Global Health

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The far-reaching US proposals to amend the International Health Regulations at the upcoming 75th World Health Assembly: A call for attention

The upcoming 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) to be held in Geneva from 22-28th May 2022 will potentially adopt far-reaching amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR is currently the most important multilateral treaty regulating the global architecture for health emergency, preparedness, response and resilience (HEPR architecture). The extensive amendments to the IHR have been initiated by the United States (US), listed as agenda item WHA75/18 for the 75th WHA. The amendments are already backed by 19 co-sponsor states and the EU.    As of yet, there has been almost no public awareness or debate of the substantial amendments to the IHR although the WHO Secretariat circulated the US initiative first in January 2022 to state parties. The US initiative contradicts the gist of a report by the WHO Director-General issued in November 2021 which sketched out some of the amendments now tabled by the US, but which also indicated that the IHR…

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Inadequate State Response to Protect Life and Health in Times of COVID-19 as a Violation of Human Rights Obligations – the Example of Poland

While the fourth wave of COVID-19 pandemics flows over Europe and other continents, States undertake different steps and measures aimed at minimizing the spread of the virus. Many countries and regions introduced the requirement of COVID certificates/passes, while some plan to implement mandatory vaccinations at least for certain occupations. These measures have spurred discussions of…

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Covid Passes and Non-Discrimination

Today the British Parliament will decide on whether England will follow other parts of the UK – and many other states – in requiring the use of Covid passes (passports, certificates) to access certain public venues and services. Public debates surrounding the introduction of such passes frequently turn on their real or supposed discriminatory effects. It is black…

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The Role of the Right to Health in a “Hidden” Pandemic: Antimicrobial Resistance

Last week, UK health officials declared that a "hidden pandemic" of antibiotic-resistant infections could soon threaten human health and lives. More cold symptoms are expected this winter, due to an increase in social mixing, but the UK Health Security Agency warn against premature and inadequate use of antibiotics. However, this menace is not new and not…

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Punishing Compliance with International Law: The Omicron Variant and the International Health Regulations (2005)

On 24 November 2021, the government of South Africa reported the presence of a new variant of the SARS-CoV-2 virus to the World Health Organization. The Technical Advisory Group on SARS-CoV-2 Evolution (TAG-VE), an independent group of experts, designated the new variant, denominated “Omicron”, to be a “Variant of Concern” (VOC). The TAG-VE's preliminary analysis of the…

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