New Zealand’s government is among the political elite worldwide pushing for COVID-19 vaccine passports to be mandatory for travel. Governments would only grant these passports to citizens who have received a COVID vaccination.
But is this action legal?
The United Nations’ core human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, all recognise the individual right to freedom of movement. New Zealand has accepted all of these documents.
Moreover, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act clearly outlines all individuals’ right to freedom of movement.
Nevertheless, New Zealand Education and Health Minister Chris Hipkins stated earlier this year that vaccine passports would be almost inevitable for entry into post-COVID New Zealand.
Air New Zealand is among airlines trialling the IATA travel pass initiative, a mobile app that stores and manages travellers’ verified certifications for COVID-19 tests or vaccines. However, this information is not always secure, as demonstrated by the recent Chinese Communist Party (CCP) cyber-attacks on various countries, including New Zealand and Japan.
Various nations, including France, are already enforcing mandatory health passes, which prove vaccination or negative test status. Nevertheless, the French government’s health pass system has triggered angry mass protests from the French public.
International human rights law, the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act, and the Human Rights Act prohibit discrimination based on physical illness or appearance. Yet vaccine passports or health passes will almost certainly encourage discrimination against individuals based on vaccination status. Britain’s Royal Society gave a similar warning in their COVID-19 vaccine passport review published in February.
Anti-discrimination laws also extend to the private sector, with particular rules regarding goods and services provision and public access to places, vehicles and facilities.
Vaccination certifications did exist before the pandemic, like the yellow fever vaccination certificate. However, these passports were not mandatory in every nation. Furthermore, the COVID-19 mRNA vaccine poses a significant risk of illness or even death. A recent analysis of the vaccines by Spanish scientists has also shown the vaccines contain high amounts of toxic graphene oxide.
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