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Health: why Africa opposed the American reform of the RSI

RSI

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO

At the 75th World Health Assembly, African delegates opposed the reform of the International Health Regulations (IHR), proposed by the United States. The text would constitute an attack on the sovereignty of member states, according to several officials.

Since May 22, the World Health Assembly (WHA) has met for the 75th time in Geneva, Switzerland. On the menu of discussions, the reappointment of the director general of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Ethiopian Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, sole candidate. But also, the reform of the International Health Regulations (IHR), in place since 2005.

The IHR give broad powers to the WHO to decide on the health policy of the signatory countries. It is also legally binding for them. The reform, proposed by the United States, was refused by all African countries, but also by Malaysia, Italy, Iran, Russia and even Brazil.

The Batswana Moses Keetile, spokesman for the African bloc, as well as the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro highlighted “the draconian nature” of the RSI reform.

“Brazil will not sign this 'WHO pandemic treaty'. National sovereignty is not something to be handed over to the WHO or renounced for the benefit of other entities, only to join a club of so-called advanced nations”, hammered the Brazilian head of state.

For Moses Keetile, representing the continent, “Africa shares the view that this process should not be accelerated”. A petition has been launched, currently signed by 62 people, including 000 government officials and 2 organizations around the world.

A reform of the IHR which gives extended powers to the WHO

If this American reform of the RSI faced so much resistance within a generally consensual meeting, it is precisely because it gives the director of the WHO broad powers over the sovereign institutions of the States. And, although the latter is currently African, we saw it clearly during the pandemic, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus is far from consensus.

According to investigative journalist James Roguski, who had lodged a complaint against this American proposal to reform the IHR, “the WHO is fomenting a coup against the rights and sovereignty of member states and their citizens”. He also believes that the reform "would cede the sovereignty of countries to the globalists".

Within the WHO, the Working Group for Pandemic Response (WGPR) has stated that “in the absence of consensus, 12 of the 13 proposed amendments will not be considered at the WHA”. What Roguski, as well as the delegations having refused the reform, find insufficient.

Because, in fact, the remaining amendment of the American proposal modifies the RSI, so that the rejection of its modification allows a new attempt after 6 months, instead of 18 according to the 2005 RSI.

A “liberticidal” text?

Among the heads of state who have called for this reform of the RSI, in addition to Joe Biden, we find French President Emmanuel Macron. In a video, he declares that “WHO is the only legitimate institution to guarantee universal health security, and allow us to have a coordinated, united and united response”.

Among the modifications proposed by the American text, there is also "the right of the WHO to deploy specialists in the member country concerned (where a risk of a pandemic exists, editor's note), and to recommend a health protocol to be adopted".

According to the RSI in its current format, the refusal to comply by member states leads to sanctions ranging from the suspension of the right to vote at the AMS, to the suspension of the same right at the General Assembly of the United Nations.

It is therefore understandable that several countries qualify this reform of the RSI as “liberticide”. It should be noted that the AMS has already voted this Tuesday the text tripling the compulsory contributions of the Member States of the WHO. Another reform which tends to grant more powers to the organization, which has become much more powerful since the Covid-19 pandemic.

Read: Anti-Covid vaccination: Covax's bitter failure

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