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Persons at Sea, International Law and Covid-19

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to affect people around the world, the scholarly debate on how to uphold the rule of law amid the crisis remains relevant. A significant aspect of this debate has focused on the impact of Covid-19 restrictions on human rights (see, for example, here, here and here). However, it is not only the human rights of people on land that have been affected by the pandemic. One of the measures that states adopted to contain the spread of the virus has been port restrictions which range from delayed port clearance and prevention of crew or passengers from embarking or disembarking to prevention of discharging or loading cargo, taking on fuel, water, food or supplies and imposition of quarantine. These restrictions have caused an unprecedented humanitarian crisis at sea affecting the human rights of almost all persons found at sea during the pandemic be it for employment, leisure, military purposes or migration. This short post puts a spotlight on the impact that port restrictions, as a Covid-19 precaution, have had…

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“I want to break free”: the WHO Foundation as an Experiment in the Financing of International Organisations

The current COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the World Health Organization (WHO) into sharp relief. Views differ on the questions of whether the WHO has convincingly managed the pandemic, whether its International Health Regulations are up to scratch and whether it and its current leadership are under too heavy influence of China, other member states or even private actors…

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International Law and the Right to Food: What We Can Learn from Racial Justice Movements

Until very recently, international law usually dealt with questions of race and racism through two primary mechanisms: denial and containment. On the one hand, the outlawing and criminalisation of the most egregious forms of racial discrimination contributed to the narrative that international law was the polar opposite and even the primary antagonist of racism, which was…

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The Second Oxford Statement on International Law Protections of the Healthcare Sector During COVID-19: Safeguarding Vaccine Research

The alarming spread of the global COVID-19 pandemic—now infecting nearly 19 million and claiming more than 700,000 lives worldwide—has made it increasingly urgent to define international law protections for the health care sector against malicious cyber operations. In May 2020, malicious cyberattacks on organizations at the frontline of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic—including the…

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Cyber Operations against Vaccine R & D: Key International Law Prohibitions and Obligations

By August, COVID-19 had killed 700,000 people world-wide, while at least 18 million have been infected by the virus. It now appears that the best hope for battling the pandemic may lie in multiple vaccines. This reality has sparked vaccine nationalism, as states compete for the supplies that hopefully will become available early next year. For…

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