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Last week at the 75th World Health Assembly (WHA) meeting in Geneva, Switzerland, the Biden administration’s attempt to present 13 proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) that would empower the World Health Organization (WHO) to unilaterally declare a “public health emergency” for any reason, failed miserably.

None of Joe Biden’s 13 proposed amendments were adopted by the WHO. Rather than reducing the time frame, as Biden sought, the delegates agreed to extend the time for a member nation to reject an amendment from 9 to 10 months. The current 24-month time to implement a regulation after entry into force of an amendment remains the same.

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A “Working Group on IHR Amendments” (WGIHR) has been established and there are upcoming meetings scheduled to continue the process of discussing proposed IHR amendments. The timelines for IHR amendments and a new Pandemic Treaty are as follows:

Proposed IHR Amendments Timeline:

September 30, 2022 – deadline for proposed amendments to IHR

October 1, 2022 – Director-General to convene IHR Review Committee to make technical recommendations on the proposed IHR amendments

November 15, 2022 – WGIHR meets to consider IHR amendments

January 15, 2023 – IHR Review Committee reports to the Director-General

May 2023 – Present proposed IHR amendments at the 76th annual World Health Association meeting

Proposed New Pandemic Treaty Timeline:

June 16-17 – request to speak or submit written statement regarding the new Pandemic Treaty

August 1 – working draft of new Pandemic Treaty is submitted

Throughout the week, delegates from nations like Australia, the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States spoke in support of the amendments and urged other states to join them in signing away their countries’ sovereignty. However, other countries such as Africa, Brazil, Brunei, Namibia, Bangladesh, Russia, Malaysia, India, China, and Iran expressed reservations or objected to the proposed amendments. Brazil said it would exit the WHO altogether, rather than allow its population to be made subject to the new amendments. The African delegation expressed reservations about these IHR amendments, saying all reforms should be tackled together as part of a “holistic package” later. Iran and Malaysia are reported to have also expressed reservations to the proposed IHR amendments, while Russia and Brazil seem set to possibly exit the WHO.

Therefore, when the WHA ended on Saturday, May 28, the Biden administration failed to have its proposed amendments added to the IHR.

On January 18, 2022, officials from the Biden administration quietly sent the WHO the original 13 amendments to the current International Health Regulationsand tried to keep them hidden without an official statement or a single press conference. These were not made public until April 12, 2022, when a researcher, discovered them on March 31. The proposed amendments, in combination with the existing ones, enabled Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and any future Director-General to have unrestricted powers to define and then implement their interventions and to declare “health emergencies” at will.

During the WHA in Geneva on Tuesday, May 24, a new set of amendments, “Conference Page 7,” was submitted in complete violation of Article 55 Section 2 of the IHR, which requires amendments to be submitted at least four months prior to the WHA. After more than 50 nations objected, the secretary reserved rooms so they could have “backroom discussions” in order to persuade those countries that were objecting to the amendments. These efforts failed.

Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver stated, “The Biden administration and the World Health Organization suffered a stunning defeat. The WHO must not become the global authority on public health issuing directives influenced by its funding stakeholders that impact the sovereignty of independent nations. We must continue to monitor the WHO because the effort to gain more global authority has not abated.”

Author: Liberty Counsel

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