Fact Check: NO Evidence Robert Fico 'Formally And Publicly Rejected' WHO Global Pandemic Accord Days Before Assassination Attempt

Fact Check

  • by: Madison Dapcevich

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: NO Evidence Robert Fico 'Formally And Publicly Rejected' WHO Global Pandemic Accord Days Before Assassination Attempt No Record

Did Slovakian Prime Minister Robert Fico "formally and publicly" reject the World Health Organization Global Pandemic Accord "only days" before an assassination attempt on May 15, 2024, as a post on X claimed? No, that's not true: The pandemic accord has not been finalized, a World Health Organization spokesperson told Lead Stories on May 15, 2024. Although Fico had voiced critical sentiments about the draft accord as it stood in late 2023, Lead Stories found no evidence on the website of the Slovak Republic or elsewhere that Fico had publicly rejected the international accord. The accord has yet to be finalized as of this writing, with negotiations to culminate at the 77th World Health Assembly in Geneva, set to start May 27, 2024.

A version of the claim appeared in a post on X, formerly Twitter, on May 15, 2024, with a caption that read:

🚨 🇸🇰 Breaking: Slovakia

The Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico has just been shot in public.

This comes only days after Fico formally & publicly rejected The WHO Global Pandemic Accord ‼️

Here is how the post appeared at the time of writing:

image (1).png

(Source: X screenshot taken on Wed May 15 18:32:42 2024 UTC)

Lead Stories found no evidence that Fico had publicly rejected the international accord on the Government Office of the Slovak Republic's website (archived here).

Lead Stories also searched using keywords on the Google News archive, which contains thousands of reliable information sites, visible here (archived here). The search found no credible documents or reporting to corroborate the claim.

In an email to Lead Stories received on May 15, 2024, Daniel Epstein of the World Health Organization (WHO) media team wrote that the "negotiations on the pandemic agreement, led by member governments of WHO, are continuing."

As of this writing, no formal agreement text has been unveiled -- only a draft version (archived here) dated October 30, 2023, which WHO previously said would serve as the "basis for the negotiations" (archived here). The pandemic accord has not been finalized, and negotiations are set to culminate at the 77th World Health Assembly (WHA) (archived here), which starts in Geneva, Switzerland, on May 27, 2024.

According to the research and journalism (archived here) nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation (archived here):

WHO member states are expected to vote on the final text of the agreement during the WHA meeting this year, which starts on May 27, 2024. It is also possible that before then, member states decide to delay the vote to allow for more negotiating time.

Epstein referred our newsroom to a May 10, 2024, news release (archived here), the most recently available (archived here) as of this publication. In it, the agency wrote that world governments had "agreed to continue working on a proposed pandemic agreement" ahead of the 77th World Health Assembly to start on May 27, 2024. According to the release:

Governments meeting at the World Health Organization headquarters in Geneva agreed to resume hybrid and in-person discussions over coming weeks to advance work on critical issues, including around a proposed new global system for pathogen access and benefits sharing (i.e. life-saving vaccines, treatments and diagnostics); pandemic prevention and One Health; and the financial coordination needed to scale up countries' capacities to prepare for and respond to pandemics ...

The Member State-led Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB) was established over two years ago to take this effort forward. The Bureau of the INB, which is guiding the process, will submit its outcome for consideration at the World Health Assembly.

The United Nations Foundation confirmed to Lead Stories in an email received on May 15, 2024, that because the pandemic agreement is still being negotiated, "there is no final list of signatories" at this time.

The Foundation (archived here) writes on its website that the pandemic accord is defined as a "range of initiatives to boost pandemic preparedness globally" with participants from "governments of the world" backed by WHO. The foundation continues:

These solutions include fixing medical equipment supply chains, increasing financing for preparedness, and investing in local capacities so low- and middle-income countries can address their medical needs with more autonomy.

Furthermore, to solidify collaboration and coordination at the highest levels of government, all of WHO's 194 Member States resolved in December 2021 to develop an international agreement, referred to as a pandemic accord (and sometimes called a pandemic treaty), which will define rules and norms for how countries can better prevent pandemics from happening and respond to future health emergencies in order to protect the safety and well-being of people everywhere.

On May 15, 2024, Fico was shot in what appeared to be an assassination attempt, as was confirmed that same day by the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic's X account. At a news conference, Slovakian President Zuzana Čaputová stated that police had "arrested the perpetrator" and would "provide further information when possible."

Though there is no evidence that Fico formally and publicly rejected the treaty days before being shot, the European news publication Euractiv reported (archived here) that in November 2023 the prime minister stated his opposition to the draft treaty as it stood at the time. He was quoted as saying:

This nonsense could only be invented by greedy pharmaceutical companies, which began to perceive resistance from some governments against mandatory vaccination.

The Slovak Spectator also reported (archived here) a similar quote from Fico on December 3, 2023:

Prime Minister Fico now says that his government will not strengthen the competencies of the WHO in any way, calling the move "nonsense that must have been created by insatiable pharmaceutical companies".

On May 10, 2024, Radio Slovakia International reported (archived here) that Peter Kotlár, the Slovak Government Plenipotentiary for the COVID-19 pandemic, stated he would "not support the current version of the new pandemic treaty or the draft amendment to the International Health Regulations."

WHO declined to comment on Lead Stories' inquiries into possible sentiments expressed by Fico regarding the pandemic accord. Lead Stories also contacted the Government Office of the Slovak Republic for further clarification. We will update this article accordingly.


  • 2024-05-16T17:29:06Z 2024-05-16T17:29:06Z
    Adds background, context from Euractiv and The Slovak Spectator.
  • 2024-05-15T19:29:11Z 2024-05-15T19:29:11Z
    Adds quote from United Nations Foundation.

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Lead Stories is working with the CoronaVirusFacts/DatosCoronaVirus Alliance, a coalition of more than 100 fact-checkers who are fighting misinformation related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about the alliance here.

  Madison Dapcevich

Raised on an island in southeast Alaska, Madison grew up a perpetually curious tidepooler and has used that love of science and innovation in her now full-time role as a science reporter for the fact-checking publication Lead Stories.

Read more about or contact Madison Dapcevich

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