From 21 to 23 November the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Global Health Law Consortium (GHLC) co-convened 30 leading experts in human rights and global and public health law in Mantello, Italy, to reflect on the human rights dimensions of public health emergencies, including the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
With a view to developing a consensus-based set of expert Human Rights Principles on Public Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response, attendees engaged in a series of full-day hybrid meetings covering a broad range of issues, including whether existing human rights law and standards in situations of public health emergency were adequate to meet the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health crises.
Participants worked to identify how such standards could be clarified and further strengthened, and discussed the application of several existing standards and guidelines including the International Health Regulations, the Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogation Provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Maastricht Principles on Extraterritorial Obligations of States in the Area of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. They identified normative gaps in international law and avenues to fill such gaps through progressive interpretation, informed in part in light of experiences of common weaknesses in State preparedness for and responses to COVID-19.
The convening is part of an ongoing process for the development of these consensus-based expert principles which will continue into 2022 with regional expert consultations. When finalized and adopted, the Human Rights Principles on Public Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response are expected to provide national policymakers, advocates, public health experts and human rights defenders with robust guidance on international human rights law and standards applicable to ongoing and future public health emergencies.News