On Monday, the UK House of Commons debated the World Health Organisation’s (“WHO’s”) proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (“IHR”).
The debate was held in response to a petition to the UK Parliament which gained more than the required number of signatures. In yet another brilliant speech, Andrew Bridgen MP left no stone unturned. A few other Members of Parliament (“MPs) didn’t hold back either.
The first to speak was Philip Davies, MP for Shipley. He summed up the problem both with the WHO’s two proposed instruments – the IHR amendments and the Pandemic Treaty or Accord – and the UK Parliament’s mindset regarding concerns raised about them.
“In preparing for today’s debate, I looked back at the contributions made in April when another petition on this topic was debated here in Westminster Hall … I have to say that I was disappointed by some of the rhetoric, when valid concerns were dismissed as an ‘overreaction and hysteria’. It is clear that this is – quite rightly, in my opinion – an important issue for the public. We can see that that is the case from not just the full Gallery, but the large numbers signing the petitions,” Mr. Davies said.
“We have two international legal instruments, both designed to increase the WHO’s authority in managing health emergencies,” he said. “What is being proposed could have a huge and detrimental impact on all parts of society and on our sovereignty … We are talking about a top-down approach to global public health hardwired into international law.”
“Let us not forget that the director-general is appointed by an opaque, non-democratic process – and I think that is being rather generous,” he added.
Andrew Bridgen, MP for North West Leicestershire, took the floor next. “I [ ] thank the 116,000 members of the public who signed this public petition so that we can have this important debate today,” he began.
“It is impossible to consider either the pandemic treaty or the amendments to the international health regulations in isolation; they are two linked instruments of the WHO, and they need to be considered in parallel.”
Why does the WHO make false claims regarding proposals to seize states’ sovereignty? Mr. Bridgen asked the House noting that Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ statements that “no country will cede any sovereignty to WHO” are unequivocally, and also wholly inconsistent with the text he is referring to.
Mr. Bridgen reminded the House that Tedros, as with all WHO officials, is unelected, unaccountable, non-taxpaying and immune from prosecution due to diplomatic immunity.
The intent of the text of the IHR amendments and Pandemic Accord is clear: WHO’s proposed instruments transfer decision-making power to WHO regarding basic aspects of societal function, decision-making that is currently vested in nations and individuals. “The WHO director-general will have the sole authority to decide when and where they are required, and the proposals are intended to be binding under international law,” Mr. Bridgen said.
“Continued claims that sovereignty is not lost, echoed by politicians in this House, other elected assemblies, and of course the media, therefore raise very important questions concerning motivations, competence and ethics.”
Later in his speech, Mr. Bridgen said that WHO’s position raises a real question of whether its leadership is truly ignorant of what is being proposed or is actively seeking to mislead countries and the public to increase the probability of acceptance.
Mr. Bridgen then referred to the dubious method by which the World Health Assembly adopted amendments to the IHR in April 2022.
“Amending the 2005 international health regulations may be a straightforward way to quickly deploy and enforce what appears to be the new normal for health control measures that we have seen implemented since the covid-19 pandemic. The current text applies to virtually the entire global population, counting 196 states, including all 194 WHO member states. Approval may or may not be required by a formal vote of the World Health Assembly: the recent 2022 amendment was adopted through consensus. If the same approval mechanism were to be used in May 2024, many countries, and indeed the public, might remain unaware of the broad scope of the new text and its implications for national and individual sovereignty. That is why today’s debate is so important,” he said.
Mr. Bridgen quoted from article 18 of the IHR which details specific examples of measures that are currently non-binding and WHO can recommend.
“When implemented together, those measures have generally been referred to since 2020 as lockdowns and mandates -“lockdown” was previously a term reserved for people incarcerated as criminals. It removes basic, universally accepted human rights. Such measures were previously considered by the WHO itself to be detrimental to public health. However, since 2020, it has become the default standard for public health authorities to manage epidemics, despite its contradictions to multiple stipulations of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights – the UDHR.” Mr. Bridgen said.
Mr. Bridgen explained how the current recommendations will be changed into requirements through three mechanisms:
“The first is the removal of the term “non-binding” … Second is the insertion … [of] the phrase that ‘Member States’ will ‘undertake to follow WHO’s recommendations’ … Thirdly … ‘State Parties’ undertake to enact what previously were merely recommendations, without delay, including requirements of WHO regarding non-state entities under their jurisdiction.”
Mr. Bridgen explained that “non-state actors” means private businesses, charities, and individuals. “In other words, everyone and everything comes under the control of the WHO, once the director-general declares a public health emergency of international concern,” he said.
Mr. Bridgen also pointed out that the IHR also allows WHO to deploy “personnel” into the country. “That is, it will have control over entry across national borders for whoever it chooses,” he said.
He called out WHO’s desire to limit freedom of speech to “counter misinformation and disinformation.” This clashes with the UDHR, Mr. Bridgen said.
“Although freedom of speech is currently exclusively for national authorities to decide, and its restriction is generally seen as being negative and abusive, United Nations institutions including the WHO have been advocating for censoring unofficial views in order to protect the people from what they call “information integrity.” No doubt, if these amendments were in place, I would not be allowed to give this speech and, if I was, it would not be allowed to be reported in the mainstream media or even on social media.”
Mr. Bridgen mentioned the potential for human rights abuses by WHO and its allies coercing populations to take experimental vaccines or drugs: