Tell it to SunStar: Respect rights during quarantine

WE CALL on the government to uphold and respect people’s rights amid the imposition of the Luzon-wide enhanced community quarantine against the 2019 coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic. Stringent measures currently being imposed make poor communities of workers, the homeless, the urban and rural poor vulnerable to arrests and detention as well as other rights abuses and violations.

While we understand the public health emergency to be very serious and stringent measures need to be implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19, we remind the government that protecting the right to life and security should not infringe on other basic human rights and civil liberties. Fundamental rights should be at the crux of all responses to Covid-19. The government should prioritize the people’s right to health and veer away from a fascist approach in addressing this public health crisis.

We urge the government to refrain from making fascist pronouncements that will only goad State authorities to arrest and detain vulnerable sectors like the urban poor and homeless, workers who are forced to earn for daily living, while awaiting government response to provide their basic needs like food and other essential supplies in their respective villages. A militaristic and anti-poor response that does not address the social and economic impacts of this enhanced community quarantine will only worsen the crisis we are currently facing. (Karapatan Rights Group)