Wednesday, January 19, 2022

By Joe Barrett

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has called on the government to commit to ending the use of vaccine passports when it announces the phasing out of restrictions this week.

ICCL says it has also written to NPHET saying that the system does not conform with human rights law and calling on NPHET to recommend the ending of the system this week.
In the letter, ICCL underlines how any time a measure infringes on human rights (such as privacy, equality, or bodily autonomy) then that measure must be shown to be necessary and proportionate. It argues that the efficacy of the vaccine passport system in preventing the spread of Covid-19 has never been definitively proven.

In turn, it is impossible to argue that it is necessary or proportionate and, as such, the system fails the human rights test required by law,” ICCL said.
ICCL’s Tech and Human Rights Policy Officer Olga Cronin said: “How can we need something if we don’t know that it works? How can it be proportionate if we don’t know that it works?

People have been locked out of key areas of society since July 2021, based on a very shaky premise. Some have chosen not to take a vaccine, others cannot take it and others are fearful of it. It’s time we considered their issues with compassion rather than coercion.”
ICCL states that it is a pro-vaccine organisation, but advocates for a voluntary system of vaccination.

The social solidarity and trust inherent in a voluntary system of vaccination is put at risk by mandatory or coercive schemes,” it said.
ICCL says it is now calling on the government to support businesses to put in place measures that are proven to reduce transmission – like proper ventilation systems, high standards of hygiene, and high-grade masks for staff – in line with the government’s own work safety protocol.
ICCL says it also acknowledges the incredible contribution of NPHET, and the government, in protecting the rights to life and health during the pandemic.

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