In a seminal discussion before the Pandemic Response and Recovery All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) in the UK, leading health experts raised serious concerns over the World Health Organization’s (WHO) proposed Pandemic Treaty and the amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR). The treaty would grant the WHO surveillance and censorship powers.
Dr. David Bell, an ex-WHO medical officer, and Professor Garrett Wallace Brown, who chairs Global Health Policy at the University of Leeds, outlined how the proposals could reshape the dynamics between the WHO and its member nations and imperil critical health initiatives.
The contentious point revolves around the unprecedented authority these proposals could vest in the WHO. According to Dr. Bell, the WHO could wield the power to demand hefty financial contributions from countries, suppress scientific discourse, and enforce travel restrictions, lockdowns, and compulsory vaccinations in response to health emergencies, which the body can declare at its discretion.
Bell explained the transformation of the WHO since its inception in 1946. Initially formed to offer guidance and coordination in health emergencies, it has increasingly become centralized. A shift in funding patterns, notably from private donors, has led to the WHO turning into an organization where external influences dictate the agenda. The implications of this shift are particularly alarming when considering the broadened definitions of health emergencies. “The WHO was established in 1946 with the best of intentions… Over the decades we have seen a significant change in direction… It is a worrying background against which the IHR amendments and the Treaty are being negotiated,” said Bell.
The discussion also elicited responses from UK lawmakers. Esther McVey, APPG Co-Chair, called for greater parliamentary scrutiny, questioning the wisdom of granting sweeping powers to the WHO, a largely privately-funded body with no apparent oversight. McVey, referring to the WHO’s track record, expressed skepticism. “It seems unwise to give an unelected and largely privately-funded supranational body power over sovereignty and individual rights with seemingly no oversight,” she opined.
Labour MP Graham Stringer, also an APPG Co-Chair, voiced opposition to the WHO’s prospective expansion of powers. He expressed anxiety regarding the likely influence of commercial interests within the WHO and cited the organization’s controversial stance on mask-wearing as indicative of political, rather than scientific, decision-making. Stringer stressed that the potential impact on public health, democracy, civil liberties, and individual rights necessitates rigorous debate and transparent review.
Both experts and parliamentarians conveyed the urgent need for caution and thorough analysis of the WHO’s proposed changes, calling for countries to retain autonomy in addressing public health challenges, and for the protection of global health initiatives from undue influence.
Article cross-posted from Reclaim The Net.