By Shola Akingboye – 24 March, 2020
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued interim guidelines to its state offices nationwide as the World faces health emergency in the wake of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic.
In a statement issued by the Commission, the government agency has come to term with the World Health Organization (WHO) as it declares COVID-19 a global pandemic, which requires new strategies and culture of ethics and hygiene that are reasonably fair. This, the Commission believes should be broadly agreed and understood by every staff of the Commission.
According to the release signed by the Executive Secretary, Mr. Tony Ojukwu, Esq, the Director, Human Resource Management (DHRM) has already issued an internal circular in this regard as measures necessary to protect staff and victims of human rights violations that come into contact with the commission’s staff throughout the Federation.
It reads: “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.
“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, please”.