Australian Economy

Malcolm Roberts says a rule change at the WHO ‘would have decimated’ Australia’s sovereignty. Is he correct?

CheckMate is a weekly newsletter from RMIT FactLab which recaps the latest in the world of fact checking and misinformation, drawing on the work of FactLab and its sister organisation, RMIT ABC Fact Check.

You can read the latest edition below, and subscribe to have the next newsletter delivered straight to your inbox.

CheckMate June 10, 2022

Good morning,

This week, CheckMate tackles a One Nation senator’s false claim that Australia remains at risk of having its health measures dictated by foreign entities.

We also investigate whether last month’s election saw the Liberal Party achieve its lowest-ever female vote, and set the record straight on a doctored news report.

Malcolm Roberts’s WHO claim falls flat with experts 

Malcolm Roberts Toowoomba Civic Square
WHO’s in charge here?: Senator Malcolm Roberts said a rule change at the World Health Organisation could have seen lockdowns and compulsory vaccination “forced on all Australians”.(Supplied: Twitter)

One Nation senator Malcolm Roberts has continued to push the baseless claim that Australia was — and may still be — at risk of being forced to adopt restrictive health measures by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

“The WHO has quietly pulled the amendments to International Health Regulations that would have decimated sovereignty,” reads one recent tweet.

“They will be back to try it another way, we will continue to monitor and defend against foreign incursions to our way of life.”

The tweet also linked to an article in which Senator Roberts claimed the changes could have seen lockdowns and compulsory vaccination “forced on all Australians”.

So, what is he talking about?

The US recently proposed a number of amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005), which provide the legal framework covering states’ rights and obligations for handling public health events with the potential for international spread.

These existing, legally binding rules require signatories to maintain their capacity to detect and respond to emerging threats, and to report them to the WHO.

They also set the criteria for declaring a “public health emergency of international concern”, during which the WHO can develop and recommend health measures.

The US amendments were on the agenda of last month’s meeting of the World Health Assembly, the WHO’s decision-making body, and they triggered a wave of misinformation about the organisation’s ability to meddle in the affairs of states.

However, the regulations cannot dictate domestic health policy.

That’s because, as AAP Fact Check and have explained, the WHO can merely make recommendations and has no powers to enforce these or the rules them — and the proposed amendments would not change that.

In an email to fact checkers at Associated Press, one expert labelled suggestions to the contrary as “utterly untrue”, noting the changes “would ask countries to promptly and truthfully report infectious disease outbreaks” and allow the WHO to “offer assistance”.

Meanwhile, a US-government spokesperson told the changes “would strengthen WHO’s ability to use publicly available information” to assess potential threats, “inform all nations of the threat in a timely manner, and provide recommendations, not mandates, on how to safely and effectively respond”.

Source link

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Get our latest downloads and information first. Complete the form below to subscribe to our weekly newsletter.