Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part II)

In the first part of this two-part post, we broadly addressed the legal framework provided by the International Health Regulations (IHR), a binding legal instrument within the aegis of the World Health Organization (WHO). In the following subsections, we turn to two more legal dimensions, which were directly at stake during the 2014-2016 West African Ebola crisis and are also present in the COVID-19 pandemic, namely: 1) the role played …

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Current Developments

The governance of disease outbreaks in international health law

From Ebola to COVID-19 (Part I)

A deadly virus starts spreading in several communities. Reports are issued warning of the potential fallout if no action is taken. Yet both national authorities, as well as the WHO, the United Nations as such, and the international community as a whole are subjected to harsh criticism for ignoring the initial warning signs. Had they acted sooner, some say, more lives could have been saved. An overreliance on epidemiological assessments …

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Bernard Spragg, Diamond Princess, Flickr, CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Current Developments

40 days and 40 nights

Human rights in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak and quarantines

The word ‘quarantine’ is rooted in the practice of quaranta giorni, which meant isolating ships arriving from infected ports for 40 days. For ages, countries have dressed the curtailment of individual liberties in the garb of safeguarding public health, and the recent Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak is no different. Infected, symptomatic and even asymptomatic people are facing a violation of their privacy, inordinate restrictions on their movement and risk of infection …

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Current Developments

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus outbreak and the importance of good faith for international law

The 2019-2020 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak first identified in Wuhan, China currently stands at the center of the international community’s focus. The World Health Organization (WHO) issues daily situation reports on the virus’ spread. Alternatively, other sources are constantly being updated thanks to almost real-time tracking technology (see also the website created by members of the John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering). At the time of writing, the …

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DiscussionResponse

Understanding the impact of different concepts of surrogate mother for the regulation of international surrogacy arrangements

A response to Sharon Bassan

In her post to this blog, Sharon Bassan advances the argument for a duty on consumers’ states to regulate cross-border surrogacy transactions. The factual background is as follows: intended parents residing in a country with a higher average income, travel to a country with a lower average income, usually in eastern Europe or the global south, to make use of the services of a surrogate mother, and then return to …

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International Health GovernanceSymposium

The WHO’s Institutional and Legal Role in Communicable Disease Epidemics

From Pandemic Influenza to Zika

On 1 February, 2016, the World Health Organization´s (WHO) Director-General declared that the Zika virus epidemic in the Americas is a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). The illness caused by this virus is very rarely fatal, and it causes mild symptoms: rash, headaches, conjunctivitis, sometimes fever and joint pains. Besides, an estimated 80% of cases are asymptomatic, which makes it next to impossible to establish an exact number …

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International Health GovernanceSymposium

Infectious Diseases as a New Threat to International Peace and Security

The Security Council and the Securitization of Health

The last quarter of century registered the resurgence of infectious diseases, that the medical community deemed to have defeated with the global vaccination campaign. Global health challenges, represented by pandemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, Ebola and Zika, arisen in developing countries, whose spread in developed countries has been facilitated by the process of globalization, determined the emersion of a global/collective interest to the protection of health. The global health governance …

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International Health GovernanceSymposium

The Human Right to Health in Africa

Great Expectations, but Poor Results

Thirty years after the entry into force of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights (ACHPR), the protection of human rights still encounters many difficulties in the majority of the African States. Above all, the implementation of the ‘second generation’ human rights seems largely unrealistic, in spite of the great expectations emerging from the pertaining legal texts. The human right to health, enshrined in Article 16 of the ACHPR, …

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International Health Governance

Fostering Regional Health Governance in West Africa

The Role of the West African Health Organization (WAHO)

Regional integration in Africa has been regarded as a necessary step towards accelerated development on the continent. The belief is that greater gains would be made if states pooled their resources together rather than act individually. Despite elaborate regional goals and objectives, regional institutions in Africa have not been effective in facilitating development, for two major reasons. First, they have significant capacity deficits, especially considering the weakness of their members …

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International Health GovernanceSymposium

Creating Legal Effects for the WHO’s International Health Regulations (2005)

Which way forward?

During the Ebola-crisis 2014, states have widely ignored the measures recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and have interfered in the fight against the disease. This blogpost suggests ways to address shortcomings in states’ adherence to the law. Global Health Crisis and the World Health Organization Globalization facilitates the worldwide spread of diseases. Recently, Ebola throughout Western Africa, and Zika in Latin America and the Caribbean gave rise to …

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