Fact Check: WHO Is NOT Forcing Member-States To End Human Rights And Freedoms Worldwide

Fact Check

  • by: Uliana Malashenko
Fact Check: WHO Is NOT Forcing Member-States To End Human Rights And Freedoms Worldwide Distortion

Is the World Health Organization (WHO) compelling member states, through an amendment to its International Health Regulations, to abandon "the dignity of human beings, the human rights of human beings and fundamental freedoms"? No, that's not true: The video making this claim misrepresented the purpose of the cited WHO document and disregarded the fact that the proposed amendments to the International Health Regulations still contain protections for human rights. The WHO does not have the power to dictate to member states decisions about human rights.

The claim originated in a video (archived here) published on the website zeeemedia.com on December 19, 2022, under the title:

Uncensored: RED ALERT!!! WHO Has Written in a REMOVAL of Human Dignity, Human Rights & Fundamental Freedoms

At the 2:38 mark, the host, Maria Zeee, said:

The WHO, as part of the IHR amendments, which every country is legally bound to ... They have signed up ... signed you up to this, and your country up to this, without your consent. And now the WHO is in their draft saying that they are going to remove the respect for the dignity of human beings, the human rights of human beings and fundamental freedoms. This is something that they have now put in writing. They are not hiding it anymore. They plan to strip you of all of your rights in something that is legally binding.

This is what the claim looked like at the time of this fact check's publication:

Screen Shot 2023-01-26 at 10.21.57 AM.png

(Source: Zeee Media screenshot taken on Thu Jan 26 15:21:57 2023 UTC)

The screenshot that appears at the 2:59 mark shows an authentic document -- the WHO's proposed amendments to its International Health Regulations. However, the amendment text does not mean what the host claims it does.

First, the document's title, omitted from the video, clearly articulates its purpose. It is not a directive, resolution or the final draft of any mandatory requirements. It is titled, "Article-by-Article Compilation of Proposed Amendments to the International Health Regulations (2005) submitted in accordance with decision WHA75(9) (2022)." Decision WHA75(9), passed by the WHO's World Health Assembly in May 2022, called for amendments to the International Health Regulations in order to improve "WHO's preparedness for and response to health emergencies."

As indicated by the title, the document shown in the video presents a summary of member states' suggestions to meet this task; the text makes no reference to imposing these proposals on member states by diktat. This is confirmed by the document's opening paragraph:

The Working Group on Amendments to the International Health Regulations (WGIHR) at its first meeting on 14-15 November 2022 decided that 'the Secretariat shall also publish online an article-by-article compilation of the proposed amendments, as authorized by the submitting Member States, in the six official languages, without attribution of the proposals to the Member States proposing them'.

The document indicates that the proposed changes will change the language of the International Health Regulations, but nothing in the proposed amendments suggests such a fundamental shift as the removal of "the respect for the dignity of human beings, the human rights of human beings and fundamental freedoms."

One of the discussed changes, to Article 2 on page 3, explicitly addresses defense of human rights:

Screen Shot 2023-01-26 at 11.02.02 AM.png

(Source: WHO screenshot taken on Thu Jan 26 16:02:02 2023 UTC)

The WHO website explains that one of the primary objectives of its International Health Regulations is to ensure that countries report public health events such as epidemics. Yet, the same set of rules protects individuals' privacy and other rights:

... the IHR introduce important safeguards to protect the rights of travellers and other persons in relation to the treatment of personal data, informed consent and non-discrimination in the application of health measures under the Regulations.

As of this writing, the WHO's website indicates that the proposed amendments are still being discussed.

The World Health Organization uses a collegial decision-making process, with member states able to voice their objections to decisions, if they have any. The WHO website states:

Governance takes place through the World Health Assembly, which is the supreme decision-making body; and the Executive Board, which gives effect to the decisions and policies of the Health Assembly. The Organization is headed by the Director-General, who is appointed by the Health Assembly on the nomination of the Executive Board.

According to its "About" section, Zeeemedia, which claimed the WHO planned to strip member states of their human rights, is based in Australia. However, the website's domain is not tied to any particular country. While the WhoIS database shows Zeeemedia.com was registered on November 2, 2021, the identity of the actual domain owner is shielded by the American firm Domains By Proxy, LLC, an Arizona-based company that offers privacy services through GoDaddy, one of the major domain registrars.

The video blog's host, who goes by the name Maria Zeee, is a known anti-vaccine activist who has promoted false statements about COVID-19 in the past. AAP Factcheck, an Australian fact-checking organization accredited with the Poynter Institute's International Fact-Checking Network (which Lead Stories is a member of), debunked Zeee's claims here and here. In October 2022, Lead Stories debunked another claim from her video blog that NASA supposedly had confirmed that "vaccinated people are 'no longer human.'"

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  Uliana Malashenko

Uliana Malashenko is a New York-based freelance writer and fact checker.

Read more about or contact Uliana Malashenko

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