Lagos - Human Rights Watch (HRW) has urged West African governments to ensure the upholding of such rights as crucial in controlling the unprecedented Ebola epidemic that is ravaging the region.
The organisation expressed its sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who have died as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and recognized the courage of many health workers and others in caring for the sick.
HRW said governments in Ebola-affected countries should better protect health workers from infection, limit use of quarantines, address the gender dimensions of the outbreak, ensure security forces responding to the crisis respected basic rights and facilitated independent monitoring of emergency measures and donations.
The organisation also said donor governments, through international assistance and cooperation, should help these governments fulfill the right to health and efforts to address the epidemic’s broader impact.
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“Given the tragic magnitude of this epidemic, the affected governments cannot and should not be expected to fulfill the right to health on their own,” said Corinne Dufka, HRW Senior West Africa Researcher.
“The international community must help assume this responsibility, while insisting that governments do their part by ensuring transparency and respect for human rights as they respond to the crisis,” Dufka said.
As of early September, there had been 4 784 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola virus, and more than 2 400 deaths across most regions of Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, and in two cities in Nigeria.
Doctors without Borders, the World Health Organization (WHO), and the United States Centre for Disease Control, among other organizations, have repeatedly warned that the outbreak was spiraling out of control.
- CAJ News