Commonwealth law ministers call for international co-operation on COVID-19 vaccines

Commonwealth law ministers call for international co-operation on COVID-19 vaccines

Friday, February 19, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Commonwealth law ministers have called for increased international co-operation to enable equal access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The call was issued during a special virtual meeting of law ministers held yesterday to discuss legal implications of the pandemic — in particular on access to justice, upholding the rule of law, and equitable access to essential medicines and equipment.

Commonwealth countries have so far recorded more than 19 million COVID-19 cases and 370,000 deaths since the start of the pandemic.

During their meeting, law ministers shared their views and experiences of legal challenges which have arisen amid the pandemic.

Ministers stressed how lockdowns, social distancing, and other emergency measures affected courts and the administration of justice.

It was also noted that the pandemic has accelerated the digitalisation and modernisation of judicial services, with technology such as video conferencing being widely used in courts in many Commonwealth jurisdictions.

The ministers agreed on a range of outcomes from the meeting, including a commitment to work collaboratively to support timely and equal access to vaccines for the Commonwealth and all other countries.

The ministers further issued a plea to governments to provide adequate resources to ensure the realisation of equal access to justice for all in the Commonwealth.

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