I believe lockdowns were a “necessary evil” in 2020 as there was no vaccine then for Covid-19 and our hospitals would not have been able to cope with mass infections.
But as we come towards the end of 2021, and we still have internal travel restrictions, it is worth reflecting how the powers granted to Government are a huge infringement of our human rights, and must be temporary. Before 2020, the thought you would need permission from the Government to get in your car and drive from Auckland to Hamilton would be something from a former Soviet country, or some sort of dystopian fiction.
And the notion that one could be confined to your house for weeks on end, only allowed out for local exercise and queuing at your local supermarket would have been dismissed as too fantastical for a fiction book.
So as some people argue these restrictions should remain with us in 2022, we should assert that the right to travel, the right to leave home, the right to go to work is not a privilege granted by Government, but a basic human right.
So let’s look at the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. and see how many we have temporarily suspended:
- Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person: Needing permission to leave your home is not liberty
- Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence within the borders of each state: No freedom of movement for a third of the country
- Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and to return to his country: 30,000 or more New Zealanders unable to return
- Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race, nationality or religion, have the right to marry: Not under Level 4!
- Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;: Can’t go to church or mosque etc
- Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression: Can’t attend a protest march
- Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and association.: Not under Level 3 or 4
- Everyone has the right to work: Not when your employer can’t open or operate
- Everyone has the right to education: Not under Level 3 and 4
- Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community: Not under Level 3 or 4
Almost every major human right is infringed by lockdowns. They were a necessary evil pre-vaccine but we must be resolute in stating it will be unacceptable for them to be part of life going forward. People sneer about how people want to trade lives for holidays. The right to travel is not a privilege. The right to return to NZ is not a privilege. The right to attend church services is not a privilege etc.