4 December, 2020

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Human Rights Commission Of Sri Lanka Issues Guidelines On Regularising Quarantine Processes

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka (HRCSL) has issued guidelines on regularising quarantine processes.

“The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka commends all the efforts being made to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Commission continues to recognise the need to restrict freedom of movement and liberty of people in the interests of public health and public order during an extraordinary health emergency such as that facing the country at present. The Commission has observed that a large number of persons have been subject to quarantine processes in view of the resurgence of the fear of spread of COVID-19 pandemic and has received a variety of complaints and expressions of concerns relating to the process. Hence, the Commission issued guidelines to the Ministry of Health and the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak on regularising quarantine processes in the country,” the HRCSL said today.

We publish below the letter sent to the Health Minister and the Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 Outbreak by the HRCSL in full:

Hon. Pavithra Wanniarachchi,
Minister of Health

AND

Lieutenant General Shavendra de Silva,
Head of the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID 19 Outbreak

HRCSL Guidelines on Regularising Quarantine Processes – November 2020

The Human Rights Commission of Sri Lanka commends all the efforts being made to curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country. The Commission continues to recognise the need to restrict freedom of movement and liberty of people in the interests of public health and public order during an extraordinary health emergency such as that facing the country at present. The Commission has observed that a large number of persons have been subject to quarantine processes in view of the resurgence of the fear of spread of COVID-19 pandemic and has received a variety of complaints and expressions of concerns relating to the process.

In this regard, the Commission welcomes confirmation that first contacts of the COVID-19 infected patients who were earlier sent to quarantine centres, will now be home quarantined. We are in agreement that quarantining persons to their home will be the best option.

Since it is incumbent on the Commission under Act No. 21 of 1996 to examine whether restrictions on liberty are compatible with our Constitution and international human rights obligations, having given due consideration to the concernsised by the general public, the Commission presents the following guidelines:

The Commission is of the view that the quarantine process can be regularized under the law by:

(i) Transparency in delegation of powers by the “Proper Authority”;

(ii) Vest powers of testing on designated qualified personnel;

(iii) List the places designated as quarantine centres and the designating authority.

(iv) Clarify the period of required quarantining.

(v) Create a receipt system for quarantined persons including the reason for quarantine, the place they are being taken to and the length of isolation;

(vi) External scrutiny of quarantine centres, especially by the “proper authority”;

(vii) Prohibit those handling quarantine from informing the media of the proposed quarantining efforts, exposing those being quarantined to public gaze as though they were offenders rather than unfortunate victims of a virulent virus.

The Commission is also of the view the hardships imposed by the quarantining process can be ameliorated by:

(i) Ensuring quarantined period is considered paid/ duty leave;

(ii) Ensuring financial or any other assistance to families of those in quarantine;

(iii) The Grama Niladhari be immediately informed when a person is quarantined;

(iv) In the circumstances where the vulnerable dependents in the families are left behind due to quarantine process, the Grama Niladhari to ensure provision of all necessary support to vulnerable persons including alerting the proper authorities.

The Commission wishes to emphasize that nothing in these recommendations should be construed by any member of the public to act contrary to health guidelines issued by the public health authorities in regard to the COVID-19 pandemic or act in a manner that would be harmful to public health in general. The Commission also reiterates that placing the persons of first contact with COVID-19 patients under home quarantine will remove most of the concerns listed above but is issuing these recommendations in the event the government wishes to establish quarantine processes again in the future.

Ramani Muttettuwegama
Commissioner
Human Rights Commissions of Sri Lanka

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Latest comments

  • 8
    1

    Bravooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!.
    .
    Dr Wickramanayaka genuine efforts seem to be working.

    Dont let millitary men of Gotabaya to destroy the ministries in this country. Gotabaya is an abcdician of srilanken politics. He has not the least knowledge to rule this country. That is why his so called image is being not on its U turn move. We are very patient and study the developments towards their untergang-demise.

    • 4
      1

      Wow, is this the best that the Dead Left and lineage can do?!!
      Lanka is truly doomed with listening to this groveling non-sense!

  • 4
    0

    For having sickness some patient cannot bear the rental transport the destination may require time cost and travel by threewheeler or by bus by that time most are faced with acquring or can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. as cremation is done due to possible for spread of virus now how has it spread. a health care assistance is required, prolonged use of medical masks how clean is it. Do not re-use a disposable mask and always change it as soon as it gets damp.
    Changing every 4 hours ia a cost, Isolation is survival, Provide fund for such

  • 6
    2

    How pathetic the HRC has become, licking the toes of the powers that be! No critical thinking here!
    Italian political Philopsopher, Geogio Agambem wrote on Health Terror and the “State of Exception:
    Health Terror and the State of Exception
    I read in a book published seven years ago, now worth rereading carefully (Tempêtes microbiennes, Gallimard 2013), Patrick Zylberman described the process by which health security, hitherto on the margins of political calculations, was becoming an essential part of state and international political strategies. At issue is nothing less than the creation of a sort of “health terror” as an instrument for governing what are called “worst case scenarios.” It is according to this logic of the worst that already in 2005 the World Health Organization announced “2 to 150 million deaths from bird flu approaching,” suggesting a political strategy that states were not yet ready to accept at the time. Zylberman shows that the apparatus being suggested was articulated in three points: 1) the construction, on the basis of a possible risk, of a fictitious scenario in which data are presented in such a way as to promote behaviors that allow for governing an extreme situation; 2) the adoption of the logic of the worst as a regime of political rationality;

  • 3
    5

    Human Rights Commission

    I don’t understand as to why your commission is unpatriotically undermining the armed forces, the Ranavirus, Commander of the armed forces, Shavendra, Kamal, 15,000 Generals, ……..

  • 0
    0

    Any layperson could have come up with these guidelines issued by the HRCSL; in other words, it’s lacking any guidance on unequivocal minimum parameters that must be followed on basis of HR fundamentals.

    It’s a weak stance to just throw in a top level reference like “… it is incumbent on the Commission under Act No. 21 of 1996 to examine whether restrictions on liberty are compatible with our Constitution and international human rights obligations…” without emphasizing items related to specific infractions as reported to the HRCSL by the public.

    The treatment of the Brandix employees by the military was reported to be demeaning and likened to the culturally accepted treatment of criminals. International HR laws require humane treatment of even criminals and crime suspects.

    HRSCL missed the mark. Is it diplomacy or fear of Prez Gotabaya and his military crony in charge of the Covid-19 measures!?

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