Posted by Richard Willett - Memes and headline comments by David Icke Posted on 18 May 2024

Government Set to Deny Parliament a Vote on WHO Pandemic Treaty

“Surely Parliament will get the chance to vote on these agreements?” has been a common refrain from those who assume concerns raised about the World Health Organisation’s Pandemic Accords have been over-stated.

Comforting though it would be to imagine a critical mass of parliamentarians with the time, inclination and effective opportunity to apply proper scrutiny to these international agreements of generational significance, the reality, laid bare during Tuesday’s House of Commons debate on the topic, is that Parliamentary scrutiny of the WHO’s new instruments will be — at best — brief and inconsequential.

During that debate, triggered by an urgent question from Danny Kruger MP, Andrew Stephenson, the Junior Minister for Health and Social Care, was asked repeatedly to confirm whether the WHO Pandemic Treaty, if adopted, would be laid before Parliament for a vote. “Will the Minister give us a cast-iron commitment that we will have a vote — dare I say, a meaningful vote — on it in this House before it comes into force?” asked Mark Francois MP, one of a number of MPs concerned to ensure that Parliament be given its chance to provide effective scrutiny.

It was a seemingly straightforward question, to which the Minister was conspicuously and repeatedly unable to give a straightforward answer. Instead he sought refuge in the fact that the international law process under which the instruments will be adopted has not yet been confirmed, in public at least:

The U.K. treaty-making process means that the accord is of course negotiated and agreed by the Government. As he will know, Parliament plays an important part in scrutinising treaties under the CRaG process and determining how international obligations should be reflected domestically. However, it is important to remember that, because the exact form of the accord has not yet been agreed, the parliamentary adoption process will depend on under which article of the WHO constitution the accord is adopted.

Stephenson’s spectacularly non-committal answer references the fact that there are two possible options under the WHO Constitution for adoption of international instruments such as the prospective Pandemic Treaty: the Article 19 method and the Article 21 method.

Article 19 is used for adopting new treaties, and if used in this case would trigger the requirement for a two-thirds member state majority to adopt the Pandemic Treaty at the World Health Assembly in Geneva later this month, followed by ratification processes in all relevant national legislatures.

Article 21 is used for adopting new health regulations, and if used would mean that the Pandemic Agreement (as it would likely then be described) would become binding on all WHO member states if approved for adoption by a simple majority of those member states in Geneva. There would then be no legal requirement for national-level ratification. Instead, any WHO Member State not wishing to be bound by the new agreement would need proactively to opt out by notifying the WHO to that effect within 10 months of the date of adoption. This is the same legal process as will likely apply for the adoption of the parallel package of amendments to the International Health Regulations.

Read More: Government Set to Deny Parliament a Vote on WHO Pandemic Treaty

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