The Commission on Human Rights calls on local officials to avoid creating policies that stigmatize Covid patients or those who test positive for COVID-19. Instead, the need to build trust in reliable health services, showing compassion, humanitarian assistance, and the adoption of practical measures to keep them safe work better.
MANILA — Local officials are reminded by the Commission on Human Rights to be mindful of the policies they adopt in their communities during the pandemic as they could stigmatize persons who have tested positive for COVID-19.
A report from Ozamiz City says that at least a hundred houses were marked with ‘Caution’ tapes by local officials because there had been COVID-19 infections in the households. Some others were marked because they were identified close contacts of those who tested positive for COVID-19.
These scenarios prompted CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia to issue such reminder to avoid compromising individual human rights.
“Public health policies on containing the spread of coronavirus in any locality in the Philippines must never compromise the human rights of individuals,” says De Guia.
“Overt labeling of individuals or groups of people affected by the disease exposes them to possible discriminatory treatment and other negative associations,” she points out.
De Guia urges local officials to be mindful of the social stigmatization that may result from such practice.
“Instead of instilling stigma and fear around the communicable disease, what works best is building trust in reliable health services, showing compassion and providing humanitarian assistance to those affected and adopting practical measures to keep themselves and loved ones safe,” she says.
“Open, honest and effective communication of concrete steps in combating the pandemic is a crucial step in creating a safe environment to dialogue about the COVID-19 situation and to enlist the cooperation of people to actively report cases while contributing to the containment of the virus,” she furthers. (LO/The MiNT)
Features image: World Health Organization (WHO) against discrimination on Covid patients, contact. /Poster by WHO