social distancing and other measures, which made organizations and human rights institutions call for the protection and promotion of human rights in the context of combating the Corona pandemic. Al-Dossary added that the Ministry of Interior took into account human rights within the framework of precautionary measures, affirming at the time that the restrictions imposed were to the extent that it served the public order, including the elements of public security, public health, public tranquility and public morals. In the same context, Mr. Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Sulaiti, Legal Affairs Department of the National Human Rights Committee presented a working paper on “Harnessing the Electronic means to Develop Human Rights Mechanisms”.