Respect People’s Rights: OC

The "No Jab, No Job" move by the private sector has prompted the Ombudsman Commission to call on the private sector to act with caution when it comes to the constitutional rights of citizens.

The call was made in the media statement, regarding mandatory vaccination imposed by private sector. 

The Ombudsman Commission has noted with concern that more and more organisations, especially the private sector, have imposed ‘No Jab, No Job’ policies in their workplaces which the Commission believes borders on the rights of citizens who have chosen not to be vaccinated. 

Chief Ombudsman Richard Pagen said whilst the Commission is mindful of the private sector's rights and obligation to protect their businesses, he urged them to come up with arrangements that do not infringe on people's right to choose. 

He said people must have a choice and that choice must not be taken away from them. 

The Commission is urging the private sector to explore all possible avenues to protect the rights of employees who choose not to take the vaccine. 

Mr Pagen added that the Ombudsman Commission does not have jurisdiction over the private sector, but as a supervisor of public administration, it is committed to the protection of constitutional rights of the citizens of the Country. 

And even though it (the Ombudsman Commission) does not have a specific mandate on human rights enforcement, it however has the mandate to inquire into matters of discrimination pursuant to Section 218 (b) and Section 219 (l) (c) of the Constitution. This anti-discrimination and equal opportunity jurisdiction is an added source of the mandate that gives the Ombudsman Commission the responsibility to supervise the enforcement of these constitutional rights which falls squarely within its general jurisdiction. 

Hence, the Ombudsman Commission maintains that it is important to prevent discrimination happening to the citizens of Papua New Guinea in relation to the COVID-19 vaccine.

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