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Attorneys general from 22 states ask Biden to prevent the WHO from becoming the "world’s governor of public health"

This opposition arises as the 194 member states engage in discussions about whether they should give up some autonomy in managing health crises or pandemics.

El jefe de la Organización Mundial de la Salud (OMS), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, habla en una rueda de prensa sobre el 75 aniversario de la Organización Mundial de la Salud en Ginebra, el 6 de abril de 2023. (Foto de Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)


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Amidst negotiations among the 194 member states of the World Health Organization (WHO), including the United States, to bolster the organization's authority in managing potential future pandemics, 22 attorneys general sent a letter to Joe Biden expressing their opposition to this agreement. They called on President Biden to reject the proposal, citing concerns about the potential for the country to relinquish its national influence.

"As the chief legal officers of our states, we oppose two instruments under negotiation that could give the World Health Organization (WHO) unprecedented and unconstitutional powers over the United States and her people. Justice Neil Gorsuch remarked that the COVID-19 pandemic may have been 'the greatest intrusions on civil liberties in the peacetime history of this country.' Meanwhile, the WHO failed to hold the Chinese Communist Party accountable for its lies and deceptions during the pandemic. Rather than learning from these failures, some inexplicably want to relinquish more power to unelected and unaccountable institutions," wrote the attorneys general, led by Montana Attorney General Austin Knudsen.

"Ultimately, the goal of these instruments isn’t to protect public health. It’s to cede authority to the WHO - specifically its director general - [Tedros Ghebreyesus] to restrict our citizens’ rights to freedom of speech, privacy, movement (especially travel across borders) and informed consent," they added.

Apart from the attorney general of Montana, the attorneys general of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and West Virginia joined in.

The attorneys general concluded that, if approved, this agreement "would transform the WHO from an advisory, charitable organization into the world’s governor of public health."

Ghebreyesus assumed that the WHO will gain greater authority to manage pandemics, rather than countries making their own decisions to manage them. "I am encouraged that all 194 Member States are strongly committed to finalizing the agreement in time for the World Health Assembly. They are working long hours to find common ground, in good faith, for the people of the world," said the director general of the WHO in statements collected by AFP.

The World Health Assembly that Ghebreyesus mentioned will be held in Geneva (Switzerland) from May 27 to June 1.