In February, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was advised by a High Court ruling that her rigid COVID restrictions were a “gross violation of human rights” after workers were denied a right to work over skipping the vaccine.
By April, New Zealand lifted its vaccine mandate and urged its unvaccinated workforce, who “have given decades of service to their community,” to return to duty — previously suspended for their personal health decision.
Since the restrictions were contested back in February, PM Ardern has changed her tune on touting the guidelines and stated that she was continually in favor of lifting the vaccine mandate.
Opponents of the PM have considered her claim baseless and a warped view of her long advocacy for the stringent procedures.
Members of the New Zealand Defence Force and police force were among the groups that lost workers over the vaccine rule, with many claiming religious or personal exemption but still subject to suspension.
“The associated pressure to surrender employment involves a limit on the right to retain that employment, which the above principles suggest can be thought of as an important right or interest recognized not only in domestic law but in the international instruments,” stated New Zealand Justice Francis Cooke.
He added, “An obligation to receive the vaccine which a person objects to because it has been tested on cells derived from a human fetus, potentially an aborted fetus, does involve a limitation on the manifestation of a religious belief.”
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