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Russia: vaccine passports could violate human rights

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As the EU is preparing to roll out its program criticized as violating human rights and introducing discrimination (“digital green certificates” – i.e., Covid passports) China has already done that, while Russia is still resistant to the idea, although Moscow is not ruling it out completely.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who is currently visiting China, expressed unease with the idea, as it might introduce new divisions among nations because of the way it is applied (none of these entities currently recognize vaccines produced by the other, as the basis for Covid passports.)

Lavrov advised “extra consideration,” recalling that vaccination is voluntary and that in mandating Covid passports, “We must prevent violations of human rights and the rights of a traveler in case such certificate is absent.”

While the EU plans issue QR codes to holders of these documents as proof that they have either been vaccinated, received a negative test, or recovered from the disease, China is focusing on vaccination alone.

The technology seems to be similar to that currently proposed in the EU: travelers will carry QR codes containing data proving that they got the vaccine, and show it to border officials. The system came online in mid-March and for now applies only to Chinese nationals who have received the Chinese-made vaccine, for now excluding all others – those manufactured in the West and in Russia.

But that doesn’t mean China is not ready to share its Covid passport implementation know-how with the rest of the world. Chinese state media reported on Tuesday that Beijing has the technical means, not to mention experience – the Covid passport system is said to be modeled after the infamous “social credit” scheme – to help implement vaccine passports worldwide via the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the most proper organizer” who would guarantee fairness and data security.

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