NHRC makes recommendations on COVID-19 response
Graphic: COV-19 graphic and statement in Thai language
The Commission has developed recommendations to support the monitoring, prevention and control of COVID-19, including remedial measures.
According to an epidemic of COVID-19 which is announced by the World Health Organization (WHO) as an international public health emergency, the government by the Ministry of Public Health announced on 26 February 2020 that COVID-19 is considered as a dangerous communicable disease in Thailand in compliance with the Communicable Diseases Act of 2015.
The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) has its concerns regarding the situation of the disease outbreak which affects rights to good health of the people affirmed by the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) to which Thailand is a party.
In this connection, the NHRCT wishes to express its appreciation as well as heartening all parties, especially medical and public health personnel fully dedicating their strong capacities to a preventive campaign and disease outbreak suppression. Despite our NHRCT's concerns, the NHRCT has its recommendations to all parties for the benefit of surveillance, prevention and control of the communicable disease including remedial measures as follows:
- The government should set up a national emergency organization with its full power of operation in prevention and control of the COVID-19 outbreak as well as not allowing government agencies to proceed on their own which may disseminate confusing information to the public.
- Regarding the above-mentioned No.1, the government should clearly reveal the situation of the epidemic and introduce measures for surveillance, prevention and suppression of the disease outbreak in a precise and coherent manner with full legal enforcement power to strengthen public confidence. The mechanism also should prepare a response plan in case of pandemic where proper and rapid information is being able to communicate to the peoples and those with physical limitations. Misinformation and disinformation must be timely corrected to prevent a social panic.
- Regarding the shortage of essential personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a surgical mask, alcohol and alcohol-base hand sanitizers, the government should urgently resolve this issue as well as providing adequate supply of essential protective equipment to all parties as necessity and urgency, especially medical and public health personnel, patients, and those who are presumed to COVID-19 high infected risk. Meanwhile, the public general should be able to easily access to masks, alcohol and hand sanitizers at fair price. In this regard, the government should use information technologies to help distribute limited resources efficiently, thoroughly and fairly in accordance with the principle of good governance.
- The government may consider exercising legal decisive measures for the benefit of the public on a long-term basis. Although the measures are applicable, the government should take into account of their necessity and proportionality in accordance with risks being evaluated. The government should provide compensative and remedial measures in a timely manner as appropriate as possible in case of any adverse impacts to the people.
- The government should provide special measures targeting low income earners, people living in rural and remote areas, the disabilities, the elderly and the prisoners to ensure that they are able to access to necessary health protection equipment, health care, surveillance in a timely manner.
- People should carefully consider the received information in order not to forward misinformation to the general public causing panic and misunderstanding. In addition, people and media should avoid using words or contents to create hatred, discrimination and social stigma regarding the disease outbreak in order that all parties should have an effective collaboration in prevention and control of the disease outbreak.
The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) wishes to encourage all sectors to provide collaboration on the basis of empathy, compliance with the law and respects for dignity of each other in order to enable Thailand to overcome this difficult time of crisis.
Date: 10 March 2020
Source: National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
- COV-19 graphic and statement in Thai language - National Human Rights Commission of Thailand