Support needed to protect everyone on ‘Freedom Day’
Posted on 19 Jul 2021
- Liberty urges Health Secretary to change approach to pandemic response
- Most marginalised and clinically vulnerable risk of being left behind
- Government must scrap Coronavirus Act and coercive measures, says Liberty
Liberty has yet again called on the Government to scrap coercive strategies in its response to the pandemic.
In a letter sent to new Health Secretary Sajid Javid today, Monday 19 July, the human rights organisation called for a pandemic strategy that restores our rights and prioritises support over punishment.
Despite proclaiming today’s end of restrictions as “Freedom Day” the Government has maintained expansive powers under the Coronavirus Act, while ushering through oppressive measures in vaccine passports and mandatory vaccination, Liberty says.
The human rights group adds that by issuing confused communications and failing to provide guidance and support for clinically vulnerable people, the Government has laid the groundwork for “Freedom Day” to spread more division and put the most marginalised at greater risk.
To ensure everyone is protected and can stay safe, Liberty urged the Government to:
- Implement Liberty’s Protect Everyone Bill, developed in consultation with a wide range of civil society groups, to safeguard our rights and provide support so everyone can stay safe.
- Restore accountability and trust, by scrapping coercive policies like the Coronavirus Act and ensuring proper Parliamentary scrutiny of new proposals.
- Provide clear and transparent communication of rules from official Government sources, and a clear distinction between law and guidance.
- Oppose vaccine passports, which will lead to discrimination and the creation of a two-tier society.
- Reverse plans for mandatory jabs for care home workers.
Since the start of the pandemic, Liberty has campaigned for a pandemic strategy prioritising public health over criminal justice. Liberty has campaigned for the Coronavirus Act to be repealed and in March 2021 for it to be replaced with the Protect Everyone Bill, the blueprint for a pandemic strategy that prioritised support over punishment.
Liberty Director Gracie Bradley said: “We all want to know we are doing the right thing to stay safe and protect each other, especially during this pandemic. Policing and criminal punishment should never have been front and centre of the response to a public health crisis, and the Coronavirus Act was the wrong approach. It’s welcome that many of these measures will now play a diminished role. However, the pandemic is ongoing, and there should be strong support measures and clear communications.
“Liberty has always supported proportionate measures to protect public health, but coercive policies such as vaccine passports and mandatory vaccinations will cause more division and put our rights at risk. Easing restrictions has serious implications for the rights of the clinically vulnerable, and for front line workers, who must be given more material support.
“The Government must scrap the Coronavirus Act, stop quietly promoting divisive strategies based on punishment and coercion, and focus on ensuring people are supported, and everyone is protected.”
Contact the Liberty press office on 07973 831 128 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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