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URGENT CALL FOR TD’S TO TABLE A MOTION ON THE WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION’S AGREEMENT ON PANDEMIC, PREVENTION, PREPARATION AND RESPONSE: STOP THE GOVERNMENT FROM AGREEING TO A GLOBAL LEGAL INSTRUMENT THAT SUSPENDS IRISH SOVEREIGNITY UNDER ARTICLE 6 OF THE CONSTITUTION
We have received several queries following our post of 27th February. We have below explained the implications on a World Health Assembly legal Treaty or Regulation on pandemic response and, at the end of this post, we have drafted a submission that people can send to their TD’s to table a motion. The people of Ireland have a right to be publicly informed and involved in any decision that could potentially suspend our Constitutional right to sovereignty.
We refer to our post of 27th February on the World Health Assembly (‘WHA’) Intergovernmental Negotiating Body’s (‘INB’) first meeting that took place on 24th February to elect two co-chairs and agree on working methods and timelines. The remit for the INB is defined in the decision adopted on 1st December by the WHA to:
‘draft and negotiate a WHO, convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic, prevention, preparedness and response, with a view to adoption under Article 19, or under other provisions of the WHO constitution as may be deemed appropriate by the INBG’.
The timeline for the INB is to hold its second meeting no later than 1st August, submit a progress report to the 76th WHA in May 2023 and to submits its outcome to the 77th WHA in May 2024.
At Paragraph 1(3) it states that the INB shall determine an ‘inclusive Member State led process’ to identify ‘the substantive elements of the instrument’ no later than 1st August 2022.
There are 194 WHO Member States that form the WHA. The Director-General of the WHO made an address at the first meeting of the INB and specifically stated that Member States should be ‘encouraged’ to ‘fully participate in the process and support the work of the INB, in developing a new international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response’.
The adopted decision of 1st December 2021 also states that the Director-General is to ‘support the INB by holding public hearings’.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
No later than 1st August 2022, the INB will make a critical decision on whether to proceed with an agreement under the WHO Constitution Article 19 (Treaty), Article 21(Regulation) or Article 23 (Recommendation).
A Treaty or Regulation would have the effect of suspending Ireland’s sovereignty under Article 6 of the Constitution for the period of the declared pandemic as the WHA would have the legal power to mandate prevention, preparedness and response policies for all Member States.
We all know the devastating impact that lockdown measures have had at every stratum of Irish society. We have learned lessons that we, the people, will take action on to ensure that going forward the State will never again have the mandate to impose public health measures that cause such irreparable damage to our Irish society. Professor Johan Giesecke, who spearheaded the Swedish model, warned countries from the outset that lockdown measures for too long would destroy the entire social fabric of society. Sweden is the one country in Europe that rejected lockdowns and, when slammed by the mass media, Anders Tegnell, Chief Epidemiologist, stated that it was the rest of the world that was carrying out a risky experiment, not them.
Nearly two years later and the Boston Herald ran with a headline ‘Sweden Got It Right’ as its death rate is much lower than many countries, including the US and UK. Given that Sweden has one of the oldest populations in the world, the common retort in the mass media to undermine the Swedish model by comparing it to its Nordic neighbours is superficial as it is not contextualised.
A WHA legal instrument on pandemic response would mean that the WHO would mandate Member State policies. The Swedish Model would not exist as a shining light of how NOT to respond by lockdown measures that erode human rights and civil liberties.
A WHA legal instrument also raises significant concerns surrounding issues such as Vaccine Mandates. Would the WHO have the power to mandate vaccines for all 194 Member State countries?
Lawyers for Justice Ireland will be working on submissions and petitions in conjunction with grassroots voluntary groups over the forthcoming period. In the meantime, we would urge people to write to their TD’s as a matter of urgency to demand that a motion is tabled in the Oireachtas for a full debate on the State’s position. We must be particularly watchful during this period when the world’s eye is on what is happening in Ukraine.
CALL FOR TD’S TO TABLE A MOTION
Dear (Insert Name)
Re: The World Health Association Convention, Agreement or other International Instrument on Pandemic Prevention, Preparedness and Response
I am writing to you to urgently take action by tabling a motion so that there is a full public debate on the World Health Association’s (‘WHA’) adopted decision of 1st December 2021 (‘adopted decision’) titled ‘The World Together: Establishment of an intergovernmental negotiating body to strengthen pandemic prevention, preparedness and response’.
The Second Special Session of the WHA adopted a decision to establish an Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (‘INB’) under Rule 41 of its Rules and Procedures. Under Paragraph 1(1) the INB will ‘draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic, prevention and response with a view to adoption under Article 19, or under other provisions of the WHO constitution as may be deemed appropriate…’
The INB held its first meeting on 24th February 2022 . It has been confirmed that the INB will be comprised of representatives from Brazil (Tovar da Silva Nunes), Egypt (Ahmed Soliman), Japan (Kazuho Taguchi), Netherlands (Roland Driece), South Africa (Precious Matsoso), and Thailand (Viroj Tangcharoensathien). The two co-chairs of the INB are Roland Driece (Netherlands) and Precious Matsoso (South Africa).
Under Paragraph 1(3) of the adopted decision the INB shall identify the ‘substantive elements of the instrument’ no later than the schedule for the second meeting of 1st August 2022.
This means the INB will make a critical decision on whether to proceed with an agreement under Article 19 (Treaty), Article 21(Regulation) or Article 23 (Recommendation) of the World Health Organisation’s (‘WHO’) Constitution adopted on 15th February 1946.
An agreement under Article 19 or Article 21 of the WHO’s Constitution would have the effect of suspending Article 6 (1) and (2) of the Irish Constitution during any period that a particular event is defined as constituting a “public health emergency of international concern”
Under Article 6 of the Irish Constitution:
(1) All powers of government, legislative, executive and judicial, derive, under God, from the people, whose right it is to designate the rulers of the State and, in final appeal, to decide all questions of national policy, according to the requirements of the common good.
(2) These powers of government are exercisable only by or on the authority of the organs of State established by this Constitution.
A WHA agreement on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response under Article 19 or 21 would mean that Ireland has no legal authority and power as vested in the State to determine its own national domestic policies. Any such WHA legal instrument has significant implications on our national sovereignty and suspends Article 6(1) and (2) of the Irish Constitution.
The Director-General of the WHO made an address at the first meeting of the INB on 24th February and specifically stated that Member States should be ‘encouraged’ to ‘fully participate in the process and support the work of the INB, in developing a new international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response’.
The Director-General also referred to public hearings that would take place before the INB’s next meeting before 1st August 2022.
I would now call upon you as a public representative to ensure that an urgent Motion is tabled so that there is an open and transparent debate in the Oireachtas on the State’s position on the INB’s WHA Agreement. Any proposal by the State to support a decision by the INB to proceed with an Article 19 (Treaty) or Article 21(Regulation) legal instrument will require a Referendum for the People of Ireland to decide on whether the WHA’s powers should supersede Article 6(1) and (2) of the Irish Constitution.
In view of the grave consequences that a Treaty or Regulation will have on our national sovereignty, it is incumbent that the State fully engage with the INB to make clear that Ireland, as a Member State to the WHA, cannot agree to an Article 19 or Article 21 Instrument without firstly holding a Referendum for the People of Ireland.
It is also the State’s duty to keep the public informed on any public hearings that take place by the INB Working Group prior to 1st August 2022 to ensure citizen participation.