Will New Zealand be first country to reject 2022 IHR amendments?


Global activism against the World Health Organization’s (WHO) proposed pandemic treaty and amendments to its International Health Regulations (IHR) is intensifying ahead of the Dec. 1 deadline to reject the proposed 2022 IHR amendments. Critics say the proposals boost WHO’s authority, erode national sovereignty and threaten health freedom.

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World Health Organization (WHO) member states have until Dec. 1 to reject proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) that critics warn will grant the WHO more power.

Critics argue that failure to reject the 2022 IHR amendments — which were approved last year, by the Seventy-fifth World Health Assembly — will increase the likelihood that future proposals, such as the currently pending 2023 IHR amendments and the “WHO Pandemic Agreement,” sometimes called a “pandemic treaty,” will also pass.

This is because the 2022 IHR amendments would reduce the amount of time available to governments to reject the 2023 IHR amendments and the pandemic agreement, if either or both are approved at the next World Health Assembly meeting, in May 2024.

Some critics also argue the proposed 2022 and 2023 amendments and pandemic agreement represent a fundamental threat to national, medical and bodily sovereignty. But others argue that, at root, the negotiations over these proposals represent a trade dispute and power struggle between stronger and weaker countries.

The sixth meeting of the Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) will be held on Dec. 7-8. A country’s head of state may reject the proposed 2022 IHR amendments by informing the WHO before the Dec. 1 deadline.

In the leadup to this deadline, activists worldwide have organized a number of campaigns, including in the U.S. and Europe, opposing the amendments and the broader set of proposals being negotiated by WHO member states.

IHR amendments ‘limit the fundamental rights of citizens’

Journalist James Roguski, who has researched the WHO negotiations for the IHR amendments and Pandemic Agreement, told The Defender, “The most important thing right now is for people to be aware that the 2022 IHR amendments are going through.”

“I do have hopes that some nations and their leaders will reject them,” he said, “But people aren’t even talking about that. That’s the story of the moment.”

The 2022 IHR amendments were adopted on May 27, 2022, via what Roguski has said was an improperly conducted procedure.

Roguski wrote on his Substack that after the original set of IHR amendments was rejected in 2022, as a result of “enormous worldwide opposition,” a different package of amendments was “illegitimately submitted” with the support of the Biden administration. Five of those were passed.

These amendments will shorten — from 18 to 10 months — the timeline for future amendments to be rejected and enter into legally binding force, Roguski wrote. Adopted amendments would then go into force in 12 months instead of 24 months.

Roguski said that in the U.K., procedures for approving an international treaty or agreement, such as the 2022 IHR amendments, have not been followed. Specifically, the amendments were not properly submitted to the U.K. Parliament for review.

Spanish lawyer Luis Pardo is also advocating against the IHR amendments. He told The Defender that the 2022 IHR amendments “limit the fundamental rights of citizens” by reducing the amount of time to review and reject future amendments.

‘Direct attack’ on freedom, health sovereignty

According to Dr. Meryl Nass, an internist, biological warfare epidemiologist and member of the Children’s Health Defense (CHD) scientific advisory committee, the IHR amendments and pandemic agreement will lead to “the build-out of a massive and expansive global biosecurity system.”

Nass wrote that negotiations for the 2023 version of the IHR amendments and the pandemic agreement “are being held in secret,” with a view toward considering them for adoption at the World Health Assembly meeting in May 2024.

On Substack, Nass said that some “items of major concern” involving the documents under negotiation include “Giving the WHO a blank check to create new rules in the future,” the development of “liability-free vaccines … at warp speed,” the removal of human rights guarantees and increased social media censorship.

According to Pardo, “Both texts of the WHO irremediably entail the transfer to the WHO of the power to restrict the fundamental rights of citizens. This is a direct attack on the freedom and health sovereignty of citizens.”

Regarding sovereignty, Nass wrote that while many people insist that the WHO “could make the US do anything,” people should remember that “the US government under Biden is instrumental in pushing forward the WHO proposals, and so it will comply.”

The WHO states, “It is a general principle of international law that once an international law instrument is in force, it would be binding on the parties to it, and would have to be performed by those parties in ‘good faith.’” The IHR (2005) is a binding instrument of international law, as would be the case with any amendments to these regulations.

For Roguski though, the proposed IHR amendments and pandemic agreement are a “trade dispute” pitting economically stronger and weaker countries against each other.

“These documents are not about health,” Roguski said. “This is a trade dispute about equitable distribution of products,” noting that a proposed allocation mechanism in the pandemic agreement would give the secretary general of the WHO “the power to decide which products were needed” in a future pandemic or “pandemic emergency.”

This would mean that wealthier countries might be obliged to provide free or low-cost vaccines, medicines and medical supplies to poorer countries during a pandemic or health emergency, Roguski said.

The proposed “pandemic treaty” also would operate as a “framework convention that’s going to go on and on, year after year, forever.”

“They’re just trying to get the slimmest of agreements together so they can create a bureaucracy that lives on forever,” Roguski said.

Roguski noted that the IHR Review Committee issued a report in February that stated the WHO can’t change recommendations into obligations, a development which he said “changes everything” in terms of the threat posed to national sovereignty.

“Our nations are still sovereign, because the president or prime minister can reject whatever the World Health Assembly decides,” he said.

The issue instead for Roguski is that “They’re in on the deal. They’re part of the insiders. They do whatever they want to do. … Our leaders don’t have to listen to us … They’ve usurped health authority.”

Global governance ‘a large part of the Great Reset’

Several organizations and activist groups in the U.S. and elsewhere have been working to oppose the 2022 and 2023 IHR amendments and “pandemic agreement,” as part of a broader call for nations to consider an exit from the WHO.

One such organization, Door to Freedom, was founded by Nass, who wrote that an impetus for creating the organization was the lack of an “umbrella organization or mechanism” bridging groups opposing these documents and the WHO.

Nass told The Defender that she started Door to Freedom “because there was no other organization exclusively dealing with the efforts of the WHO to transform itself from advisory body to a global regulatory body that would need to be obeyed.”

“Our mission is sovereignty and freedom,” Nass added. “We don’t want global governance. It is simply a large part of the Great Reset, which we are also fighting.”

The group has existed for only about five months, during which it has created “dozens of articles, curated dozens of others and analyzed the WHO’s proposed treaty and proposed amendments to the IHR,” Nass said.

Nass said her work with Door to Freedom also involves “building global networks of activists” and “educating activists and politicians.” As part of these efforts, Nass toured Europe this month, speaking before the parliaments of Croatia, Estonia and Romania.

Earlier this month, Door to Freedom organized a breakfast for members of Congress, which Nass said was intended to “educate them on the WHO.”

Participants included Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), former Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman and former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Catherine Austin Fitts.

Will New Zealand be first country to reject 2022 IHR amendments?

In New Zealand, the country’s new coalition government may be poised to reject the IHR 2022 amendments in time for the Dec. 1 deadline.

Lawyer Kirsten Murfitt has advocated in favor of rejecting the amendments, including by organizing an official petition and “The People’s Letter.”

She told The Defender that as part of the agreement between the parties in the coalition, New Zealand will “reserve” against the IHR amendments.

The agreement states that this is intended “to allow the incoming government to consider these against a ‘National Interest Test.’” Such a test would seek to “reconfirm that New Zealand’s domestic law holds primacy over any international agreements.”

Under international law, a reservation is a declaration by a state made upon signing or ratifying a treaty that it reserves the right not to abide by certain provisions of the treaty.

Murfitt noted that this is not enough, however, as there are “concerns that a reservation is not possible under the current 2005 International Health Regulations, to which we are bound.” She noted that Article 62, pertaining to reservations, “is silent on amendments,” whereas Article 61 expressly “refers to the ability to reject amendments.”

This point contradicts information circulating recently on social media, that New Zealand’s rejection of the 2022 IHR amendments is a done deal, according to Roguski. “The facts from New Zealand seem to be somewhat less than claimed,” he said.

Australian attorney Katie Ashby-Koppens is assisting New Zealand officials and activists with their work opposing the IHR amendments. She told The Defender she spoke to the NZ First party, “and they have confirmed that the intent of what is agreed [to reject the amendments] will be followed.”

“We have reworked The People’s Letter, which we will redirect to the new government, that reservation is not effective and not enough [and] that it is in the national interest to reject the amendments,” Murfitt said.

In a Nov. 17 speech, Robert Fico, Slovakia’s newly elected prime minister, said Slovakia “will not support strengthening the powers of the WHO at the expense of sovereign states in managing the fight against pandemics.”

It remains unclear as of this writing whether this statement was followed up by a formal rejection on the part of Slovakia.

Estonia also recently made waves after 11 members of the country’s Parliament sent a letter to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stating that they were rejecting the amendments to the IHR and the pandemic agreement.

The 11 parliamentarians noted that the full Estonian Parliament did not authorize the country’s government to participate in such negotiations, as required by domestic law.

This letter was widely attributed on social media as constituting Estonia’s rejection of the IHR amendments. However, according to Roguski, this is not the case, as it “does not seem to officially (or unofficially) reject the 2022 IHR amendments specifically.”

“These members of one political party voiced their opposition to the European Commission speaking for the 27 European Union [EU] nations and insisting upon lockstep agreement by all 27 nations … without proper approval by the individual nations,” he told The Defender.

And in Sweden, independent Member of Parliament Elsa Widding questioned Minister of Social Affairs and Public Health Jakob Forssmed and Minister for Justice Gunnar Strömmer during a parliamentary debate Nov. 24 on whether Sweden would support the 2022 and 2023 IHR amendments and pandemic agreement.

EU exceeding its authority participating in IHR amendment negotiations?

In order to pressure national governments — and set the record straight on what are often very confusing procedural and legal issues pertaining to the rejection of the IHR amendments and other similar documents — various individuals and organizations are working at a regional and international level to raise public awareness.

Earlier this month, the International Covid Summit took place at the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest, in which Nass and organizations such as Door to Freedom participated, alongside other prominent speakers.

“There were two days of talks about the pandemic, vaccines, plasmids, mandates, propaganda and the efforts by the WHO and others to achieve a global government and a Great Reset — and ways to fight back,” Nass told The Defender.

Pardo, who founded the Iustitia Europa group, on Oct. 22, launched a petition seeking to collect 50,000 signatures opposing the IHR amendments, pandemic agreement and the negotiations between the European Commission — the EU’s executive branch — with the WHO on these instruments.

According to Pardo, once the 50,000 signatures are collected, Iustitia Europa will “file a legal action in the Court of Justice of the European Union to try to stop the EU negotiations in the WHO by means of an interim injunction.”

Pardo told The Defender that the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TEFU) and the Treaty of Lisbon — both key governing documents of the EU — do not authorize the EU and the European Commission to negotiate on behalf of the bloc’s member states. Instead, the EU can only “complement” national public health policies.

Any public health powers held by the EU are limited and “regulated by the ordinary EU legislative procedure,” Pardo said, noting that according to the TEFU, EU actions related to public health respect the domestic health policy, organization and delivery of health services and medical care decided upon by each EU member state.

He also noted that while the TEFU grants the EU the power to negotiate international treaties, it must do so “in the context of the policies of the Union.” Yet, the European Commission is directly participating in negotiations for the IHR amendments, he said.

Pardo added that “nobody knows” the members of the commission who are leading the negotiations. “It is unknown who is negotiating on behalf of the member states,” he said. “But like the EU Digital COVID Certificate, it will be imposed on member states.”

Pardo said that Iustitia Europa has also “organized a strategy of 17 civic and judicial actions for the 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” including an awareness campaign informing citizens about what the goals entail and forthcoming legal action.

Another new initiative, launched today, is the European Union Citizens’ Initiative. It seeks to collect one million signatures from throughout the EU, following a prescribed process under the Treaty of Lisbon that would initiate a legislative proposal before the European Commission.

The group calls for upholding human dignity, the right to integrity of the person, the right to liberty and security, protection of personal data, respect for private and family life, and freedom of thought, conscience, expression and information, among other requests.

Roguski wrote that EU negotiators “created a new term” by which they seek to give the WHO director-general “the brand new power to declare a ‘Pandemic Situation,’” adding that the EU has also proposed measures wherein digital health certificates would be rolled out globally, and “misinformation” and “disinformation” would be censored.

Without unity, ‘digital enslavement is inevitable’

Actions opposing the IHR amendments, the pandemic agreement and nations’ membership in the WHO are also being organized at the national level.

In Spain, Pardo described “Iustitia Europa as the only citizens’ movement which is fighting to dissolve Agenda 2030 and which is taking citizens’ and judicial initiatives to stop the pandemic treaty and the IHR.” This includes events and presentations in Spain, and candidacy in next year’s European parliamentary elections.

Despite these efforts, there has been coverage “only in small media,” which Pardo says the EU’s recently passed Digital Services Act and the WHO “want to eliminate.”

Dr. Louis Fouché, an anesthesiologist and intensive care doctor based in France, founded “Reinfo COVID,” which opposes COVID-19-related restrictions and vaccines. He told The Defender he is unaware of initiatives in France that have developed with the specific purpose of opposing the IHR amendments or the pandemic agreement.

“In general, activism already takes place on many fronts, and the WHO’s pandemic treaty seems a long way off and a hazardous battle,” he said.

Yet, some French members of the European Parliament and domestic politicians “are sticking their necks out on the subject,” while certain alternative media outlets, including France Soir and Nexus, are informing the general public on the subject, he said.

petition launched in France by CitizenGo opposing the IHR amendments and pandemic agreement has exceeded 300,000 signatures as of the time of this writing.

Dutch attorney Meike Terhorst told The Defender, “In the Netherlands, a number of groups oppose the WHO power grab,” including Viruswaarheid (“Virus Truth”), founded by activist Willem Engel, who produces videos and newsletters on the issue.

Two alternative publications, De Andere Krant and Gezond Verstand, and an alternative television channel, Blckbx, “also provide news on the WHO,” and the Stop WHO.nl website has been launched by activists.

According to Terhorst, a group of Dutch members of parliament, in a letter sent to the government in June, opposed the IHR 2022 amendments and their acceptance by the Dutch Kingdom, while “a group of lawyers, journalists, influences and members of parliament [organize] weekly calls opposing the Netherlands’ Pandemic Law.”

The law, adopted in May 2023, implements “pandemic health measures even before they have been adopted at the WHO level,” Terhorst said. Yet, Engel told The Defender that, in the Netherlands, “things went pretty silent when the WHO declared the end of the Public Health Emergency of International Concern” that same month.

Terhorst said, “For many people in the Netherlands, the information stream is too intense and too complicated. The majority of Dutch people still believe the government has good intentions and nothing has gone wrong during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Engel added that despite the national elections held earlier this month, rejecting the IHR amendments “unfortunately was not a campaign issue.”

Activists in Greece have actively opposed the IHR amendments, according to Nikos Vakolidis, a member of the Greek chapter of the World Freedom Alliance.

Vakolidis told The Defender, “Calls to exit the WHO were made since the beginning of the pandemic,” in letters sent to the Greek prime minister, government ministries and members of parliament and “shared widely” to the public. One such letter called on the Greek government to reject the IHR 2022 amendments, but “no response” came.

“Now that the processes on the Pandemic Treaty and the IHR are reaching a critical point, more efforts are being organized, in collaboration with international movements,” including CHD Europe and Door to Freedom, Vakolidis said, adding that workshops for elected officials and public events have also been organized.

Yet, according to Vakolidis, despite these efforts and the activities of “many groups and individuals” opposing the WHO, “those voices weren’t heard on mainstream media, or were described as conspiracy theorists and as ‘tinfoil hat, ultra-religious, alt-right’ people.” He added that “this issue isn’t a priority for alternative media in Greece either.”

“We are in urgent need of a united front,” Vakolidis said. “Without it, gradual digital enslavement is inevitable.”

Pardo was more optimistic. He paraphrased the words of the World Economic Forum, which in a 2016 video stated, “You’ll own nothing, and you’ll be happy,” saying, “We will have freedom, and yes, we will be happy. We will have justice, and yes, we will be happy. We will have dignity, and yes, we will be happy.”

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