‘Say No To WHO Amendments’ — Citizens Tell Government And World Body

Activists write to Bharat's health minister and WHO chief in protest over proposed amendments to the 2005 International Health Regulations.


November 29, 2023: A global tug-of-war over looming changes to WHO-monitored healthcare rules is in full swing, and Bharat is in the ring. Two letters, hot off the press, are set to make some serious noise about proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005 IHR).

Critical-thinking Indian citizens – a diverse mix of experts, activists, campaign groups, and everyday folks – are saying, ‘Hold on, not so fast!’ They have sent across back-to-back letters, with wise words of caution, to two leading officials who matter in this episode: Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) director-general, and Mansukh Mandaviya, the Indian health minister.

Here is what the fuss is all about. The World Health Assembly’s 77th gathering in May 2024 could shake things up if they nod to some of the proposed amendments. If the green light is given, the changes will roll out globally within 12 months, unless countries voice their rejection within 10 months.

Basically, it’s a deadline dance, and the music starts on December 1, 2023. That’s why the signatories to the two letters aren’t twiddling their thumbs. They urgently want Bharat to slam the brakes on the proposed amendments to the 2005 IHR before November 30, 2023.

The signatories claim there’s been no parliamentary or public chat about the amendments, dubbed ‘WHA75.12’. It’s like planning a party without inviting anyone, they say, arguing that some clauses in the proposed WHO Pandemic Treaty and the 2005 IHR amendments go against the spirit of the Indian Constitution.

The line-up of 16 signatories includes Aruna Rodrigues, a food rights activist, Dr. Jacob Puliyel, a former member of the National Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (NTAGI), and Colin Gonsalves, a senior advocate and rights activist, among several others.

The signatories are calling for due process, and a democratic chat to keep the public in the loop about how the proposed changes could shake up our “life and living”.

“We request you to kindly initiate an emergency process whereby the Government of India similarly rejects the adopted amendment to 2005 International Health Regulations WHA75.12, pursuant to Article 61, 2005 IHR,” the signatories wrote in their letter to the Indian health minister.

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