EJIL Analysis

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COVID-19 and the WHO’s Political Moment

In its Preamble, the Constitution of the World Health Organization (WHO) states that “[t]he achievement of any State in the promotion and protection of health is of value to all. [….] The health of all peoples is […] dependent upon the fullest co-operation of individuals and States.”. It would be difficult to find better terms to express the principle of solidarity most people are longing for in today’s pandemic context, but also the corresponding proposition that health is a common concern and responsibility. Those principles are not the only features that single out the WHO amidst the United Nations’ specialised agencies. At the time of the organisation’s creation in 1946, the World Health Assembly (WHA)’s law-making powers, to adopt both binding “regulations” (like the International Health Regulation [IHR]) and “treaties” (like the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control), were unprecedented in the multilateral institutional landscape. Furthermore, the WHO’s Constitution was the first international law treaty to guarantee the human right to health and, more generally, the human right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress.

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The Situation in Afghanistan, US Sanctions and the Historical Narratives Emerging from the ICC

On 11 June 2020, the US announced a series of economic and travel sanctions against any officials of the ICC involved in an investigation into whether US forces committed war crimes related to the Afghan conflict (see here). The ICC Appeals Chamber had previously authorised the ICC Prosecutor to commence such an investigation (see…

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The right to enter his or her own country

The tension between the right of the State to regulate entry into its jurisdiction and the right of the individual to move freely has come to the fore in the COVID-19 pandemic. In an effort to contain the transmission of COVID-19, it has been reported that Samoa denied entry to eight of its nationals, and…

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George Floyd’s Murder and the New Hope for Police Reform

The anti-racist protests dominating both old and new media these last three weeks are denouncing much more than racist and violent — indeed murderous — policing in the United States and many other countries. All honor and mourn George Floyd. Most invoke the names of other black men and women outrageously killed by police in recent…

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The Value of Life

The right to life has been described by the UN Human Rights Committee as ‘the supreme right’. Its realisation is the precondition for the exercise of all other rights. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that: ‘Every human being has the inherent right to life.’ The right to life…

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