WHO Illegally Forces New Regulations After “Pandemic Agreement” Fails

Jun 6, 2024

The 77th World Health Assembly opened May 27 and immediately failed to pass the proposed World Health Organization (WHO) “Pandemic Agreement” which would have given the WHO global authority to govern public health. After the failure, the WHO focused on a parallel effort to revise existing International Health Regulations (IHR) that guide national pandemic responses. In the early morning hours of June 2 (the last day of the assembly being June 1), the WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus reportedly claimed there was a “consensus” and illegally enacted the new “legally binding” IHRs without a floor vote contrary to established rules and protocols.

Reports from independent journalists stated only about one-third of member nations were present for the final approval session and only 37 out of the 194 member nations supported the revised IHRs, including the U.S. delegation. Objections were only allowed after the approval where at least six nations expressed opposition after the fact, which reportedly included Argentina, Belarus, Costa Rica, Iran, Russia, and Slovakia.

The assembly ended with plans to finalize a future “pandemic agreement.” The WHO authorized its Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to begin meeting again in July 2024 to continue working toward finalizing an agreement by later this year or before the 2025 World Health Assembly.

In the meantime, the updated IHRs require the nations to develop “core capacities” over the next five years that they must “exercise perpetually” when “preventing, preparing for and responding to public health risks.” The IHRs, which were first created in 1969 and last modified in 2005, take major steps in the wake of COVID-19 to conform and integrate each nation’s pandemic responses by directing them to develop “core” capabilities in areas of Surveillance (vaccine passports/digital health certificates), Risk Communication (censoring misinformation and disinformation), Implementation of Control Measures (social distancing/lockdowns), Access to Health Services and Products (greater sharing of resources and technologies between countries), and more. However, the language was weakened during the assembly negotiations giving the nations leeway to implement these directives as their “national law allows.” 

Even with the weakened language, the final version of the IHRs significantly enhances the WHO’s authority. The scope of the IHRs include directives for nations to create a “national IHR authority” that reports to the WHO and is responsible for implementing these regulations. The scope for this national entity includes the “sovereign right” to “legislate” national laws to ensure IHR implementation within the nation. The IHRs also broadly redefine “pandemic emergency” as a “high risk” disease that causes a “public health emergency of international concern.” Under this definition, an emergency could trigger more power for the WHO’s director-general to make binding decisions on national and international responses. A specific amendment requires nations to “strengthen sustainable financing” by increasing “domestic funding” for IHRs and sharing “financial resources” which could send U.S. taxpayer dollars to any country the WHO determines needs them. Other ambiguous provisions require nations to implement the IHRs with “equity and solidarity” in full respect of “human dignity” to provide equitable access to health services and products. 

In summary, the amendments increasingly beholden member nations to comply with the WHO’s pandemic response measures, to share public health resources, and support measures with taxpayer funding. 

Legal Violations of the 2024 IHR Amendments 

After failing to first pass the “Pandemic Agreement” on May 27, 2024, Director-General Tedros urged the assembly to “try everything” in order to pass the IHR amendments before the end of the assembly, including revising the amendments on-site for ratification.

In response, 234 elected officials from 35 countries expressed “profound concern” in a signed letter advising Tedros any on-site revisions ratified before the end of the assembly would be “null and void” according to the rules. The officials stated that IHR and World Health Assembly rules require any amendment revisions be made available to the member nations “at least four months” before they are eligible for adoption. They further noted that protocol levied a prohibition on “rushing agreements,” required negotiations be “transparent,” and stipulated that amendments are only made valid by an “authentic roll-call vote.” 

According to a press release by the Sovereignty Coalition, which had several representatives attend the assembly, the process of adopting the IHRs in the final session “flagrantly” violated all those rules and protocols.

The Sovereignty Coalition stated the members met “literally in the dark of night” and “were not given even four hours to examine myriad proposed changes.” The final session was said to have included just about “30 percent of the member states” which was much less than a “necessary quorum” to pass any measures. Director-General Tedros reportedly declined to conduct a roll-call vote and announced a “consensus” among the present nations and declared the IHR amendments that were revised on-site approved.

The violations “prevented governments and civil society” from analyzing the amendments to “discern” the implications which displays the WHO’s “disregard for the rule of law,” stated the Sovereignty Coalition.

Despite the rule violations, the WHO is moving forward under the new IHRs.

Future “Pandemic Agreement” and Opposition 

After two years of negotiation, the nations entered the World Health Assembly still far apart on many aspects of the “Pandemic Agreement.” But as negotiations are slated to keep on going, questions arise as to what a future agreement would look like if an agreement is reached. One of the main issues breeding discontent among citizens about any pandemic agreement is the notion of ceding of national sovereignty during what the WHO considers a “public health emergency.” 

A recent draft of the failed agreement would have compelled the United States to lay groundwork for entering into a global surveillance infrastructure, follow WHO policies on “routine immunization” and “social measures” including lockdowns, abide by a “One Health Approach” that equalizes the value of human, animal and plant life, and require America to turn over 20 percent of its vaccine supplies for global redistribution. While called an “agreement, this pandemic plan is widely seen as a “treaty,” which would normally require the U.S. Senate to approve it with a two-thirds majority vote. However, by calling it an “agreement,” the Biden administration is bypassing Senate approval to unilaterally bind the U.S. to the WHO invariably ceding U.S. national sovereignty.

However, numerous U.S. senators, governors, and attorneys general are standing “united” to keep America’s sovereignty intact. In May 2024, 49 Republican senators, 24 Republican governors, and 22 state attorneys general sent letters to Joe Biden urging him to stand down on entering into a pandemic agreement.

Forty-nine U.S. Senators stated an agreement of this magnitude cannot be unilaterally adopted and must be submitted to the Senate for approval. They noted a pandemic treaty that focuses on “mandated resource and technology transfers, shredding intellectual property rights, infringing free speech, and supercharging the WHO” would be “dead on arrival” in the Senate.

Twenty-four state governors stated that empowering the WHO to restrict rights and freedoms including “speech, privacy, travel, choice of medical care, and informed consent” would violate the “core principles” of the U.S. Constitution. The governors emphasized they would “resist” attempts to “transfer authority” of public policy over their citizens. 

Twenty-two state attorneys general similarly noted they will “resist” the WHO’s public health policies because “the federal government cannot delegate public health decisions to an international body” since the Constitution “reserves those powers for the States.” 

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “The failure of the ‘Pandemic Agreement’ was a victory, but the weakened amendments to the International Health Regulations illegally presented are still of major concern. The IHRs expand the authority of the World Health Organization which has no respect for the rule of law. U.S. sovereignty is not negotiable. The U.S. should withdraw from the WHO.”

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