Posted by : Posted on : 02-Jun-2020

Solomon Islands:  The issue of rights amidst COVID-19 measures.

 COVID-19 has already being declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization and it has grave worldwide health implications owing to its exponential spread.

 It is clear that the virus poses a serious danger to public health and as such restriction of movement by the Solomon Islands Government, I consider, have been much in line with human rights principles.

The power imbued on the government to make rules and regulations as to the restriction of movement of citizens does not by extension affect other obligations of the government under international and domestic laws. At all times, the obligations owed citizens by the government remain extant except where derogation is permitted by law.

The ban on large gatherings and curfews affects the right to peaceful assembly and to a large extent the right to freedom of association, but when considering the. right of free movement and assembly in the Solomon Islands it must be recognized that due to the COVID-19 threat that the existing requirements on the exercise of such rights have had to be imposed due to the interests of public health.

Faced with the threat of COVID -19, it seems to be that if restrictions on assembly and free association had not been imposed, the chances of COVID-19 spreading into the country would have been much higher.

One should remember that COVID-19 is a serious life shortening disease and I believe the Solomon Islands government has been right to take protective measures that seem to have temporarily derogated from some rights which have, hitherto, included rights to free movement.

Yours sincerely

Frank Short

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