IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

The case for global constitutionalism in pandemic times

As the first shock wave caused by the Covid-19 has partially passed, the conditions and effects of the epidemic and even the post-pandemic process started to be discussed among international public law scholars. So far, the “online” debates among international lawyers seem to focus on a few issues, and one of the solid topics emerging from these debates is the question of whether we are currently witnessing the end of …

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IL in Pandemic TimesSymposium

To sue or not to sue

Enforcing the obligation to notify under the international health regulations

Various areas of international law highlight the value of information and the essential role of the obligation to notify in fulfilling other duties. The current COVID-19 global crisis has further stressed the significance of notification requirements, given the hypothesized possibility that the pandemic could have been averted had the obligation to notify been fulfilled. Through International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) cases that analyze this obligation, mainly relative to the customary …

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Current Developments

The role of soft law in the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases

In an increasingly globalised world, health issues transcend the domain of national legislation. This holds true not only for infectious diseases, as seen with the current outbreak of the Corona-Virus, but also for non-communicable diseases (NCD) such as diabetes, cancer, obesity or cardiovascular diseases. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the latter are the leading global cause of death by killing 41 million people each year worldwide. A considerable …

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BofaxeCurrent Developments

Leaving no one behind?

Special needs in times of COVID-19

In the current COVID-19 pandemic, the rights and special needs of persons with disabilities are once again neglected dramatically. It is bitterly unsurprising that the topic arrived on the agenda of international policy makers only when UN special rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas, criticized the lack of awareness and resulting inaction in mid-March. UNICEF was finally the first international organization to publish considerations on children …

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Book ReviewResponse

Global information governance in pandemic times

In the geopolitics of global health information, international institutional law is more important than ever

The main argument of my book, which we are discussing in this symposium, is that international institutions are not only diplomatic fora, lawmakers or financiers, but also act and govern through information, knowledge and expertise. Their informational activities are governed by a body of law that strikes an uneasy balance between international cooperation, state sovereignty and individual rights. This balance is becoming all the more salient in times of a …

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Call for ContributionsCurrent DevelopmentsIL in Pandemic Times

Call for Contributions: International law in pandemic times

The current COVID-19 pandemic is a health crisis of global dimension. With numerous countries imposing shut-downs, closing their borders and limiting international trade and cooperation, the crisis in some ways appears to have prompted a return of the nation state that seemed unimaginable only weeks ago and has already given rise to the question whether we are currently witnessing the end of globalization (see on this here and here). International …

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Current Developments

Is the spread of Coronavirus already a pandemic?

Unpacking a (legal) definition

On 26 February 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO)’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated that the current spread of the coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) “has pandemic potential”. That is, despite the fact that the virus was already reported in all continents except Antarctica, there was still no reason to use the “P” word. He further clarified that declaring it as such would not carry any benefit, rather would only “increase fear and …

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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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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

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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