A group of MPs have warned that they believe a draft Pandemic Treaty from World Health Organisation (WHO) could oblige sovereign states to follow the agency’s instructions in relation to lockdowns, vaccine passports, and other measures in the future.
Conservative MPs in Britain have written to government ministers saying they believe that there is an “ambition evident…for the WHO to transition from an advisory organisation to a controlling international authority”, the Telegraph reports.
Among 300 proposed amendments to the WHO’s International Health Regulations are “changes to make the WHO’s advice “binding” and introduce a new requirement for countries to recognise it as the global authority on public health measures,” the paper said.
The MPs led by Esther McVey, a former Cabinet minister, said that the treaty would represent a significant shift from an advisory body to an authority with powers of compulsion, according to the Telegraph.
Ms McVey said: “There is, rightly, growing concern about the WHO’s Pandemic Treaty and International Health Regulations.
“The plans represent a significant shift for the organisation, from a member-led advisory body to a health authority with powers of compulsion.
“This is particularly worrying when you consider the WHO’s poor track record on providing consistent, clear and scientifically sound advice for managing international disease outbreaks.”
The letter has also been signed by the Tory MPs Sir John Redwood, David Davis, Philip Davies, Sir Christopher Chope and Danny Kruger.
Mr Kruger said: “Coordination and cooperation in a public health emergency is sensible but ceding control over health budgets and critical decision-making in a pandemic to an unelected international organisation seems profoundly at odds with national autonomy and democratic accountability.”
The MPs have urged the British Foreign Office to block WHO powers that would “appear to intrude materially into the UK’s ability to make its own rules and control its own budgets”.
The 194 member-nations of the WHO agreed last year to develop a pandemic treaty which they say would need to be “agreed by Member States” leaving governments to “take any action while considering their own national laws and regulations”.
Critics say that under a draft update to WHO regulations member states could be obliged to follow the international body’s instructions when responding to pandemics such as introducing vaccine passports, border closures and quarantine measures.
Campaign group Us For Them say that WHO “is currently developing two international legal instruments intended to increase significantly its authority in managing public health emergencies, including pandemics: (1) Amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations (the IHR Amendments); and (2) A pandemic treaty, termed ‘ÇA+’ by the WHO.
“The current draft of the IHR Amendments proposes significant new supra-national powers to be exercised exclusively by the WHO during public health emergencies, and broadens and brings forward in time the circumstances in which those powers could be triggered,” they claim.
They believe that if the draft becomes accepted, this would “hardwire into international law a top-down supranational approach to public health.”
“It would place the WHO at the helm of that approach, giving an unelected and democratically unaccountable organisation sweeping national- and international-level powers to control, direct and interfere in the affairs of its member States and to override fundamental rights of individual citizens,” they campaign group said.
They believe the treaty as drafted would mandate financial contributions from member states to fund pandemic response activities and forcibly quarantine or prevent citizens from travelling.
The campaign group believes the measure would also mean that countries would be forced to “surrender” intellectual property and technologies i relation to future pandemics – and require citizens to disclose their medical status.
“Ministers are understood to be alarmed by plans to increase the WHO’s powers enabling its governing body to require countries to hand over the recipe of vaccines, regardless of intellectual property rights, and to counter misinformation,” the Telegraph also reported.
The WHO’s role in identifying misinformation has been questioned after its experts rejected the “lab leak” Covid origin theory.
Molly Kingsley, co-founder of the UsForThem campaign group, told the Telegraph: “We should all be concerned about the WHO being ordained as an arbiter of pandemic truth, especially given its poor record during the pandemic, such as its claim that Covid was definitively zoonotic in origin and its April 2020 denial of the role of natural immunity in protecting against infection.”
In a twitter exchange earlier this year, Elon Musk tweeted that “countries should not cede authority to WHO”.
In response, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said:
“Countries aren’t ceding sovereignty toCountries aren’t ceding sovereignty to WHO. The Pandemic Accord won’t change that. The accord will help countries better guard against pandemics. It will help us to better protect people regardless of whether they live in countries that are rich or poor.”
Countries aren’t ceding sovereignty to @WHO. The #PandemicAccord won’t change that. The accord will help countries better guard against pandemics. It will help us to better protect people regardless of whether they live in countries that are rich or poor. https://t.co/kYYtyOrh0u
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 23, 2023