As the world continues to learn the lessons of the Covid-19 pandemic, a new set of principles will guide the future of aid. Human rights Published in International Medical Emergencies and discussed at the 76th World Health Assembly (WHA) event on Tuesday.
The event titled “Beyond panic and complacency: building a human rights framework for public health emergency prevention, preparedness and response;He looked at a new collection Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Public Health Emergencies, produced by a three-year partnership between the Global Health Law Consortium (GHLC) and the International Commission of JuristsICJ.)
The core human rights principles and obligations fall into eight categories:
1 – Universal use of human rights
2 – International cooperation
3 – Rule of law
4 – Equality and non-discrimination
5 – Human rights activities related to non-state actors
6 – Transparency and access to information
7 – Meaningful and effective participation
8 – Finding accountability and justice for people affected by human rights violations and abuses
Principles bring lessons from covid and previous epidemics, epidemics
Drafted by 150 individuals from other health and human rights organizations and WHO officials, the principles have drawn lessons from past outbreaks and epidemics, including cholera, dengue, Ebola, HIV and Zika. In addition, the experts observed situations in which effective public health policies and insufficient response to human rights obligations have resulted in dire consequences.
“What is needed is timely treatment and consideration of what needs to be done to ensure a comprehensive rights-based approach to public health emergencies, including respect for health and related rights. We believe that these new principles represent a step forward in efforts to ensure that human rights are protected and respected in times of crisis. Ian Seiderman, Director of Law and Policy at the ICJ, told the gathering.
“This event marks the first public discussion on the new principles and guidelines and their subject matter, focusing on the role of international human rights law in guiding approaches to public health emergencies.”
The principles promote the universality of human rights, including equality and non-discrimination, transparency and access to information and accountability, and access to justice for those affected by human rights abuses or violations.
The principles are consistent with the epidemic agreement
The release of the Principles coincided with the release of a new “Zero+” draft The World Health Organization (WHO) Epidemic Convention, which is currently being negotiated by member states.
“We’ve seen many governments move from indifference to rapid action, often in panic, to respond to public health threats that are spreading out of control,” said Roujin Habibi, a founding member of the Global Health Law Consortium. The development of principles. “Around the world, we’ve seen countries deploy a range of measures in response to this public health threat, from mask mandates to lockdowns to isolation and quarantine.
“The international community must learn to break out of the cycle of panic and indifference, which marginalizes human rights from decision-making and policy-making. The principles developed through consensus and consultation between the 30 Principles of International Health Law and Human Rights provide an authoritative interpretation of international law to help guide the lesson.”
It was emphasized by Dr. Viviana Muñoz Tellez, who drafted the World Health Organization Pandemic Convention: “All life is of equal value, and therefore equality must be the principle, indicator and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.” The Southern Center, a Geneva-based intergovernmental organization that helps developing countries advance their common interests on the international stage, raised the issue of vaccine inequity.
“We could have avoided at least a million and a half deaths,” said Tellez. The idea is that when we have vaccine doses, we distribute them at least 20% more evenly and identify the more vulnerable populations that need to go first. But, unfortunately, that did not happen, mainly because the developed countries had greater commitment to marketing.
“Instead of cooperation, we had competition. That was one of the problems.”
The role of the private health sector
Since the outbreak, the private health sector has also come under intense scrutiny. However, one aspect that the principles clarify is that the government should monitor and control private actors. The principles themselves do not impose any direct obligations on distant, non-state actors. Rather, in all outbreak prevention, response and recovery measures, states state that they are responsible for ensuring that non-state actors do not violate any human rights law and that they must monitor and control non-state actors to prevent them. Violations of human rights and provide redress and accountability.
Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona, executive director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, said on private actors, “What started before the pandemic was the privatization, commercialization and financing of public services such as health care, water, sanitation and hygiene. and education. There are many ways in which private actors are involved in health care.
“We must act now. We must ensure that everyone who needs it has access to a comprehensive, invincible health system at affordable or no cost. And this is included in the principles.
The hope is that the COVID-19 pandemic will lead to changes in laws to help prepare for and respond to global health emergencies, the presenters said.
“The next time this happens, we need to use these principles to come up with laws, rules and regulations to address this problem,” said Saman Zia-Zarifi, executive director of Physicians for Medicine. A human rights activist told the panel. Not only do we give money to companies to support their employees who can’t come to the office, but we continue to support the informal sector where the majority of people live and work in most countries.
The new principles allow actors to play their part in change.
“These principles can serve as a sort of North Star for everyone,” Zia-Zarifi said. “They establish some clear lines of action. They don’t tell governments what to do, but give them a direction to act and a way to think.”
The Geneva Postgraduate Institute, the Center for Global Health and the International Geneva Global Health Forum, the International Commission of Jurists, the Global Health Law Alliance, the International Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Physicians for Human Rights have organized the panel.
Image Credits: Screenshot.
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