NAIROBI, Kenya Nov 23-Amnesty International has faulted the new directive by the Government to deny essential services to unvaccinated people from next month.
In a statement, Amnesty International-Kenya’s Executive Director Irungu Houghton termed the move by the National Emergency Response Committee in charge of the fight against coronavirus in the country as “coercive and unconstitutional”.
“While there are legitimate public health reasons for as many people as possible to be vaccinated, these reasons should not deprive a person of their right to work, essential services including education, health and security as well as their freedom of movement. These are all fundamental constitutional rights and freedoms,” said Houghton.
Health Cabinet Secretary Mutahi Kagwe announced Sunday that anyone not vaccinated against COVID-19 will be refused in-person government services and access to public gatherings, parks, hotels, restaurants, and bars from December 21.
The services will include Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA), education, immigration, hospital and prison visitations, National Transport and Safety Authority (NTSA), Kenya Ports Authority among others.
Amnesty International argues that the rush against time by the government to vaccinate the masses so as to attain the target of 10 million people by December is untenable and too ambitious.
“It is simply unrealistic for Kenya to go from 8.8 to 60 per cent within a month. It should also be noted that the Government is on record as stating that it currently only has vaccine supplies for 15 per cent of the population and requires more human resources to reach all Kenyans,” said Houghton.
Amnesty International Kenya said that the mandatory measures announced by National Emergency Response Committee will create a flood gate of fake vaccine certificates as the current vaccine supplies can only cater for 15 percent of the population.
“This proposal risks domesticating the global vaccine apartheid and creating those with rights and those without. It further risks eroding public confidence gains in the COVID-19 vaccination efforts and encourage a mushrooming of fake vaccine certificates,” said Houghton.
Kenya had administered 6.5 million vaccines by mid-November.