HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – Mother Earth is crying without tears, the world reacts divided, Human Rights versus economy

24.04.2020

“After we have heard all kinds of stories about the origin of the COVID-19 virus, we can only be sure about its outcome and horrifying effects on our world as a whole.

More than ever people are united by hopes of defeating this common enemy in order to stop it from taking more lives of our loved ones and making our fellow human beings sick.

Nonetheless we have to admit that even during times of high needs, people tend to forget the importance of human rights in our combat against this virus. As a matter of fact, we have seen numerous countries that have chosen to attach importance to their economy rather than to public health. This situation has led to a significant spread of the virus at which later on, countries decided to impose serious measures in order to contain the virus.

The question that one should ask is whether economic interests should be given equal importance compared to our public health and human rights.

The answer seems to be divided among different groups of people and experts. In Belgium it is clear that the government tried to find a balance in between but failed to do so in a proper way. The country is dealing with a huge number of infected and deceased people.
An unbelievably large number of deaths are now also being diagnosed in nursing homes for elderly people.

But not only Belgium is facing a hard time in its battle against the virus. All over the world citizens are witnessing the struggle of their governments dealing with the current state of emergency.

Governments refused to act proactively when it came to our knowledge that an immense virus was threatening our human race. This neglecting attitude has led to the fact that the virus took a global character.

In the United States, Donald Trump has clearly ruled out the public health and scientific experts when it comes to developing a strategy to cope with this virus. But he, most certainly, is not the only one who chose to rely on the advice of the business community and to prioritize the nation’s economy above anything else.

Governments have proven themselves guilty when it comes to respecting human rights. Those human rights also imply that politicians need to make decisions that not only care about the economic health, but also keeps in mind the importance of the public health and life itself. This means we are not ought to think that people that are middle-aged or have underlying medical problems are not to worry about.

One cannot emphasize enough the importance of expert groups that can independently inform decisionmakers about the strategies that can be followed. A panel of experts should not only exist out of an economic expert but should also include a medical expert, a social expert and most of all an expert of human rights to make sure that every decision taken, can comply with our fundamental rights.

We can combat the virus but in order to do so, we need to put aside relations of power and stop political games. Everyone knows that politicians always take into account their own interests.

It urges us to be critical for the decisions that are made by our authorities, which is a positive reflex. More than ever we need to stand together instead of being divided. We are all part of the same planet and every life should be considered equal.

Mother earth is quietly crying without tears but still our world reacts divided.

When medical necessity is at its highest, one should not worship money nor power. However, we have seen our governments proven themselves guilty, once again.”

 

Fatima ORAIBI

Belgian Lawyer

FBE Human Rights Commission Member