Protecting against good intentions

By Melody HansenLex Kleren Switch to German for original article

Anyone who makes the decision to use deprivation of liberty measures in care is walking a fine line between protecting the person concerned and restricting their freedom. That's why the Human Rights Commission is calling for a legal framework for such decisions. A conversation with President Gilbert Pregno about ethics committees, pandemic policy and the place of the elderly in our society.

Lëtzebuerger Journal: Between 2010 and 2013, the handling of deprivation of liberty measures in retirement homes was somewhat part of the public discourse. After that, it was hardly talked about at all. How did this happen?

Gilbert Pregno: In general, I think that human rights issues or ethics issues don't blow anyone's mind in this country. In a country where so many resources exist, people prefer to build new structures and worry less about content. Ethical and human rights issues in particular play a subordinate role. The pandemic came unexpectedly and was like a slap in the face. A state of shock rigidity developed. Even before that, there was so much to catch up on and it wasn't done. My fear now is that we will not learn any lessons from the pandemic.

Did the Consultative Human Rights Commission of Luxembourg (CCDH) have the issue in mind then?

In 2013, the CCDH already wrote a report on this topic in which we addressed several questions. The fact that we have not returned to it since then is related to our resources. We don't have enough resources to keep track of all the issues. We publish a report and then we can't manage to see what has been implemented.

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Protecting against good intentions


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