WHO Temporarily Withdraws 12 of the 13 Amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR)

Researcher James Roguski, as well as the Liberty Counsel, report the World Health Organization (WHO) has temporarily withdrawn 12 of the 13 amendments submitted by the Biden administration to the current International Health Regulations (IHR).

In a new, brief interview with Steve Bannon on the War Room: Pandemic podcast, researcher and activist James Roguski claims that 12 of the 13 amendments proposed to the World Health Organization’s International Health Regulations (IHR) “have been taken off the table” temporarily. The amendments, which Roguski brought to the world’s attention in mid-May of this year, would’ve given the WHO’s Director-General enormous power over sovereign nations; allowing the official elected only by the World Health Assembly (WHA) to unilaterally declare a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (or PHEIC).

“It appears that 12 of the 13 amendments have been taken off the table… for some reason—maybe it had something to do with the posse, I don’t know,” Roguski tells Bannon in the video immediately below. (The posse is presumably anybody with whom Roguski has been working.) “[But] for some reason [the WHA] could not reach consensus. So it seems like they’re not even going to bring it to the floor.”

“[T]here was not the consensus vote of delegates from 194 nations to pass the amendments that would empower the WHO to declare a ‘public health emergency,'” Liberty Counsel, a team of conservative, Christian attorneys, reported on May 25, 2022. “Some African nations, Iran, Malaysia, and Brazil objected to the amendments but for different reasons,” the team added.

Although Liberty Counsel reports there was little international objection against giving greater power to the WHO, President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro blasted the amendments—proposed by the Biden administration—and objected to the WHO gaining more authority.

“Brazil is autonomous and will not get into this, you can forget about that,” Bolsonaro said of the IHR amendments while speaking to reporters (per the The European Union Times). “I’ve already spoken to our foreign relations cabinet and if that proposal goes forward, it won’t be with Brazil,” Bolsonaro added.

Despite the fact that 12 of the 13 amendments have been tabled, however, both Roguski and Liberty Counsel—as well as many other experts in the fields of law and politics—warn this battle is far from over. Indeed, it seems as if it is ceaseless and with no end date.

The WHO is “setting up yet another bureaucracy,” Roguski tells Bannon in his interview. “They’re going to have a working group for the International Health Regulations… [and] they’re going to be taking submissions from countries around the world for their ideas of how these things should be amended.”

A look at the perhaps the most important amendment Roguski believed was imminent, but is off the table—for now.

Liberty Counsel also notes that there is already another hearing on these amendments scheduled for June 16-17, 2022. Not to mention the separate “pandemic treaty” that the WHO will consider on August 1, 2022. (Roguski actually believes the pandemic treaty is nothing more than a red herring to distract from the 13 proposed amendments to the IHR, but that remains to be seen.)

As for the amendments themselves, their future is uncertain. One of the most disconcerting “needles in the haystack,” Roguski says, is the proposed amendment to Article 12 of the IHR. As it stands, Article 12 says that in order for the WHO Director-General to declare a PHEIC he or she needs to obtain agreement from the affected State Party as to whether or not the emergency is indeed a PHEIC. With the amendment, however, the Director-General would be able to declare PHEIC emergencies (and claim all of the emergency powers that go with them) unilaterally.

Interestingly, Roguski has learned—as he follows the ongoing assembly online—that the amendments presented at the conference are not the ones he originally thought they were. On his Substack, the researcher notes that “It appears that the original amendments that I have been discussing for nearly two months have been thrown out and replaced… .” The researcher, however, has provided a link to the novel amendments, which seem to focus largely on the one amendment that has not been tabled: one that affects Article 59 of the IHR—specifically regarding the time WHO member nations have to accept or reject amendments.

“The remaining amendment is to Article 59: ‘Entry into force; period for rejection or reservations,’ which seeks to change the amount of time to reject amendments from 18 to six months,” Liberty Counsel reports. The team of attorneys adds that, as they stand, the WHO’s regulations allow for an 18-month grace period during which a member nation can withdraw a “yes” vote for a particular amendment. If the amendment passes, the window will narrow down to six months.

Perhaps most worrying—aside from the resurgence of the amendment to Article 12—are the words Loyce Pace had for the public on May 26, 2022. Pace, this year’s U.S. delegate to the WHA and HHS Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, says in the video immediately above that “Sharing of as much information as possible [amongst countries] and as quickly as we all can is really key.” The delegate adds that’s “one of the reasons why the US has put forward some proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations for the members of WHO to consider. Because that way WHO and countries themselves are better equipped to understand what would be ideal to share and know what time frame so that we can stay ahead of any emergency if and when it comes.”

As for a modicum of welcome news, the house freedom caucus, a congressional caucus consisting of conservative Republican members of the United States House of Representatives, has come out staunchly against the amendments. “The House Freedom Caucus urges you to halt your efforts to empower the World Health Organization (WHO) and instead either immediately resume President Trump’s withdrawal from the body or, at the very least, push serious reforms to aggressively correct the organization’s rampant corruption and ineffectual leadership,” the caucus wrote to President Biden in a letter dated May 23, 2022. Later in the letter the caucus added “Under no circumstances should you cede our government’s operational control in a public health emergency to an international body.”

“Even if the World Health Assembly passes the U.S.-proposed amendments to IHR, there will be a six-month opt-out period,” Liberty Counsel said in response to the house freedom caucus’ letter. “This isn’t over,” the conservative Christian lawyers added.

Feature image: United States Mission Geneva

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