Western Africa : Fighting against the Ebola outbreak with respect for human rights

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Conakry, Monrovia, Abidjan, Paris, 1st August 2014 – On the occasion of the regional emergency summit held today in Conakry and which brings together officials from Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia and the Ivory Coast on the topic of the major sanitary crisis provoked by the Ebola virus, our organisations recall that the fight against the propagation of the disease must not be done to the detriment of human rights.

« The situation of the epidemic is extremely worrying, with more than 1300 documented cases since last February and its spreading to several countries of the sub-region. The concerned governments must unite their efforts, with the help of the international community, to garantee the right to health of the concerned population » declared Abdoul Gadiry, OGDH representative, from Conakry.

To fight agains the spreading of the virus, the governments of Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have taken drastic decisions, namely the establishment of the state of emergency and the use of military forces in Sierra Leone, as well as the closing of schools or travel restrictions in Liberia.

Though the epidemic represents a considerable challenge, our organisations recall that these exceptional measures must be implemented with respect for human rights, and must be given particular consideration in the affected local communities, where sharp tensions have risen these past weeks.

« Everything must be done to halt the spread of the virus, but nothing can justify infrigements of fundamental freedoms. We call on the governments to work in cooperation with the affected communities and to limit these exceptional measures to the strict minimum »

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