On Tuesday, Member of the Netherlands Parliament Wybren van Haga wrote to the World Health Organisation’s (“WHO’s”) Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, to inform him that the 2022 amendments to the International Health Regulations (“IHR”) are subject to the formal approval by the Dutch Parliament.
“I notify you, in my capacity as Member of Parliament, of the reservation that the 2022 [IHR] amendments require the approval of the Dutch government before the 2022 amendments can enter into force in The Netherlands,” he told Tedros.
In May 2022 the World Health Assembly (“WHA”) quietly agreed to reduce the period during which nations have to opt out of future IHR amendments. For nations to retain the longer 18-month period previously allowed for nations to opt-out, countries need to send WHO a short note that they are opting out of the amendments decided by the WHA in 2022 before 1 December 2023.
“Pursuant to the 2022 Amendments the period for rejection of amendments to the IHR 2005 is reduced from 18 months to 10 months after adoption and notification. The 2022 Amendments reduce the possibility for members of WHO to reject or make reservations to amendments of the IHR 2005. That is why we object to the 2022 Amendments,” Mr. van Haga informed Tedros.
Mr. van Haga requested that Tedros make his letter part of the public record and publish it on WHO’s website. He has sent a copy of his letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, Mrs. Bruins Slot, to the general secretariat of the European Union, to the chair of both houses of the Dutch Parliament and to the chair of the European Parliament.
In June 2023, MP Pepijn van Houwelingen’s parliamentary request to block the Dutch Cabinet from approving the new WHO “treaty” was backed by thirty lawmakers.
The 30 MPs sent a letter to the chair of the Dutch Parliament stating that Parliament’s approval of the 2022 amendments to the IHR was required because these amendments are a treaty or a protocol to a treaty and as such, they require the approval of the Dutch Parliament.
Effectively, instead of adopting WHO’s IHR amendments outright, the Dutch Cabinet must now submit a bill to the House of Representatives, where lawmakers will then debate the bill before it’s put to a vote.
On 25 October, Mr. van Houwelingen tweeted that the government had informed WHO that it does not agree to the 2022 IHR amendments.
Mr. van Haga noted Mr. van Houwelingen’s tweet in his letter to Tedros:
Member of Parliament Pepijn van Houwelingen indicated on Twitter, on October 25th 2023, that a formal notice would be sent on behalf of the Kingdom of The Netherlands to WHO that the 2022 Amendments would be subject to the formal approval by the Dutch Parliament. This notice constitutes a formal reservation on behalf of the Kingdom of The Netherlands that it can only be bound by the 2022 Amendments after the Dutch Parliament has approved the 2022 Amendments [See letter from MP Pepijn van Houwelingen to the Chairman of the House of Representatives dated 21 June 2023 HERE.]
Until now, no evidence of such notice to WHO on the reservation has been received by us. I notify you, in my capacity of Member of Parliament, of the reservation that the 2022 Amendments require the approval of the Dutch Parliament before the 2022 Amendments can enter into force in The Netherlands.
As the group of Members of the European Parliament had done, Mr. van Haga also brought to Tedros’ attention that the IHR amendments were “adopted” in May 2022 “without a normal voting procedure being in place.”
“The chair to the meeting simply asked whether anybody objected to the 2022 Amendments,” Mr. van Haga said and provided a link to THIS video which, at the time of writing this article, is no longer available.
Mr. van Haga’s letter continued:
Pursuant to Article 60 paragraph (b) of the WHO Constitution, General Assembly decisions on other questions than those subject to a two-thirds requirement “shall be made by a majority of the Members present and voting.”
This means that a record must be made of which Members are present and the outcome of the voting procedure. This requirement was not met.
Therefore, the 2022 Amendments must be considered null and void, if there is no proof of a vote.
Pursuant to Article 55 paragraph 2 of the IHR 2005, the text of any proposed amendment needs to be communicated to all States Parties by the Director-General at least 4 months before the Health Assembly. This requirement was also not observed.
You can read Mr. van Haga’s full letter to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus below, as taken from the article ‘A member of the Dutch Parliament has challenged the WHO’s procedures when the May 2022 amendments were approved’ published by Dr. Meryl Nass.
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