Protect dignity of dead, provide decent burial to COVID-19 victims: NHRC

NHRC issued an advisory after reports of mishandling of dead bodies of COVID victims and several bodies, suspected of death due to COVID-19, found dumped in the Ganga started doing the rounds across the country.

Created On: May 15, 2021 11:30 ISTModified On: May 15, 2021 10:49 IST
National Human Rights Commission, Source: ANI

The National Human Rights Commission on May 14, 2021, issued an advisory to the Centre, State, and UT governments for enacting specific legislation for upholding the dignity and protecting the rights of the dead in the wake of COVID-19 deaths.

NHRC issued an advisory after reports of mishandling of dead bodies of COVID victims and several bodies, suspected of death due to COVID-19, found dumped in the Ganga started doing the rounds across the country.

Though there is no law at present to protect the rights of the dead in the country, however, the Commission drew its inferences from Article 21 of the Constitution of India that not only applies to the living but also the dead.

“It is the duty of the states to protect the rights of the deceased and prevent crime over the dead bodies,” the Commission emphasized.

NHRC’s recommendations to protect the rights of dead bodies of COVID victims:

•Avoid mass burials or cremations or mounting of bodies while transporting them as that is a violation of the rights and dignity of the people dead.

•No hospital administration should retain any dead body on account of pending bill payments. Any unclaimed bodies are to be stored in safe adequate conditions.

•Any citizen who comes across any such death incident or any dead bodies should immediately inform the nearest police station, emergency ambulance, legal or administrative authorities, whichever possible at the earliest.

•There should be no delay in port-mortem by the police department, local authorities must ensure the provision of proper transport facilities for the dead bodies, and overcharging of ambulance services must be regulated.

•Maintain the COVID protocol issued by the World Health Organization (WHO), National Disaster Management Authority, Govt. of India, and state governments while providing decent burial in accordance with the respective culture and funeral rites.

•Make temporary arrangements to manage the piling number of dead bodies due to COVID-19 and long queues at crematoriums. More use of electronic crematoriums is encouraged.

•NGOs are requested to take responsibility to perform the last rites in case of unattended or unclaimed bodies. In cases, when repatriation is not possible, or family members are not available, local or state authorities may perform the last rites.

•Sensitize the staff at the crematoriums or burial grounds about handling the dead bodies to maintain the dignity of the dead. Provide the staff with proper safety facilities and equipment for them to perform their duty without any risk or fear. They should be compensated fairly.

•Each State must maintain a district-wise digital record of the death cases, and the same must be updated on the deceased’s documents such as PAN card, Aadhaar card, bank accounts, etc.

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एग्जाम की तैयारी के लिए ऐप पर वीकली टेस्ट लें और दूसरों के साथ प्रतिस्पर्धा करें। डाउनलोड करें करेंट अफेयर्स ऐप

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