The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL) has expressed serious concerns about the Government’s proposals to extend the use of the EU Digital COVID Certificate, also known as the COVID pass.
The organisation has called for “several amendments” to the system, in order for it to go ahead in a way that complies with human-rights law.
Liam Herrick (ICCL executive director) said that the Government had not produced evidence that would justify the extension or expansion of the system outside hospitality settings.
“If it proposes to extend what was meant to be a temporary system, Government should also provide for a negative test, as a means for people who are not vaccinated to enter premises covered by the indoor regulations,” he urged.
Herrick said that testing was available as an alternative to vaccination or recovery for similar passes across the EU, in order to avoid discrimination against people who cannot or will not be vaccinated.
“In the context of not allowing testing, proposals to extend the range of areas where certs will be required is deeply discriminatory,” he added.
Test of necessity
The organisation expressed particular concern about the impact on those who received a first vaccination, but not a second, for medical reasons. The ICCL stressed, however, that it was a pro-vaccine organisation.
The council argues that, by law, Government must carry out a test of necessity and proportionality whenever it introduces legislation that affects people rights.
It says that the Government has yet to produce evidence to show that the vaccine passport system has curbed the transmission of COVID-19 to date, nor has it shown what specific benefit the system is intended to have over coming months.
The organisation added that it was unaware of the Government having carried out any equality or human-rights impact assessment before the current system was rolled out.