Melbourne, Australia – A sudden lockout of nine public housing towers took place in Melbourne this summer, with 3,000 people unable to access enough food and medicine and fresh air during the city’s second coronavirus wave, violating human rights laws.
The report released on Thursday by the Ombudsman in the state of Victoria, in which Melbourne is the capital, said residents were kept under house arrest for 14 days in July without warning. The report stated that this deprived them of the necessary support, as well as access to activities such as outdoor exercise.
Lockadian was “not compatible with the rights of folk residents, including their right to humanitarian treatment of deprivation of liberty”, wrote Deborah Glass, Victorian Ombudsman. The report recommends that the state government publicly apologize to tower residents, as well as improve relationships and processes at equally high-risk locations in the city so that they are better prepared for future outbreaks Can.
Although Australia has gained global acclaim for successfully slowing the spread of coronovirus in the country, the report was a sharp rebuke to state officials’ decision to implement stricter measures for public housing residents, who said they were trapped and painful and suspicious Feel discriminated against. Many described it as a “nightmare”.
“We grew up here; We were born here, “a resident, who was not identified by her real name in the report, told investigators. She said,” It felt like whether we were in a safe place now? “” We felt disqualified. ” “
The report also reminds that such measures were rarely implemented equally and have come at great cost to those who are economically disadvantaged. Many of the residents of the towers are minorities or immigrants. Some residents noted that police officers had built swarms around the towers, making it difficult for them to leave.
Talking of the inhabitants of the towers, the report stated: “Some had endured civil war and dictatorship before settling in Australia, some had survived torture at the hands of their former state. For him, the heavy presence of police was particularly painful. “
When a second wave threatened to jeopardize Australia’s progress, the head of the Victorian state, Daniel Andrews, enforced what would be one of the strictest and longest lockdowns in the world. It ran for 111 days, already exhausted and disappointed in winter-wearing Melbourneians and earning him both Sarcasm And help From the public.
Mr Andrews said the government had no choice and that his actions were based on the best public health advice.
At a press conference in Melbourne on Thursday, he said, “There is no rulebook for this, nobody in Victoria has done this before.” “We took steps that experts said were necessary to save lives.”
Investigators found that although the state’s acting chief health officer had signed an order approving the lockdown, he was unaware of the government’s plans to implement it abruptly. The report stated that he was given only 15 minutes to consider several documents and his human rights implications before the details of the lockdown were made public.
“During a crisis, we may be tempted to look at human rights to protect human rights,” the report warns. “This thinking can give rise to dangerous territory.”
The 32-year-old, Ebon Hassan, who lives in one of the towers in a suburb of northern Melbourne and lost his father in Coronovirus in late July, reported, “It is no surprise that human rights violations Has happened.”
She and other residents said they were deeply disappointed by the lack of government services in the aftermath of the lockdown.
“Everyone is just trying to heal and recover,” he said. “Apologies is the least they can do.”
Australian authorities expect a “Kovid-general” Christmas will be allowed to deal with the virus. The state of Victoria, which effectively eliminated the coronovirus for the second time by the end of November, now has 48 days without any new, locally aired cases.
But on Wednesday and Thursday, in a sign of the persistence of the virus, a group of 17 new cases emerged in the northern beaches of Sydney, Australia’s largest city, without ending any of the city’s two-week streak of new, locally There was no transmitted infection. And forcing some care homes to close.
Despite the report’s findings, the Victorian state government said its action to help spread the disease had been “integral”.
“The officers acted within the law and the applicable legislative framework at all times,” Planning and Housing Minister Richard Winne said in a statement released on Thursday.
“We do not apologize for saving people’s lives,” he said.