MBABANE: Human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi has come hard on Health Minister Lizzie Nkosi\'s statement that the dead COVID 19 patient exercised her constitutional right to refuse medication.
Speaking during a press briefing held at the cabinet offices in Mbabane on Monday afternoon the Minister revealed that the country\'s fourth COVID 19 death had a right to refuse medication .The 54 year old patient died from the deadly coronavirus after refusing medication and or to be admitted into a health facility.
“We respect people\'s rights as enshrined in the constitution to say no to certain types of treatment if they do not need them. But we need to emphasize that we are dealing with a contagious disease here, so we appeal to the Nation to please comply .It is very important to make sure that we are working together and supporting one another\" said the Minister.
Human rights lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi when reached for comment* viewed this statement by the Minister as irresponsible.
“Section 15 of the Constitution guarantees the right to life for every Swazi citizen. A person may not enjoy that right in the event they are convicted and sentenced to death or when the medication they are supposed to take is likely to pose as a high risk to their health. Here there are no grounds that limit the right to life of the said patient. Section 12 of the COVID 19 regulations allows the enforcement officer to detain the patient and administer treatment to them” he said.
The human rights lawyer further mentioned that the COVID 19 pandemic is an emergency, so some of the rights that are set in the Constitution are likely to be disregarded by the COVID 19 regulations since their primary purpose is to save lives.
“The Ministry should have taken the necessary steps to save the patient upon realising that the right to life was under threat. The Minister statement is irresponsible” said the human rights lawyer.
Human Rights Lawyer Sibusiso Nhlabatsi