The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has called on Nepal Government to protect its citizens’ right to life and healthcare.

Taking a serious note of the government’s decision to deny free medical treatment to COVID-19 patients and make concerned families responsible for managing the dead bodies of their members who succumbed to the virus, the rights body issued a press release on Tuesday and reminded the government about the citizens’ constitutional right to health.

NHRC also urged the government not to ignore its responsibilities of ensuring citizens’ access to free healthcare amid the pandemic.

NHRC’s call came two days after the Ministry of Health and Population announced its decision that the people should pay for COVID -19 tests and treatment out of their pocket and manage the dead bodies of their family members who have died due to the contagion.

Incidentally, the Cabinet has decided to keep the crematorium at Pashupati open 24 hours a day and to build a new one too.

NHRC, in its press release, said that it had taken a note of various government hospitals issuing notices asking patients to bear their treatment costs starting Sunday.

Section 3 of the Public Health Service Act- 2018 and Article 35 of the Constitution of Nepal guarantee every citizen the right to avail free basic health services relating to communicable diseases, NHRC said.

“The commission, therefore, calls Nepal Government to roll back its decision so as to not deprive anyone from their constitutional right while also continuing to manage the dead bodies of COVID-19 patients,” reads the statement.

Civil society as well as ruling party leaders have slammed the government’s decision and demanded to roll back such discriminatory decision pronto.