Attorney at Law, Mary Francis, has called on citizens to observe COVID-19 protocols.
She asserting that this will lessen human rights restrictions.
The outspoken human rights advocate explained that these are critical times.
“I would like to make an appeal to all citizens to try and play our part and cooperate with the government,” Francis said.
She noted that it is the duty of the state to not unnecessarily restrict rights and freedoms.
“But this is just the vertical situation between the state and the citizens,” she told St Lucia Times.
However, Francis explained that there is also the ‘horizontal plane.’
“In other words, each of us owe each other a right and a duty to observe and not violate the rights that the law gives,” she said.
Francis noted that by observing protocols relating to masks, social distancing and sanitising, people protect the right to life.
She said the police can arrest people who do not wear masks.
“Therefore, you are losing your liberty unnecessarily,” Francis explained.
She noted that people play a part in protecting the human rights of others.
“What about the right to health?” she asked.
According to Francis, the health system is at breaking point because of the number of COVID-19 cases here.
“We also have the right to religion,” she asserted.
But the Coordinator of the National Centre for Legal Aid and Human Rights said churches are closed.
“In all of this we have a duty to follow the protocols and cooperate,” Francis declared.
She expressed concern about job losses as a result of COVID-19.
Francis said all those factors are inter-related.
“Therefore we have to come to the conclusion that it’s not about party politics,” Francis observed.
“Human rights is above party politics. It is universal,” she explained.