Republic of the Philippines
Commission on Human Rights
Regional Office X
Cagayan de Oro City

HUMAN RIGHTS BULLETIN ON CURFEW IN THE TIME OF COVID-19
CHR-X-HRB-0003-2020
CHR-X continuously monitors the reports of human rights violations and also the
COVID-19 response. It has come to our attention that Local Government Units
(LGUs) are implementing curfew within their locality with the view of intensifying the
fight against COVID-19 with the assistance of our security sector.
Based on our monitoring, a number of LGUs implemented curfew for minors and
those above sixty (60) years of age. In some instances, those who infringed the
measure were sanctioned by letting them wear placards marked with ‘CURFEW
COMMUNITY SERVICE.’ The pictures of minors were posted in social media sites.
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a
global pandemic, pointing to the over 118,000 COVID-19 cases in over 110
countries and territories around the world and the sustained risk of further
global spread. 1 An outbreak of the viral disease COVID-19 – first identified in
December 2019 in Wuhan, China – has reached the level of a global pandemic.
Citing concerns with [‘]the alarming levels of spread and severity,[‘] the WHO called
for governments to take urgent and aggressive action to stop the spread of the
virus.2 Part of the urgent and aggressive actions of the LGUs is the imposition of
community quarantines and curfew during this state of emergency.
Contrary to what USEC Martin Dino said that ‘human rights are suspended during a
state of emergency’, we remind the public that our human rights are not suspended.
However, certain rights may be subjected to limitations and/or ‘acceptable
restrictions.’ For example, the freedom of movement may be limited by law to
support social distancing measures or physical distancing.3 These restrictions must
also follow human rights standards so that they would be considered as lawful,
necessary, proportionate, and shall not be used to target specific groups, minorities
and/or individuals, and must be implemented only for the duration of the emergency
being addressed.
Further, international human rights standards on the freedom from torture and other
cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment still apply even in extreme
emergencies as non-derogable rights. Likewise, children are afforded the standard
protection, care and assistance provided under the Convention on the Rights of the

1

https://time.com/5791661/who-coronavirus-pandemic-declaration/ World Health Organization Declares COVID-19 a 'Pandemic.'
Here's What That Means, 11 March 2020.
2 http://chr.gov.ph/human-rights-dimensions-of-covid-19-response/
3 CHR, NUPL contradict DILG's Diño, say human rights remain even during emergencies
https://www.gmanetwork.com/news/news/nation/730889/nupl-contradict-dilg-s-dino-say-human-rights-remain-even-duringemergencies/story/

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