Dark Clouds for Health Sovereignty

14 June 2024
The last week of May was a busy week for the World Health Organization (WHO) annual meeting. The heavily contested amendments to the International Health Regulations 2005 (IHR) and other resolutions were pushed through the 194 member states of the World Health Assembly (WHA) just 90 minutes before the deadline. This hasty approach is concerning, not only due to the content of the amendments but also because of the impending Pandemic Treaty. With its presence in Geneva, Christian Council International (CCI) keeps a close watch on the developments.
Directeur General WHO

By: Wilmer Hak

Concerning amendments to the Regulation
The IHR is a legally binding instrument of the WHO that empowers the WHO to prevent and take mandatory actions against international diseases. After the COVID-19 pandemic, negotiations began to tackle the ‘problems’ faced during the last pandemic in the usage of the IHR. The slow, unfair and unequal approach of member states in tackling the virus was the main issue. The ‘new’ IHR aims to tackle these problems without considering that humans at the core cannot tackle pandemics themselves. 

 This idea of unlimited social engineering is not only visible in the fact that the amendments promote vaccines as the best way to tackle and prevent a pandemic. The promotion of the QR code and travel restrictions for unvaccinated people also portray this worrying vision of the WHO. Besides, many leading researchers are increasingly warning about the harmful consequences and side effects of vaccinations.

These more ethical concerns coincide with major power grabs from the WHO through these amendments. This is, for instance, visible in the fact the WHO’s Director-General can decide when there is a pandemic emergency. The WHO will then propose a plan to tackle this ‘emergency’. The role of national health care in countries is that they must agree with this plan within 48 hours, if they do not agree, the WHO will report this to other countries and the public. This will cause major pressure on a member state because other countries will impose travel restrictions or sanctions, not to mention the public unrest, while there might be no emergency at all.

This infringement on healthcare sovereignty becomes even more visible if we take a close look at the change in terminology in the IHR. It is quite remarkable to see that the new term ‘pandemic emergency’ is mentioned in the context of a public health emergency of international concern. This term opens the authority of the WHO to act during an emergency and to implement measurements. The problem however is that the criteria when there is a pandemic emergency are not exhaustively listed. They contain the wording ‘including’ which indicates that there can be more reasons as mentioned. Therefore, the WHO can decide at any time when there is a cross-border disease, such as HIV, that there is a pandemic emergency.

The new Regulation in a Broader Context
If we place this extensive competence of the WHO into a broader context, the real aim of the amended IHR will arise. Just one week after the IHR was adopted, the WHO added with a secret ballot the highly controversial Center of Reproductive Rights (an abortion, LGBTQ+ promoting organization) to the list of official relations with the WHO. In another resolution adopted during the last week of May, the Social Participation Resolution, they also mentioned that SRHR (concerning sexual autonomy, abortion, LGBTQ+, and contraceptives) belonged to primary health care. The third resolution which was adopted concerning hazard response contained a provision to protect vulnerable people. These vulnerable people also included, without any reason, the LGBTQ+ persons. 

All these documents are still missing one vital aspect, the Pandemic Treaty (more information: see opinion-article CCI Pandemic Treaty). This document was also pushed by the International Negotiation Bureau (INB), the negotiation bureau of the WHO, but failed to be adopted. This Treaty (it will probably become a treaty) includes the opening of a worldwide stock network of relevant medical health products. The WHO will assess with other relevant ‘stakeholders’ which products are relevant. This is because of the whole-society approach the IHR promotes where all relevant actors, including the new ones mentioned above, cooperate. This stock network will prioritize primary healthcare products, which are also abortion kits, contraceptives and many other products which aren’t relevant at all. The IHR mentions their priority as they are already decided as primary health care in the Social Participation Regulation. Therefore, the stockpiles of pharmaceutical ‘stakeholders’ are already filling up with all of these ‘relevant’ products to be distributed freely when the WHO decides the next pandemic.


However, this devious approach with all this terminology and resolutions is not a surprise. The major donors and drivers behind all these resolutions and treaties are the European Union and the Biden Administration. Prime Minister Trudeau of Canada, who already has misused an old emergency law and prosecuted many unvaccinated people in the country in a totalitarian way, is also a frontrunner. The Biden administration, for instance, donated more than 1.2 billion taxpayers’ money, to the WHO (which is 15% of their annual budget). This does not include the $829 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The worrying aspect is that many countries worldwide are seeing a fata morgana. This is because of two other, devious approaches from the WHO. First, many countries are triggered by the idea of equitable access to vaccines. The African group, for instance, contains many conservative countries which do not promote the policies mentioned above. However, due to their lack of equal access to medical healthcare products, many aspects which include potential vaccine mandates from the WHO, are being overlooked.

The second deceiving approach to take away sovereignty is even more cunning. The WHO gives trial periods and ratification periods to countries which want to withdraw. In this timeframe, which was mostly around 12 to 18 months but has now changed to 10 months, countries can make reservations on the amendments. Afterwards, the treaty becomes binding. What is overlooked again is that reservations which are not compatible with the objective of the Treaty, as set out by the WHO, can be rejected by a majority of the WHA. In this way, countries will still obey the rules of the WHO without the national parliaments’ consent.

Call to action
The WHO has been busy for a reason. In May this year, all 49 Republican senators in the United States spoke out against the worldwide authority of the WHO. Furthermore, in November 2024, God’s willing, there will be presidential elections in the United States. Presidential candidate Trump has already criticized the WHO for their unethical policies and infringements on sovereignty. In 2020, he already suspended all financial support to the WHO and is threatening to do that again. The WHO would be in serious problems if that happens again. But the rush to make all these documents legally binding, including the Pandemic Treaty, is mainly due to the feared and certain loss of power from the WHO in the event of a Republican victory in November.

The INB will gather again in July to negotiate the Pandemic Treaty. If consensus is reached quickly, the treaty could be finalized this year in a special session of the WHA. Otherwise, it will be finalized at the WHA in 2025. To adopt this Treaty, if it will become a treaty, which is quite likely, a two-thirds majority must vote in favour. Afterwards, member states can make objections and reservations. On the already adopted amendments to the IHR member states can make reservations or refuse to ratify the document.

For the Netherlands, a special procedure is put into place. The Dutch delegation in Geneva stated that the new government, not the current caretaker government, must ‘approve’ these amendments. It is advised to do this before the Pandemic Treaty is put into place to prevent any confusion or obscurity on what to agree on or not, especially because of the misleading ratification periods.  For the new cabinet in The Hague, it is therefore necessary to closely look at the amendments and their effects on national sovereignty and individual rights as soon as possible.

If our personal freedom and national sovereignty are valuable to us, quick action is necessary for all the member states of the WHO. We call upon all members of Parliaments and citizens around the world to resist the amended IHR and all the other resolutions and to refuse the ratification. For the Pandemic Treaty which still must be adopted, we urge all member states, especially developing countries, to withdraw from the document, as this is paving the way for an authoritarian, unethical WHO rather than an advisory WHO. This resistance will be strengthened by supporting the CCI. By making a permanent council and supervision in Geneva, we are capable of drawing attention to important problems within international treaties to diplomats from all over the world. Hereby we advocate for the protection of life, family, and freedom, and in this case also health sovereignty and the protection of personal freedom regarding the decision to vaccinate or not.

Wilmer Hak is CCI Policy Officer Geneva