Emergency Preparedness for a Pandemic Under International Law
41 Pages Posted: 18 Sep 2008
Date Written: August 15, 2008
The outbreak of an epidemic disease, unlike armed conflicts and humanitarian emergencies, potentially can impact not just citizens of a single state or within a region but citizens within every state. International trade and travel, assisted by international airports, rail lines, and open borders resulting from free-trade agreements, can carry diseases rapidly across the globe. Left unchecked, a communicable disease could spread worldwide in a matter of hours. If a virulent disease broke out in a state unable or unwilling to respond with effective disease containment strategies, the lack of an effective response could turn a localized outbreak into a pandemic, threatening people in states worldwide. The paper explores the legal authority of the international community to respond to a severe infectious outbreak at the source of an outbreak within an uncooperative state. The discussion explores the powers of the UN Security Council acting under the Chapter VII powers, the emergent humanitarian doctrine, and the enforcement mechanisms of the International Health Regulations under the World Health Organization.
Keywords: UN Security Council, humanitarian intervention, pandemic, infectious diseases, capacity building
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