常健:中国抗击疫情的人权保护 - 第二单元:人权保障与抗击新冠疫情 - 中国人权网

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常健:中国抗击疫情的人权保护

2020-06-02 15:28:52来源:中国人权网

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南开大学人权研究中心主任常健教授(网络会议视频截图)

  2020年5月30日下午,由中国人权研究会指导、华中科技大学人权法律研究院主办的“疫情防控中的中西方人权观比较”国际视频研讨会召开。会议采取现场和网络相结合的形式,来自联合国人权高专办、联合国人权高专办驻几内亚办事处、奥地利、荷兰、英国、巴基斯坦、尼泊尔和中国等国家和地区的40余名人权专家、官员参加了线上研讨。南开大学人权研究中心主任常健教授在”第二单元:人权保障与抗击新冠疫情“上作题为《中国抗击疫情的人权保护》的发言。
 
中国抗击疫情中的人权保障

南开大学人权研究中心主任 常健

  新冠肺炎疫情在全球的蔓延,对世界各国人民的生命和健康带来了严重的威胁,也对各国政府如何有效地保障人权提出了严峻的挑战。

  一、疫情防控中生命健康权保障的优先地位

  突发重大疫情对人权的首要威胁,就是使人失去生命和健康。生命权不仅是最基本的人权,而且是所有其他人权赖以实现的最重要基础和前提。《世界人权宣言》第3条规定,“人人有权享有生命”。联合国人权事务委员会第14号一般性意见第1条进一步指出:“生命权是所有人权的基础。”

  然而,为保障生命健康权而采取的疫情防控措施,会与其他人权和公共利益的实现方式发生一定冲突。例如,防止疫情蔓延的医治、隔离和限制出行措施会对相关人员行使人身自由权构成一定限制;对感染者的流行病学调查和信息发布会涉及个人隐私权;对民间设施和物资的临时征用会涉及个人财产权;要求企业停工停产会对经济发展、公共福利和工作权的实现造成负面影响。联合国相关人权文书对权利冲突下的优先排序作出了相关规定。一方面,生命权保障具有优先性。另一方面,在突发公共卫生事件的紧急状态下,可以限制自由权的行使,克减国家保障这些权利的相应义务。

  在新冠肺炎疫情的防控中,中国将保障人民的生命健康权置于优先地位,实施严格的防控措施阻断病毒传播,将感染率和病死率压到最低限度。在疫情初期,习近平总书记就强调,要把人民群众生命安全和身体健康放在第一位,坚决遏制疫情蔓延势头。全国普遍实施应急一级响应,武汉封城,学校停课,企业停产,商店关门,停止所有聚集性活动,社区实行封闭管理。在所有出入场所进行发热监查,对所有疑似病人进行迅速复查与确认,对疑似病人和所有类型感染者迅速实施隔离收治,对确诊患者密切接触者进行排查,并参照发热患者对他们进行集中观察后居家隔离。居民出门必须戴口罩,来自不同地区的人必须居家隔离14天。

  上述措施有效地遏制了新冠病毒的传播。中国在短短两周时间就使新增确诊病例下降了80%;至3月13日,全国新增确诊病例降至个位数;到5月14日,全国现有确诊病例降至100例以下。如果中国采取的非药物干预措施比实际实施时间晚1周,病例可能较目前增加3倍;如果晚3周,则病例可能较目前增加18倍。

  二、疫情防控中生命健康权的平等保障

  疫情突然暴发导致感染者数量激增,医院、床位、医疗设施、药品和医护人员在短期内出现严重短缺,无法及时满足所有感染者的就医需求。在这种特殊情境下,如果选择优先救治危重感染者,其所耗费的资源会使更多重症和轻症患者得不到及时救治;如果优先选择救治轻症和重症感染者,就意味着放弃对危重感染者生命健康权的充分保障,由此形成了生命健康权保障的主体间冲突。

  根据联合国相关人权文书,包括生命健康权在内的所有人权必须平等享有,不得有所歧视。同时,对包括老年人在内的各种弱势群体,应当根据他们的特殊需要而予以必要的特殊保护。

  中国政府坚持平等保障每个人的生命健康权,反对一切形式的歧视。为了解决由资源稀缺所导致的生命健康权平等保障的困境,中国政府迅速调集全国资源,在短时间内转变了资源短缺的局面,实现了应检尽检,应收尽收,应治尽治。面对检测机构不足的问题,政府扩充检测机构,允许具备条件的三甲医院、疾控中心和专业检测机构进行核酸检测。面对防疫物资供不应求的问题,有条件的企业迅速调整转产生产口罩、防护服、消毒液、测温仪、医疗器械等物资。面对大规模收治难题,中国政府全力开展“床位扩容”。在疫情重灾区武汉,在短短10天左右时间先后完成各可容纳1000多张床位的“火神山”“雷神山”两座传染病专科医院的建设并投入使用。与此同时,陆续新建一批“方舱医院”,改扩建一批定点医院,改造一批综合医院,短期内新增床位10多万张,由“人等床”转变为“床等人”。面对安全转运感染者车辆不足的问题,政府从全国抽调近200辆负压救护车。面对医护人员不足的问题,全国30个省区市和新疆生产建设兵团以及中国人民解放军等共调派340多支医疗队、42000多名医务人员驰援湖北。

  为了高效利用资源,武汉市采取分类收治分配机制,对确诊患者集中收治,重症送定点医院,轻症送指定医院和其他医疗机构。各医院利用网络医疗技术支持,普遍开展远程问诊、专家直播、医疗培训等服务。

  为了保护疫情中处于弱势地位的各类群体,中央应对新型冠状病毒感染肺炎疫情工作领导小组发布了一系列相关文件,要求保护关心爱护处于疫情防控一线的医务人员及其老年亲属;对受疫情影响在家隔离的孤寡老人、因家人被隔离收治而无人照料的老年人和未成年人,以及社会散居孤儿、留守儿童、留守老年人等特殊群体,要组织开展走访探视,及时提供帮助;做好养老机构、儿童福利机构、未成年人救助保护机构、精神卫生福利机构、流浪乞讨人员救助管理机构和殡葬服务机构等民政服务机构新冠肺炎疫情防控和服务保障工作;加强疫情防控期间孕产妇疾病救治与安全助产;并为疫情防控期间为老年人慢性病患者提供医疗卫生服务指南。

  三、疫情防控中各项人权实现方式的合理协调

  在突发重大疫情的情境下,为了保障生命健康权,需要对其他一些人权和公共利益的实现方式施加一定限制,对国家承担的相应人权保障义务予以一定程度克减。但这种限制和克减不应是任意的,而必须遵循依法、有限度、必要、合比例和非歧视等基本原则。这就要求在疫情防控中精准施策,尽力减少对其他各项人权和公共利益的非必要限制。

  为了实现精准施策,顾全和协调各项人权的保障,中国确立了一系列行之有效的管理策略与机制,使得疫情防控与其他各项人权和公共利益保障得以兼顾。

  为了在有效防控疫情的同时及时恢复经济,保障工作权,中国实施了分区分级精准防控策略:低风险地区实施“外输入”策略,全面恢复正常生产生活秩序;中风险地区实施“外防输入、内防扩散”策略,尽快有序恢复正常生产生活秩序;高风险地区实施“内防扩散、外防输出、严格管控”策略,根据疫情态势逐步恢复生产生活秩序。在取消或延缓各种公众聚集性活动的情境下,政府机关和企事业单位采取线上办公和线上教学的方式,保证了工作、教学正常进行。为了兼顾防疫和恢复经济所需要的人员流动,中国还采取了“健康码”管理机制,持绿码的人可以直接进入一个地区,持红码的人需要集中隔离14天,持黄码的人需要隔离7天。为了在居家限行状态下保障居民基本生活必需品的供给,中国广泛实行了无接触消费,运用互联网+物流配送、电子商务平台来保障疫情期间物资订购配送支付的全部环节,避免了超市、商场、农贸市场人群聚集带来感染风险。同时,将物资配送纳入社区服务,保障生活用品安全及时送到居民家中,通过无接触配送方式,将经过检疫、符合防疫标准的蔬菜直送社区,解除了隔离中居民的生活保障和防疫安全之忧。

  中国高度重视对公民的疫情知情权的保障,为了防止出现不必要的恐慌和医疗资源挤兑,相关部门根据对疫情认识的不断发展依法向医疗机构和社会公众分阶段发布信息。在对疫情进行流行病学调查时,为了保障个人的隐私权,政府相关部门对所涉及的个人隐私信息的保护和确诊病例的发布作出了严格的限制性规定,并对泄露个人隐私的案件依法予以惩处。

Human Rights Protection in China’s Battle

against the COVID-19 Epidemic

Chang Jian

The worldwide spread of COVID-19 posed serious threats to life and health of people all around the world, as well as severe challenges to governments of all countries as to how to effectively protect human rights.

1. Priority of Protecting the Rights to Life and Health in Epidemic Prevention and Control

The primary threat of major epidemic disease to human rights is to deprive of people’s life and health. The right to life is not merely the most fundamental human rights but also the most important basis and premise to realize other human rights. Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights stipulates that “Everyone has the right to life”. Article 1 of General Comment No.14 of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights further points out that, “Health is a fundamental human right indispensable for the exercise of other human rights.”

Nonetheless, anti-epidemic measures taken to safeguard the right to life and health may conflict with the methods to realize other human rights and public interests. For instance, the measures of medical treatment, quarantine and restrictions on travel to contain epidemic transmission impose restrictions on related persons to exercise their right of personal liberty; epidemiological investigation of infected cases and release of their information involve their individual privacy rights and temporary expropriation of people’s facilities involves the right to the personal property rights; shutdown of work and production generates a negative impact on economic growth, public welfare and the right to work. The related UN documents made associated regulations on the priority ordering of conflicting rights. On the one hand, protection of the right to life is prioritized. On the other hand, in the case of public health events, the exercise of the right to freedom should be restricted to ease the obligations of the state to protect such rights.

In the epidemic prevention and control, China gave top priorities to protecting people’s rights to life and health, adopted strict anti-epidemic measures to stop virus transmission and minimized the infection rate and the fatality rate. In the early stage of the outbreak, General Secretary Xi Jinping stressed placing top priority on people’s life safety and physical health and firmly containing virus spread. The whole country generally practiced Level-1 emergency response. Wuhan City was locked down, classes suspended, corporate production and business operation shut down, group gatherings forbidden, and all communities were under closed-off management. Fever testing was conducted at all the exits and entrances; all the suspected cases were rapidly reviewed and confirmed; suspected and confirmed cases of all sorts were rapidly quarantined and given medical treatment. Close contacts of confirmed cases were investigated and the patients of fever were put under home quarantine after quarantine in dedicated facilities. The citizens were not allowed to go out without wearing a mask and any individual from other areas should be put under home quarantine for 14 days.

The measures mentioned above effectively contained the spread of COVID-19. Newly confirmed cases in China were lowered by 80% in two weeks; as of March 13, 2020, new confirmed cases nationwide had reduced to a single digit. As of May 14, 2020, the present confirmed cases nationwide had been below 100. Had non-medicine intervention taken by China been one week later than practical implementation, the cases might have been increased by three times; three weeks later, the figure might have been increased by 18 times.

2. Protection for the Equal Right of Life and Health in Epidemic Prevention and Control

The outbreak caused surging infected cases, a severe shortage of hospitals, sickbeds, medical facilities, medicine and medical staff in a short time and inability to meet the needs of infected cases for medical treatment. If critical cases were treated with priorities in special circumstances, the resources consumed would have made it impossible to treat severe and mild cases. If severe and mild cases were treated with priorities, it meant giving up sufficient protection for the right of critical incidents to life and health, forming the conflicting main bodies to protect the rights to life and health.

Following the UN’s documents on human rights, all human rights, including the right to life and health, must be equally enjoyed without any discrimination. Meanwhile, all sorts of vulnerable groups, including the senior citizens, should be given necessary special protection according to their particular needs.

The Chinese government holds fast to equally protect the right to life and health of every Chinese citizen and opposes discrimination in whatever form. To solve the dilemma of equal protection of the right to life and health resulting from resource shortage, the Chinese government rapidly amassed the resources nationwide, solved resource shortage quickly and realized due inspection, reception and medical treatment. In the face of inadequate testing institutions, the government expanded the scope of testing institutions. It allowed qualified AAA-level hospitals, centers for disease control and prevention and professional testing institutions to conduct nucleic acid testing. Confronted by a short supply of anti-epidemic supplies, qualified enterprises rapidly produced such materials as masks, protective clothing, disinfectants, thermodetectors and medical equipment. Cornered by the difficulty of large scale reception and medical treatment, the Chinese government went all out to “enlarge the capacity of sickbeds”. In severely afflicted Wuhan, “Huoshenshan Hospital” and “Leishenshan Hospital” that could accommodate more than 1,000 sickbeds were successively built and put into operation in merely about 10 days. At the same time, a group of “mobile cabin hospitals” was successively built. A group of designated hospitals was reorganized and expanded, a group of general hospitals was transformed and more than 100,000 new sickbeds were increased in a short time, changing the situation of “patients waiting for sickbeds” to “sickbeds waiting for patients”. To solve the problem of inadequate vehicles to transport the infected cases, the government transferred up to 200 negative pressure ambulances from across the country. To work out the problem of insufficient medical staff, more than 340 medical teams composing more than 42,000 medical staff were dispatched from 30 provinces, districts and cities nationwide, Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps and PLA to race to aid Hubei.

To effectively utilize the resources, Wuhan Municipality adopted the distribution mechanism of classified treatment, treating confirmed cases in dedicated facilities, and sending severe cases to designated hospitals and mild cases to designated hospitals and other types of medical institutions. The hospitals made use of online medical technological support to universally carry out long-distance inquiring, live streaming by experts and medical training, etc.

To protect all sorts of vulnerable groups of people in the epidemic, the Leading Group of the CPC Central Committee for Novel Coronavirus Prevention and Control released a series of relevant documents, requiring to protect and show care to the medical staff fighting at the front line of epidemic control and their aged family members; organize visit and give help to the elderly people of no family in-home quarantine due to the epidemic, the elderly people and the juveniles without any care from their family members in quarantine and the special groups of people including orphans living scattered in the society and the stay-at-home children and elderly people; do well in COVID-19 control and service guarantee such civil administration organizations as nursing institutions for the aged, child welfare institutions, juvenile salvation and protection institutions, mental health welfare institutions, vagrants and beggars relief management institutions and funeral and interment service organizations; enhance disease treatment and safe delivery of pregnant and lying-in women during epidemic control; provide medical service information to the old people with chronic illnesses during the period of epidemic control.

3. Rational Coordination of the Methods to Realize Human Rights in Epidemic Prevention and Control

To protect the right to life and health in the significant epidemic outbreak, the methods to realize other human rights and public interest should be restricted. The state’s obligation to protect corresponding human rights should be lessened to some extent. However, the restrictions and lessening should not be arbitrary but follow the fundamental principles of being according to the law, with limitations, necessity, conforming to the proportion, and non-discrimination. It requires targeted policy in epidemic control to avoid unnecessary restrictions on other human rights and public interest.

To implement targeted policies, and give equal consideration to and coordinate the protection of all human rights, China set up a series of effective management strategies and mechanisms in a bid to balance epidemic control and protection of other human rights and public interest.

To quickly recover the economy and guarantee the right to work during effective epidemic control, China applied a region-specific, multi-level targeted approach to epidemic prevention and control: To prevent the coronavirus from re-entering the country to cause a new epidemic to comprehensively recover the regular order of production and life in low-risk areas; to prevent the spread of the coronavirus from both within and without of medium-risk cities (or regions); to prevent the coronavirus from spreading within the city/region or beyond, adopt strict control and gradually recover the order of production and life according to the situation of the epidemic. In the circumstances of canceling or delaying all kinds of public gatherings, government offices, enterprises, and public institutions handled official business online and launched online teaching to guarantee routine work and education. To give equal consideration to epidemic control and people’s flow for economic recovery, China adopted the “health code” management mechanism. The people with a green code can freely go to a place, those with a red code should be quarantined in dedicated facilities for 14 days, and those with a yellow code should be quarantined for seven days. To guarantee supplies of basic daily necessities for those under home quarantine, China extensively applied non-physical-contact sales service, namely, “Internet+logistics distribution” and e-commerce platform to ensure delivery and payment during the epidemic and concurrently avoid the risks of infection due to group gathering in supermarkets, shopping malls and farm produce fairs. Meanwhile, material distribution was included in community service to guarantee safe, timely delivery of articles of daily use to the citizens and deliver the quarantined vegetables up to the standard of epidemic prevention directly to the communities to relieve the people in the quarantine of their worries about life and anti-epidemic safety.

China paid great attention to protecting people’s right to know the epidemic situation. To prevent unnecessary panic and squeeze of medical resources, related departments periodically released information to the medical institutions and the public according to the law as the knowledge of the epidemic progressed. To protect the personal privacy right in the epidemiological investigation, the governmental departments concerned made strict restrictive regulations on releasing the information of confirmed cases to protect their individual privacy and imposed legal punishment for any leakage.


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