Doctors’ strike ‘inhuman’, says NHRC

Kathmandu, September 24

The National Human Rights Commission today said its attention was drawn to violation of citizens’ right to health due to the strike of doctors in hospitals across the country for the past three days.

The doctors have been protesting the government’s directive to the health ministry to draft a law that would make individual doctors responsible for negligence during treatment of patients.

A press release issued by the NHRC said treatment of patients, especially those injured in accidents, was badly affected due to closure of curative and medical services in hospitals.

The rights watch body reminded the agitating doctors of Section 3 of Essential Services Operation Act which prohibits any protest or strike in hospitals and health centres. “Such act also violates the provisions referred to in Article 35 and Article 44 of the constitution which guarantees the right to health and consumers’ rights, and makes a mockery of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,” read the release.

The NHRC termed the strike of doctors ‘inhuman’ which it said had curtailed the basic health rights of citizens in general. Stating that it could threaten tens of thousands of lives, the rights watchdog has urged the agitating doctors to work by maintaining their professional dignity.

“We would also like to appeal to Nepal Medical Association and the government to find a way out of the crisis through dialogue,” it said.