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Overcoming the Global Vaccine and Therapeutics Lag and ‘Vaccine Apartheid’: Abuse of Rights in the EU’s Continued Blocking of the TRIPS Waiver for COVID Vaccines and Related Medicines

Entering the third year of this global pandemic, the United States posted a grim global record of 1 million COVID cases on 3 January 2022.  This record, of course, exists in a shadow of relative non-transparency about COVID incidences, fatalities, and hospitalizations in many parts of the world, arising either from authoritarian regimes refusing to provide open access to population and community health data (with a latest scientific study indicating outright data manipulation in authoritarian regimes to yield low numbers), or sheer resource challenges and health system incapacities on the part of many developing countries that make it nearly impossible to accurately track and report this data.  Official COVID death tolls are routinely undercounted in many developed and developing parts of the world.  The World Health Organization declared that the real COVID death toll is two or three times what the official statistics say.  While initial tracking of COVID vaccine supplies (see December 2021 data tracker by the International Monetary Fund and the World Health Organization) appeared promising, the…

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International Economic Law in a Time of Global Perils: Omicron and other COVID variants, Climate Change, Human Rights, and Development

The World Trade Organization decided to indefinitely postpone its 12th Ministerial Conference, originally scheduled for this week (30 November to 3 December), due to travel constraints for many delegations coming from countries that had already imposed travel bans and other restrictions due to the new Omicron variant.  The 12th Ministerial was slated to take up a…

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The Endless War Against Human Rights in Afghanistan: Human Rights Defenders’ Joint Statement of Solidarity with the People of Afghanistan

Today, the 31st of August 2021, marks the official deadline for withdrawal of United States troops from Afghanistan after twenty years of military presence initially motivated by the 9/11 attacks of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden.  Many have written (including Henry Kissinger) about the failures of American foreign policy and its efforts at nation-building…

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FIDH and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium: Chronicle of a Conviction Foretold

On 3 February 2021 the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) publicized its decision in International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and Inclusion Europe v. Belgium. The decision followed a collective complaint by two organisations alleging a violation of Belgium’s obligations under the European Social Charter and is the latest in a series of ECSR-decisions on…

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Some Vaccination Questions, Ethical and Legal

It’s difficult to think of a more pressing problem today than how scarce coronavirus vaccines should be distributed between and within states. Newspapers are full of discussions of ‘vaccine nationalism,’ of the EU-UK-Astra Zeneca row, or of the limited availability of vaccines in the developing world. For us as international lawyers, obviously, the further issue – one to…

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