Almost half of governors voice opposition to WHO treaties: ‘Public health policy is a matter reserved for the states’

Two dozen GOP governors recently penned a letter to President Joe Biden voicing their opposition to proposed World Health Organization treaties.

In the letter, the governors specifically complained about two proposals they believe would “grant the World Health Organization (WHO) unprecedented and unconstitutional powers over the United States and its people” and “drastically change the role of governors in response to their charge as the state health officials.”

“These proposed accords aim to significantly alter the amendments to the WHO’s existing International Health Regulations (IHRs) and introduce a new ‘Pandemic Agreement’ (Treaty) that would undermine national sovereignty, infringe upon states’ rights, and jeopardize constitutionally guaranteed freedoms,” they wrote.

“The objective of these instruments is to empower the WHO, particularly its uncontrollable Director-General, with the authority to restrict the rights of U.S. citizens, including freedoms such as speech, privacy, travel, choice of medical care, and informed consent, thus violating our Constitution’s core principles,” they added.

The governors continued by arguing that, if enacted, these treaties would elevate the sketchy WHO “from an advisory body to a global authority in public health.” This would grant the WHO’s even sketchier director-general “unilateral power to declare a ‘public health emergency of international concern’ (PHEIC) in member nations.”

So if the WHO said America needed to declare a public health emergency and institute immediate lockdowns, the U.S. would evidently have no say in the matter, the governors seemed to allege.

“Furthermore, these instruments would erode sovereignty by granting the WHO’s Director-General the authority to dictate responses to a declared [public health emergency of international concern], stripping elected representatives of their role in setting public health policies and compelling citizens to comply with WHO directives, potentially including mandates regarding medical treatments,” the governors wrote.

“Additional concerns arise regarding the establishment of a global surveillance infrastructure and requirements for member states to censor speech related to public health, potentially facilitating the proliferation of biological weapons. As governors, we affirm that public health policy is a matter reserved for the states, not the federal government, and certainly not international bodies like the WHO. We are committed to resisting any attempts to transfer authority to the WHO over public policy affecting our citizens or any efforts by the WHO to assert such authority over them,” they added.

The letter was sent days before the beginning of the World Health Assembly, during which the two treaties are slated to be considered.

Likewise, the sending of this letter comes a few weeks after Sen. Ron Johnson and the entire Republican Senate Conference sent a separate letter to President Biden pleading with him regarding the exact same matter — the two WHO proposals.

But Johnson came at it from a different angle, arguing that the WHO’s failures during the COVID pandemic prove why it can’t be entrusted with so much power and control.

“The WHO’s failure during the COVID-19 pandemic was as total as it was predictable and did lasting harm to our country,” Johnson wrote. “The United States cannot afford to ignore this latest WHO inability to perform its most basic function and must insist on comprehensive WHO reforms before even considering amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) or any new pandemic related treaty that would increase WHO authority.”

Johnson continued by saying the WHO’s latest proposals should be dead on arrival.

“Instead of addressing the WHO’s well-documented shortcomings, the treaty focuses on mandated resource and technology transfers, shredding intellectual property rights, infringing free speech, and supercharging the WHO,” he wrote. “Moving forward with a new pandemic preparedness and response treaty ignores the fact that we are still unsure of COVID-19’s origins because Beijing continues to block a legitimate independent investigation.”

“We strongly urge you not to join any pandemic related treaty, convention, or agreement being considered at the Seventy-seventh WHA. Should you ignore this advice, we state in the strongest possible terms that we consider any such agreement to be a treaty requiring the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate under Article II Section 2 of the Constitution,” he added.

Vivek Saxena

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