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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 World Health Organization, medical providers, research institutes, pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals and hospital networks—triggered a two-day virtual workshop at the University of Oxford. That workshop—co-sponsored by the Oxford Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict (ELAC) at the Blavatnik School of Government, Microsoft, and the Government of Japan—yielded the first Oxford Statement on the International Law Protections against Cyber Operations Targeting the Health-Care Sector.  More than 130 international lawyers from across the globe (including some of the field’s most experienced and accomplished figures) have become signatories to this Statement. It articulated a short list of consensus protections that apply under existing international law to cyber operations targeting the healthcare sector. Its announcement sparked discussion at a May 2020…

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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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Is the National Security Exception in the TRIPS Agreement a Realistic Option in Confronting COVID-19?

It has been suggested by some scholars and commentators that states can invoke the national security exception in the TRIPS Agreement as part of measures to tackle COVID-19 (see here, here, and here). This would entail invoking the security exception to suspend the enforcement of patent rights in order to facilitate either the importation or…

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COVID-19 and EJIL

We are pulled in opposite directions in the face of a global upending of normal life. We find it attractive, even if hunkered down at home, as is our whole editorial team, in six different countries, to continue serenely our normal work in the face of a-normalcy. The life of the mind, the scholarly endeavor continues – even…

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Corporate Human Rights Due Diligence in times of COVID-19

The lockdown measures imposed following the COVID-19 outbreak have generated novel and significant challenges for businesses.  As firms redouble their efforts to ensure business continuity and redirect supply chains – and, in some jurisdictions, transition back to normal operating conditions – there is heightened risk of adverse human rights impacts materialising throughout the value chain, where such risk…

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