The most current draft of the pandemic treaty, released publicly on February 1, is big on “equality.” To make it clear, the writers don’t want anyone to feel left out — small countries, Third World countries, marginalized populations — we are all equal in the face of the Mighty Germ and its Countermeasures.
This equality stuff is taken to extremes, however. Let’s take a look at Article 14, titled Protection of Human Rights. As the whole concept of a “one size fits all” global treaty to mandate uniform responses to a centrally declared pandemic is utterly at odds with the very concept of human rights, I sat up and started paying close attention.
What Article 14 seems to be proposing is that we will all have our rights violated EQUALLY and with EQUITY under this global One Health system. So if you are black, transgender, disabled or indigenous, the treaty will ensure that the restrictions and violations of your rights take place … EQUITABLY.
Here is Article 14 in its entirety:
Article 14. Protection of human rights
1. The Parties shall, in accordance with their national laws, incorporate non-discriminatory measures to protect human rights as part of their pandemic prevention, preparedness, response and recovery, with a particular emphasis on the rights of persons in vulnerable situations.
2. Towards this end, each Party shall: (a) incorporate into its laws and policies human rights protections during public health emergencies, including, but not limited to, requirements that any limitations on human rights are aligned with international law, including by ensuring that: (i) any restrictions are nondiscriminatory, necessary to achieve the public health goal and the least restrictive necessary to protect the health of people; (ii) all protections of rights, including but not limited to, provision of health services and social protection programmes, are non-discriminatory and take into account the needs of people at high risk and persons in vulnerable situations; and (iii) people living under any restrictions on the freedom of movement, such as quarantines and isolations, have sufficient access to medication, health services and other necessities and rights; and (b) endeavour to develop an independent and inclusive advisory committee to advise the government on human rights protections during public health emergencies, including on the development and implementation of its legal and policy framework, and any other measures that may be needed to protect human rights.
Kinda makes you feel all warm and fuzzy, doesn’t it … just knowing that the restrictions on your freedoms, undelineated and possibly life-wrecking, will take place in an inclusive manner with the highest regard for your rights.
And if that isn’t Orwellian gobbledygook, I don’t know what is….
**By Janet Phelan