Smith hosts news conference amid mad dash by the WHO Panel of experts raises the alarm on growing concerns surrounding looming WHO ‘pandemic treaty’
At a news conference hosted by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ) and attended by Rep. Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), a panel of experts from a wide-range of backgrounds raised the alarm on mounting concerns regarding the World Health Organization’s (WHO) “pandemic treaty.” The briefing comes amid the WHO’s mad dash to finalize text for the agreement in time for a vote on May 27th by the World Health Assembly.
Smith’s press conference highlighted “a slew of significant issues surrounding the proposed treaty—including lack of transparency, the backroom negotiations, WHO overreach and infringement on US sovereignty, unknown financial obligations for US taxpayers, threats to intellectual property rights and free speech, funding for abortion, and how the treaty will benefit China at the expense of the United States,” he said.
“Binding international covenants, treaties, or agreements—and the legal obligations imposed on nations requires serious and comprehensive analysis,” said Smith, the Chairman of the House Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee.
“However, far too little scrutiny has been given, far too few questions asked as to what this legally binding agreement or treaty means to health policy in the United States and elsewhere,” said Smith, who cited numerous concerning articles of the treaty.
“Throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic, the WHO caved to the Chinese Communist Party rather than following the science,” said Rep. Wenstrup, the Chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Pandemic. “Now, the WHO wants to infringe upon our national sovereignty with their proposed ‘pandemic treaty.’”
Among the distinguished experts providing robust analysis of the proposed treaty were Ambassador Andrew Bremberg, President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation; Dr. Monique Wubbenhost, OBGYN, a global health expert and Senior Research Associate at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture; Tony Perkins, President of Family Research Council; Brett Schaefer, Jay Kingham Senior Research Fellow in International Regulatory Affairs at Heritage’s Margaret Thatcher Center for Freedom; Reggie Littlejohn, Founder and President of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers; Megan Meador of ADF International; and Frank J Gaffney Jr, Executive Chairman of the Center for Security Policy.
“There is no provision in this treaty that any supporter can point to that you can say if this provision had been in effect in 2019 it would have in anyway made a substantive difference in preventing or ameliorating the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ambassador Bremberg, who previously served as Permanent Representative of the United States to the European Office of the United Nations. “With no new accountability for either member states or the WHO, it is vitally important that the United States not adopt this new pandemic treaty.”
“From the COVID-19 pandemic, we learned, painfully and at great price, the fragility of health systems in both developed and developing countries,” said Dr. Wubbenhorst, who previously served as Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator in the Bureau for Global Health at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). “We also learned that WHO was not able to adequately manage pandemic response, provide timely and accurate information upon which to make policy decisions, or hold member states accountable for their lack of data sharing.”
“This is a global power grab using any future emergency as a justification to use that power,” said Perkins. “At risk is national sovereignty…the term ‘shall’ appears over 175 times in the document. In legal parlance, ‘shall’ is mandatory; it is a command. This is anything but a voluntary agreement.”
“At a minimum, one would expect any new pandemic treaty to address China’s failures during COVID-19 to prevent future repetition,” said Schaefer. “The current draft does no such thing. Instead, the draft agreement focuses on curtailing speech, mandating resource transfers, weakening intellectual property rights, mandating technology sharing, pushing for redistribution of manufacturing and production, and empowering the WHO.”
“Having demonstrated in the last pandemic its corruption and incompetence, the WHO now seeks the world’s approval greatly to expand its power and budget,” said Littlejohn. “Why should we trust the organization that kowtowed to China in the last pandemic to turn around and hold China accountable in the next pandemic?”
“We underscore that the Pandemic Agreement must not undermine existing international legal obligations concerning the protection of the human right to freedom of expression, whose restrictions, including on the grounds of public health, must always be implemented with the utmost restraint and in the least restrictive manner possible,” said Meador. “…We must not allow ever-mounting challenges to determining the veracity of information in a globalized, tech-centric world to unduly restrict free speech.”
“I consider this not simply to be the greatest threat to freedom in human history—this package of agreements…is the greatest single threat to the sovereignty of our constitutional republic in its history,” Gaffney said. “Down this road leads a global governance arrangement that is designed to crush—not restrict, not suppress—crush the sovereignty of the United States.”