African aviation ministers oppose imposition of vaccine passport for air travel

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By Lawani Mikairu

African aviation ministers called the proposal to impose vaccine passports on air travelers unacceptable because it amounts to discrimination against certain population groups, especially on the African continent which still has a large number of people. considerable number of its citizens who have not yet received the vaccines.

The position of the delegation of African ministers was made public on Wednesday during a presentation at the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) High Level Virtual Conference on Covid-19 by the Nigerian Minister of Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika.

Sirika described the proposal as going “against the intent of the Chicago Convention on the need to preserve friendship and understanding, to reduce the threat to general security and to establish international air transport based. on equal opportunities, operated in a healthy and economical manner ”.

Rather than imposing vaccine passports, the African delegation recommended to States Parties to the Convention on International Civil Aviation to continue to minimize risks during travel by ensuring compliance with multinational treaties, international frameworks, guidelines and existing recommendations.

He also recommended that “human rights, regional / continental / global health security, economic growth, social cohesion and good international relations, as well as the use of innovation and technology in the around the world for Public health issues such as COVID-19 and coordination between key players should also be considered. “

The Nigerian minister further stated that African countries disapprove of states imposing unilateral measures of a global nature related to public health and called on those states to refrain from such practices and instead take measures that would facilitate the reopening and reconnecting the world.

“It is clearly incumbent on public and private stakeholders to fully appreciate the dire circumstances that the airline industry is currently facing and to ensure sufficient operational sustainability. “

“These actions are essential to ensure that the world is properly reconnected, as aviation plays a vital role in the global economic recovery and in achieving the goals of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN’s Agenda 2030. United Nations for Sustainable Development, ”he said.

Regarding general recovery strategies, Sirika said: “The global distribution of emergency and humanitarian supplies, including vaccines, will undoubtedly depend on an economically viable air system. Aviation is also capable of stimulating the recovery and growth of the global economy by acting as a catalyst and multiplier of economic activity ”.

“Considering that the global aviation industry operates as an interconnected ecosystem, it is therefore imperative that all States of the world implement the recommendations and guidance of the ICAO Council Aviation Recovery Taskforce (CART), which are based on the latest development of COVID-19. “

“ICAO, in collaboration with the stakeholders concerned, is called upon to bring to maturity in the short term a consensual method of establishing and deploying a global health passport as well as the specification of infrastructures (soft / hard) and the training of professionals, ”he added. .

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