UN rights chief warns vaccine mandates must respect human rights

Countries considering introducing vaccine mandates in the fight against COVID-19 must ensure they respect human rights, the UN rights chief says stressing that forced vaccination is never acceptable.

Speaking to a Human Rights Council seminar via video message, Michelle Bachelet warns there are significant rights considerations that need to be taken into account before making vaccination compulsory.

Any “vaccine mandates must comply with the principles of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination,” she says. “In no circumstances should people be forcibly administered a vaccine.”

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says the aims sought by countries mulling mandates to protect lives as Europe and other regions battle fierce surges in the pandemic, were “of course of the highest order of legitimacy and importance.”

But she insists that “vaccine mandates should be employed only when necessary for achieving compelling public health ends. And they should only be considered when less intrusive measures such as mask-wearing and social distancing have demonstrably failed to meet such health needs.”

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