ERG ‘glad’ to hear Azopardi statement on unvaccinated
Equality Rights Group has reacted positively to Leader of the Opposition, Keith Azopardi’s recent statement on the rights of the unvaccinated.
‘Without a doubt, anyone who had to manage the Covid-19 pandemic could never get it all right all of the time. It’s been a rocky but necessary journey for government which, despite sad losses, has without a doubt, also saved lives; and one in which the scenario constantly shifted and continues to do so, even on the scientific issues surrounding it. For that reason, openness at all times to science and evidence is essential.
‘On the difficult question of ‘what to do with the unvaccinated’, the legal obligations are more than clear: we cannot force people to be vaccinated, nor can we politically or socially pressure them. Their right to make their own decisions is protected. And the question has to be: in the midst of what is still medical uncertainty about whether vaccines guarantee either total non-transmission or a yet-to-be-confirmed percentage likelihood of same, the best way to handle the conflict between personal and collective rights is to find ways to protect us all. Not to close one’s mind.
‘Equality Rights Group (ERG) has for some time now been openly and publicly advocating finding the institutional and political willingness to avoid polarisation on this issue. As a small community we can be more agile, and can more easily accommodate people than in large countries. We are therefore pleased to find the Leader of the primary opposition party, the GSD, speaking of the rights of the unvaccinated; a reality based on fact because Gibraltar is legally bound by the European Convention on Human Rights and the guidance of the Council of Europe (COE); guidance issued late January, and which took the form of Resolution 2361 and which, among other questions, clearly prohibits member States from forcing anyone to be vaccinated against their will, providing protections which outlaw political or social discrimination on these grounds.
‘Mr Azopardi has rightly added his voice to a call for reason and adherence to law, as well as advocating an approach to issues such as that of the unvaccinated in Gibraltar that could and should be more amenable to exploring alternative approaches which work for everyone, and which neither endanger nor discriminate anybody. It really isn’t rocket science, just good faith,’ the statement ends.