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Thailand: Commission urges support for communities hit hardest by COVID-19


The NHRCT has called on the Thai Government to ensure the rights to health and an adequate standard of living.

In response to a new wave of COVID-19, the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand (NHRCT) has called on the Government to ensure the rights to health and an adequate standard of living without distinction and urged the public not to discriminate against those affected by the virus.

On 26 December 2020, Mrs Prakairatana Thontiravong, Acting NHRCT Chairperson, expressed concern over the new wave of COVID-19 and the human rights impacts for different communities, especially those who live in the hard-hit Samut Sakhon Province.

Both Thais and Myanmar workers have suffered from the health crisis, economic downturn, unemployment, discrimination and social stigma, she said.

Mrs Thontiravong expressed appreciation at the measures taken by the Government to respond to the new outbreaks, such as establishing population-wide COVID-19 screening programs and field hospitals to separate and treat people.

In addition, illegal migrant workers have been temporarily exempted from arrest and encouraged to access medical testing and treatment.

However, the NHRCT remained concerned over access to public health preventive measures in highly controlled areas for both Thais and migrant workers.

"Since there will be the prohibition of migrant workers to travel in and out of the area, they may be locked down in congested living buildings which are non-separable between infected and non-infected people. Therefore, such risk should be mitigated," Mrs. Thontiravong said.

"The government should publicize knowledge through various communication channels about how migrant workers can protect themselves from the disease, as well as the health measures being undertaken by the government. The government should also provide sustenance for all people in highly controlled areas, without distinction," she said.

"It is vital that the government ensure the right to health and the right to an adequate standard of living to all people at this time of crisis. Everyone should be able to enjoy his or her own rights in terms of availability, accessibility, adaptability and acceptability."

The NHRCT also called on the public for their understanding and mutual assistance.

"People who have been affected by the pandemic no matter who they are – Thais, migrant workers or medical personnel – must not be subject to any act or verbal abuse or discrimination," the Acting NHRCT Chairperson said.

"Finally, the NHRCT would like to encourage all of us to offer our moral support to officials, health workers and people with COVID-19. We will overcome the crisis together, with respect for human dignity and human rights of all people."

Date: 26 December 2020

Source: National Human Rights Commission of Thailand

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  1. Robert Norton