Covid19 test

Adrian McErlean made this Freedom of Information request to Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

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The request was successful.

Dear Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission,

Can the people be forced to get covid19 test?

Can children be forced to get covid19 tests to return to school?

Can people be discriminated against for refusing a covid19 test?

Is it still illegal to force or cohert people into any medical procedures?

Yours faithfully,

Adrian McErlean

NIHRC Info, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Thank you for your email. A member of our team will respond to your
request as soon as possible. If you would like to speak to a member of
staff urgently please contact us +44 (0) 28 9024 3987. 

NIHRC Info, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

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Dear Adrian,

 

We have considered your email and can confirm we are not treating it as
Freedom of Information request as you have asked for an opinion which the
Commission does not hold on record.

 

A member of the team will be in touch to provide you with some guidance on
the questions you have raised.

 

Kind regards

 

 

Administrator

 

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Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8ED

Telephone: +44 (0)28 9024 3987   |   Email: [8][Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission request email]   |
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References

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Htaik Win, Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

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Dear Adrian

 

Thank you for your email to the Commission regarding your concerns in
relation to the Covid-19 testing.

 

Currently, Covid-19 testing is not compulsory in NI. Informed consent is
still required for any medical procedure which includes testing and
therefore it is not permissible to force an individual to take a Covid-19
test or any other medical procedure if they have capacity to give informed
consent.  Children under 16 years of age would normally require the
consent of a person with parental responsibility (usually a parent) in
order take a Covid-19 test. This is in line with the right to respect for
private and family life protected under Article 8 ECHR, which states: 

 

Article 8 – Right to respect for private and family life

1. Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his
home and his correspondence.

2. There shall be no interference by a public authority with the exercise
of this right except such as is in accordance with the law and is
necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security,
public safety or the economic well-being of the country, for the
prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals,
or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.

 

As a qualified right, Article 8 may be restricted in certain
circumstances. In order for any restriction to be permissible, it must be:
(i) in accordance with the law; (ii) in pursuit of a legitimate aim; and
(iii) proportionate in achieving that aim.

 

The European Court of Human Rights has recognised that Article 8 could be
restricted by public health considerations and the necessity to curb the
spread of infectious disease (see Solomakhin v. Ukraine). However, whether
compulsory testing in the context of the pandemic is permissible would
depend on the balance between the rights of an individual’s personal
integrity and the public interest of the population.

 

With respect to schools, guidelines have been provided by the Department
of Education if there are cases of Covid-19 within the school environment
or if a child presents with symptoms of Covid-19.  The latest guidelines
can be found at
[1]https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publicat....

 

 

In terms of discrimination, employers, service providers and public
authorities have duties and obligations under equalities law. Further
information can be provided by the Equality Commission for Northern
Ireland which oversees equalities and discrimination law in Northern
Ireland.  They can be contacted at [2]https://www.equalityni.org/Home.

 

Decisions about the imposition or lifting of restrictions and obligations
is a matter for the government. The Commission’s role is to ensure that
any restrictions or obligations imposed are compliant with human rights
standards. In line with the requirements under Article 8 ECHR as set out
above, the government must balance the issue of public safety with the
rights of individuals. This is a careful balancing exercise which will
require regular review to ensure that any restrictions or obligations
continue to be necessary.

 

The law at present is clear that covid-19 tests are not compulsory. The
Commission is not aware of any plans to change this. Any proposals to
introduce such arrangements would be scrutinised extremely carefully in
line with the principles and case law outlined in international human
rights standards, as signed and ratified by the UK Government. The latest
guidance on Covid-19 testing can be found at
[3]https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/cor....

 

Thank you for contacting the Commission. You can keep up to date with any
of our responses to the Coronavirus regulations on our website, and
through our social media channels.

 

 

 

Many thanks and regards,

 

 

Ms Htaik Win

Solicitor (Legal and Research Officer)

 

Telephone: +44 (0)28 9024 3987 | Email: [email address]

Sign up to our monthly e-newsletter [4]here.

 

[5]Website   |  
[6]Twitter   |   [7]Facebook   |   [8]YouTube   |   [9]Instagram 

 

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, 4th Floor, Alfred House, 19-21
Alfred Street, Belfast, BT2 8ED

Telephone: +44 (0)28 9024 3987   |   Email: [10][Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission request email]   |
  Textphone: +44 (0)28 9024 9066   |   SMS Text: +44 (0)77 8620 2075

 

Our privacy notice in line with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
can be found [11]here.

 

This email is confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended
recipient, please accept our apologies. Please do not disclose, copy or
distribute information in the email nor take any action in reliance of its
contents - to do so is strictly prohibited and may be unlawful. Please
inform us that this message has gone astray by return before deleting it.
Thank you for your co-operation.

 

 

References

Visible links
1. https://www.education-ni.gov.uk/publicat...
2. https://www.equalityni.org/Home
3. https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/articles/cor...
4. http://eepurl.com/gYWVhf
5. http://www.nihrc.org/
6. https://twitter.com/nihrc
7. https://www.facebook.com/nihrc
8. https://www.youtube.com/user/nihrc
9. https://www.instagram.com/nihumanrights/
10. mailto:[Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission request email]
11. http://www.nihrc.org/privacy