Rights groups call for impact assessment of pandemic restrictions

Rights groups call for impact assessment of pandemic restrictions

The Government should carry out a human rights impact assessment before extending coronavirus pandemic restrictions, a coalition of rights groups has said.

In a letter sent to Taoiseach Leo Varadkar this week, eight organisations say they accept that it “may be necessary” to extend restrictions beyond 5 May, but expressed concern that “certain communities are suffering more than others under these restrictions”.

The letter is signed by the Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), the Immigrant Council of Ireland, Inclusion Ireland, the Irish Penal Reform Trust (IPRT), the Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (MASI), Mental Health Reform, Pavee Point Traveller and Roma Centre, and Refugee and Migrant Solidarity Ireland (RAMSI).

It calls for the publication of disaggregated statistics on infection and death rates according to nationality, ethnicity, disability, gender and age, as well as for statistics on infection and death rates in residential settings to be broken down further into care, detention and Direct Provision settings.

While welcoming the weekly publication of Garda statistics on arrests, charges and detention under the emergency coronavirus law, it says the Government should “ensure that we have the full picture by disaggregating the data”.

“To undertake an effective human rights analysis, information on where garda checkpoints have been established, and whether gardaí have been deployed equally across the State, should be included,” it states.

The letter was copied to Health Minister Simon Harris; the Departments of Justice and Health; Garda Commissioner Drew Harris and the Policing Authority; and the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission.

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