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U.K. Rejects WHO Pandemic Treaty as Critics Sound Alarm over ‘New World Order’

May 10, 2024

The British government is preparing to reject a global health treaty that critics warn gives power to “a new world order.” According to The Telegraph, the U.K. is opposed to signing the World Health Organization (WHO) global pandemic treaty, insisting the accord would undermine the U.K.’s sovereignty.

The U.K. reportedly refuses to agree to any treaty which would not allow the nation to put its own interests first. In its present form, which is the ninth and final draft, the WHO treaty would require wealthier Western nations such as the U.S. and the U.K. to surrender 20% of their “pandemic-related health products” — including medicines, vaccines, and protective equipment — to be given to nations the WHO deems less developed. The terms of the treaty would grant the WHO 10% of those products for free and the other 10% “at affordable prices.” A spokesperson for Britain's Department of Health and Social Care stated, “We will only support the adoption of the accord and accept it on behalf of the UK, if it is firmly in the UK national interest and respects national sovereignty.”

The pandemic treaty was introduced in May 2021 in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, purportedly as a means of ensuring a united international global response to future pandemics. However, critics across the globe, including in the U.S., are urging nations to reject the accord, warning that it effectively grants the bureaucratic WHO unprecedented control over sovereign nations and their health care systems.

Appearing on “Washington Watch” on Thursday night, Senator Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) cautioned against the “dangers of global governance” and “a new world order.” He explained that the WHO “engineered” the global response to COVID-19 but ultimately “gave cover” to China, where the virus originated. “I think it probably was manmade, probably from a lab in Wuhan,” Johnson said. “But again, there’s corruption. The Chinese exert way too much influence on the World Health Organization. Why would we want China’s influence dictating American actions or other nations’ actions as well?”

Johnson and his fellow Senate Republicans issued a letter last week to President Joe Biden, demanding he withdraw the U.S. from WHO pandemic treaty negotiations. Declaring the terms of the treaty “unacceptable,” the letter states, “Some of the over 300 proposals for amendments made by member states would substantially increase the WHO’s health emergency powers and constitute intolerable infringements upon U.S. sovereignty.” The letter also called on the U.S. to hold the WHO accountable for its “total” and “predictable” “failure” to respond adequately to COVID-19, a failure which the letter argues “did lasting harm to our country.”

The letter concludes noting that any treaty must be approved by the Senate and that Biden is expected to “submit any pandemic related agreement to the Senate for its advice and consent.” On “Washington Watch,” Johnson explained, “The presidents are abusing their authority in terms of entering these agreements, calling them executive agreements when they clearly fall into the guidelines of what treaties should be.” He added that Americans should “understand what our president is getting America involved in.”

Johnson and his Senate compatriots aren’t the only ones calling on Biden to withdraw from negotiations. Last week, 22 state attorneys general also sent a letter to the president, warning that the pandemic treaty would give the WHO “unprecedented and unconstitutional powers over the United States and her people” and cautioning against “relinquish[ing] more power to unelected and unaccountable institutions.” Referring to the pandemic treaty as “highly problematic,” the attorneys general wrote:

“To varying degrees, these measures would threaten national sovereignty, undermine states’ authority, and imperil constitutionally guaranteed freedoms. Ultimately, the goal of these instruments isn’t to protect public health. It’s to cede authority to the WHO — specifically its Director-General — to restrict our citizens’ rights to freedom of speech, privacy, movement (especially travel across borders) and informed consent.”

They further noted that the negotiations Biden has involved the U.S. in “would transform the WHO from an advisory, charitable organization into the world’s governor of public health” and “inappropriately cede American sovereignty to the WHO.” Additionally, they pointed out that the federal government does not have the constitutional authority to “delegate public health decisions to an international body,” observing that “responsibility for public health policy” is vested in the states, not in the federal government.

Finally, the attorneys general warned that the WHO’s proposals “would lay the groundwork for a global surveillance infrastructure, ostensibly in the interest of public health, but with the inherent opportunity for control (as with Communist China’s ‘social credit system’).” They added, “The current draft instructs signatories to ‘cooperate, in accordance with national law, in preventing misinformation and disinformation.’ This is particularly dangerous given that your administration pressured and encouraged social-media companies to suppress free speech during COVID-19.”

Nations are expected to either accept or reject the terms of the pandemic treaty at the WHO’s World Health Assembly in Geneva, Switzerland, later this month.

S.A. McCarthy serves as a news writer at The Washington Stand.