Global Health Centre

Beyond Panic & Neglect: Building a Human Rights Framework for Public Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response

International Geneva Global Health Platform
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Hybrid: Auditorium Ivan Pictet, Geneva Graduate Institute, Maison de la Paix and online

Geneva Health Week 2023 - WHA 76 side event

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#GenevaHealthWeek 2023: Building a Human Rights Framework for Emergency PPR



The COVID-19 pandemic has claimed millions of lives, inflicted widespread suffering, and exacerbated existing inequalities and injustices. Upending every aspect of life as we know it, the pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for a coordinated, equitable, and human rights-based approach to public health emergencies. The newly developed Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights and Public Health Emergencies (the Principles), to be launched alongside the 2023 World Health Assembly (WHA), aim to guide policymakers, international organisations, jurists and human rights defenders in addressing these challenges, and in centring human rights in all stages of public health emergencies, from prevention and preparedness to response and recovery.

Developed through a three-year partnership between the Global Health Law Consortium (GHLC) and the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), the Principles draw upon the expertise of over 150 international experts from multiple disciplines and a series of regional consultations with local civil society organisations from all six regions of the World Health Organization (WHO).

This WHA Side Event, co-hosted by the Geneva Graduate Institute together with GHLC, ICJ, Physicians for Human Rights and the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, is the first of a series of events aiming to further global conversations at the intersection of human rights, governance, and politics in the context of public health emergencies. As the first high-level public forum to discuss the Principles, this Graduate Institute event will serve as a platform for diverse voices to engage in constructive dialogue and exchange on what it means for countries to adopt a rights-based approach to public health emergencies.



  • Ian Seiderman | Legal and Policy Director, International Commission of Jurists
  • Roojin Habibi | Project Director, Global Health Law Consortium & Reseach Fellow, Global Strategy Lab, York University
  • Magdalena Sepúlveda Carmona | Executive Director, Global Initiative for Economic Social and Cultural Rights
  • Viviana Muñoz Tellez | Coordinator, Health, Intellectual Property and Biodiversity Programme (HIPB), South Centre
  • Saman Zia-Zarifi | Executive Director, Physicians for Human Rights
  • Steven Solomon | Principal Legal Officer, Office of the Legal Counsel, World Health Organization

Moderated by Gian Luca Burci | Adjunct Professor of International Law, Geneva Graduate Institute


Access speakers' biographies



The Global Health Centre and the International Geneva Global Health Platform, the International Commission of Jurists, the Global Health Law Consortium, the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Physicians for Human Rights.