The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has ruled that compulsory vaccinations do not contravene human rights law.
This move will be welcomed by European leaders such as Bavarian state premier Markus Söder who wants vaccination made compulsory for groups like care workers. And it will be anathema to civil liberties groups who might have hoped that the higher courts were there to protect them from illiberal measures redolent of Communist China and the growth of the biosecurity state.
Last week’s ruling did not refer specifically to Covid-19, but rather to a case brought by Czech families regarding compulsory jabs for children.
According to Deutsche Welle:
The court ruled that the Czech health policy was not in violation of Article 8 on the right to respect for private life in accordance with the European Convention on Human Rights.
By Czech law, children must be vaccinated against nine diseases including diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, hepatitis B and measles.
The case was brought to the court by families who had been fined, or whose children had been refused access to a nursery for failing to comply with their legal vaccination duty.
The ECHR’s judgment read:
The… measures could be regarded as being ‘necessary in a democratic society’.
Nicholas Hervieu, a legal expert specialising in the ECHR, is quoted in the article as saying that the judgement “reinforces the possibility of a compulsory vaccination under conditions of the current COVID-19 pandemic”.
Under the terms of the Human Rights Act, the United Kingdom is required to “take account” of decisions by the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights. But its courts are not required always to follow the ECHR’s decisions. This position remains unchanged, despite Brexit, because the 2018 Withdrawal Agreement committed the UK to remaining within the ECHR as a basis of future cooperation.