PI’s contribution to the first public consultation for an International Pandemic Treaty

As part of the first public consultation with the WHO Intergovernmental Negotiating Body to draft and negotiate a WHO convention, agreement or other international instrument on pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, Privacy International delivered the following statement:

In line with WHO’s commitment to a human rights-based approach to health, Privacy International believes the following elements procedural and substantive elements must be included:

Open, inclusive and multi-stakeholder process

The drafting and negotiation process of this international instrument must allow for the meaningful participation of a wide range of civil society organisations (CSOs) and reflect the commitment from the WHO and Member States to receive and respond to CSOs recommendations.

There is an abundance of expertise and knowledge across CSOs including advocates for the right to health, social justice and fundamental human rights like privacy. This wealth of information would enrich the drafting process and should serve as the foundation for understanding what this new international instrument should endeavour to achieve but also what it should aim to prevent and avoid in any future pandemic response.

Respect, enforce and protect human rights

The response to the Covid-19 pandemic has shown that the lack of clear principles and effective enforcement of existing human rights obligations of governments and private entities can lead to short-sighted decision-making with little consideration of what is needed for an effective public health response and limited understanding of the impact on individuals and communities, in particular those in vulnerable positions. In particular we have documented the exploitation of people’s data and a rush to introduce various privacy-invasive technologies without human rights due diligence and safeguards. Any future international instrument must demand the respect and protection of human rights and provide for accountability and effective remedies.


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