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  • The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide
    By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read
    The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed.

    One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva.

    A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB).

    Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella.

    The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant.

    Historical Perspective

    These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing.

    In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others.

    The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat.

    With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations.

    As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context.

    Why May 2024?

    The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place.

    They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years..

    A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions.

    The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations.

    This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO.

    The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva.

    Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent.

    Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different.

    The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm.

    To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below.

    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement.

    REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024

    Preamble

    Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work.

    This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm.

    Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition.

    This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed.

    Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness.

    In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes.

    Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services,

    As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations.

    These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective.

    Chapter I. Introduction

    Article 1. Use of terms

    (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern.

    This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022.

    (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality.

    This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response.

    “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship.

    While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people.

    Article 2. Objective

    This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern.

    Article 3. Principles

    2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation

    The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary.

    3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people.

    This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda).

    Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact.

    5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics

    As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes.

    The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity.

    Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these.

    In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events.

    Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance

    2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate:

    (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential.

    (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.]

    The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations.

    The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work.

    6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article.

    Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs.

    Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response

    Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?)

    Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new).

    Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery

    2. Each Party commits…[to] :

    (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations

    (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure

    (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies

    (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems

    This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking.

    (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response.

    This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision.

    Article 7. Health and care workforce

    This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for:

    4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment…

    Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so.

    Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews

    1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system.

    2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels.

    Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries.

    Article 9. Research and development

    Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?).

    Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production

    Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations.

    Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how

    This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc.

    Article 12. Access and benefit sharing

    This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials.

    3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]:

    (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party;

    (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs),

    Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this.

    The article then becomes yet more concerning:

    6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer:

    (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties;

    (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, …

    It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight.

    The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment.

    8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible.

    The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit.

    10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality.

    The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine.

    The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products.

    It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity.

    Article 13. Supply chain and logistics

    The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products.

    Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it).

    For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase.

    Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions

    While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing.

    Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening

    This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort.

    Article 15. Liability and compensation management

    1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms…

    2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations.

    This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does.

    This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm.

    Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk.

    These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak.

    Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation

    A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement.

    Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches

    A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries).

    However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed).

    Article 18. Communication and public awareness

    1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation…

    2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies.

    The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss.

    As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement.

    Article 19. Implementation and support

    3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005).

    As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other.

    Article 20. Sustainable financing

    1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall:

    (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);…

    This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it.

    3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005)

    This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva.

    It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking.

    Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions

    Article 21. Conference of the Parties

    1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established.

    2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation.

    This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion.

    Articles 22 – 37

    These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues.

    Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU).

    The WHO will provide the secretariat.

    Under Article 24 is noted:

    3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns.

    These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement.

    As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.”

    Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public.

    Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time.

    Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it.

    Further reading:

    WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website:

    https://inb.who.int/

    International Health Regulations Working Group website:

    https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html

    On background to the WHO texts:

    Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide
    An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations
    On urgency and burden of pandemics:

    https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic

    Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy
    Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk
    Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement:

    Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
    For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author.

    Authors

    David Bell
    David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA.

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    Thi Thuy Van Dinh
    Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings.

    View all posts
    Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work.

    https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/

    https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide By David Bell, Thi Thuy Van Dinh March 22, 2024 Government, Society 30 minute read The World Health Organization (WHO) and its 194 Member States have been engaged for over two years in the development of two ‘instruments’ or agreements with the intent of radically changing the way pandemics and other health emergencies are managed. One, consisting of draft amendments to the existing International health Regulations (IHR), seeks to change the current IHR non-binding recommendations into requirements or binding recommendations, by having countries “undertake” to implement those given by the WHO in future declared health emergencies. It covers all ‘public health emergencies of international concern’ (PHEIC), with a single person, the WHO Director-General (DG) determining what a PHEIC is, where it extends, and when it ends. It specifies mandated vaccines, border closures, and other directives understood as lockdowns among the requirements the DG can impose. It is discussed further elsewhere and still under negotiation in Geneva. A second document, previously known as the (draft) Pandemic Treaty, then Pandemic Accord, and more recently the Pandemic Agreement, seeks to specify governance, supply chains, and various other interventions aimed at preventing, preparing for, and responding to, pandemics (pandemic prevention, preparedness and response – PPPR). It is currently being negotiated by the Intergovernmental Negotiating Body (INB). Both texts will be subject to a vote at the May 2024 World Health Assembly (WHA) in Geneva, Switzerland. These votes are intended, by those promoting these projects, to bring governance of future multi-country healthcare emergencies (or threats thereof) under the WHO umbrella. The latest version of the draft Pandemic Agreement (here forth the ‘Agreement’) was released on 7th March 2024. However, it is still being negotiated by various committees comprising representatives of Member States and other interested entities. It has been through multiple iterations over two years, and looks like it. With the teeth of the pandemic response proposals in the IHR, the Agreement looks increasingly irrelevant, or at least unsure of its purpose, picking up bits and pieces in a half-hearted way that the IHR amendments do not, or cannot, include. However, as discussed below, it is far from irrelevant. Historical Perspective These aim to increase the centralization of decision-making within the WHO as the “directing and coordinating authority.” This terminology comes from the WHO’s 1946 Constitution, developed in the aftermath of the Second World War as the world faced the outcomes of European fascism and the similar approaches widely imposed through colonialist regimes. The WHO would support emerging countries, with rapidly expanding and poorly resourced populations struggling under high disease burdens, and coordinate some areas of international support as these sovereign countries requested it. The emphasis of action was on coordinating rather than directing. In the 80 years prior to the WHO’s existence, international public health had grown within a more directive mindset, with a series of meetings by colonial and slave-owning powers from 1851 to manage pandemics, culminating in the inauguration of the Office Internationale d’Hygiene Publique in Paris in 1907, and later the League of Nations Health Office. World powers imposed health dictates on those less powerful, in other parts of the world and increasingly on their own population through the eugenics movement and similar approaches. Public health would direct, for the greater good, as a tool of those who wish to direct the lives of others. The WHO, governed by the WHA, was to be very different. Newly independent States and their former colonial masters were ostensibly on an equal footing within the WHA (one country – one vote), and the WHO’s work overall was to be an example of how human rights could dominate the way society works. The model for international public health, as exemplified in the Declaration of Alma Ata in 1978, was to be horizontal rather than vertical, with communities and countries in the driving seat. With the evolution of the WHO in recent decades from a core funding model (countries give money, the WHO decides under the WHA guidance how to spend it) to a model based on specified funding (funders, both public and increasingly private, instruct the WHO on how to spend it), the WHO has inevitably changed to become a public-private partnership required to serve the interests of funders rather than populations. As most funding comes from a few countries with major Pharma industrial bases, or private investors and corporations in the same industry, the WHO has been required to emphasize the use of pharmaceuticals and downplay evidence and knowledge where these clash (if it wants to keep all its staff funded). It is helpful to view the draft Agreement, and the IHR amendments, in this context. Why May 2024? The WHO, together with the World Bank, G20, and other institutions have been emphasizing the urgency of putting the new pandemic instruments in place earnestly, before the ‘next pandemic.’ This is based on claims that the world was unprepared for Covid-19, and that the economic and health harm would be somehow avoidable if we had these agreements in place. They emphasize, contrary to evidence that Covid-19 virus (SARS-CoV-2) origins involve laboratory manipulation, that the main threats we face are natural, and that these are increasing exponentially and present an “existential” threat to humanity. The data on which the WHO, the World Bank, and G20 base these claims demonstrates the contrary, with reported natural outbreaks having increased as detection technologies have developed, but reducing in mortality rate, and in numbers, over the past 10 to 20 years.. A paper cited by the World Bank to justify urgency and quoted as suggesting a 3x increase in risk in the coming decade actually suggests that a Covid-19-like event would occur roughly every 129 years, and a Spanish-flu repetition every 292 to 877 years. Such predictions are unable to take into account the rapidly changing nature of medicine and improved sanitation and nutrition (most deaths from Spanish flu would not have occurred if modern antibiotics had been available), and so may still overestimate risk. Similarly, the WHO’s own priority disease list for new outbreaks only includes two diseases of proven natural origin that have over 1,000 historical deaths attributed to them. It is well demonstrated that the risk and expected burden of pandemics is misrepresented by major international agencies in current discussions. The urgency for May 2024 is clearly therefore inadequately supported, firstly because neither the WHO nor others have demonstrated how the harms accrued through Covid-19 would be reduced through the measures proposed, and secondly because the burden and risk is misrepresented. In this context, the state of the Agreement is clearly not where it should be as a draft international legally binding agreement intended to impose considerable financial and other obligations on States and populations. This is particularly problematic as the proposed expenditure; the proposed budget is over $31 billion per year, with over $10 billion more on other One Health activities. Much of this will have to be diverted from addressing other diseases burdens that impose far greater burden. This trade-off, essential to understand in public health policy development, has not yet been clearly addressed by the WHO. The WHO DG stated recently that the WHO does not want the power to impose vaccine mandates or lockdowns on anyone, and does not want this. This begs the question of why either of the current WHO pandemic instruments is being proposed, both as legally binding documents. The current IHR (2005) already sets out such approaches as recommendations the DG can make, and there is nothing non-mandatory that countries cannot do now without pushing new treaty-like mechanisms through a vote in Geneva. Based on the DG’s claims, they are essentially redundant, and what new non-mandatory clauses they contain, as set out below, are certainly not urgent. Clauses that are mandatory (Member States “shall”) must be considered within national decision-making contexts and appear against the WHO’s stated intent. Common sense would suggest that the Agreement, and the accompanying IHR amendments, be properly thought through before Member States commit. The WHO has already abandoned the legal requirement for a 4-month review time for the IHR amendments (Article 55.2 IHR), which are also still under negotiation just 2 months before the WHA deadline. The Agreement should also have at least such a period for States to properly consider whether to agree – treaties normally take many years to develop and negotiate and no valid arguments have been put forward as to why these should be different. The Covid-19 response resulted in an unprecedented transfer of wealth from those of lower income to the very wealthy few, completely contrary to the way in which the WHO was intended to affect human society. A considerable portion of these pandemic profits went to current sponsors of the WHO, and these same corporate entities and investors are set to further benefit from the new pandemic agreements. As written, the Pandemic Agreement risks entrenching such centralization and profit-taking, and the accompanying unprecedented restrictions on human rights and freedoms, as a public health norm. To continue with a clearly flawed agreement simply because of a previously set deadline, when no clear population benefit is articulated and no true urgency demonstrated, would therefore be a major step backward in international public health. Basic principles of proportionality, human agency, and community empowerment, essential for health and human rights outcomes, are missing or paid lip-service. The WHO clearly wishes to increase its funding and show it is ‘doing something,’ but must first articulate why the voluntary provisions of the current IHR are insufficient. It is hoped that by systematically reviewing some key clauses of the agreement here, it will become clear why a rethink of the whole approach is necessary. The full text is found below. The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic. Much of the remaining text is essentially pointless as it reiterates vague intentions to be found in other documents or activities which countries normally undertake in the course of running health services, and have no place in a focused legally-binding international agreement. REVISED Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement. 7th March, 2024 Preamble Recognizing that the World Health Organization…is the directing and coordinating authority on international health work. This is inconsistent with a recent statement by the WHO DG that the WHO has no interest or intent to direct country health responses. To reiterate it here suggests that the DG is not representing the true position regarding the Agreement. “Directing authority” is however in line with the proposed IHR Amendments (and the WHO’s Constitution), under which countries will “undertake” ahead of time to follow the DG’s recommendations (which thereby become instructions). As the HR amendments make clear, this is intended to apply even to a perceived threat rather than actual harm. Recalling the constitution of the World Health Organization…highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social condition. This statement recalls fundamental understandings of public health, and is of importance here as it raises the question of why the WHO did not strongly condemn prolonged school closures, workplace closures, and other impoverishing policies during the Covid-19 response. In 2019, WHO made clear that these dangers should prevent actions we now call ‘lockdowns’ from being imposed. Deeply concerned by the gross inequities at national and international levels that hindered timely and equitable access to medical and other Covid-19 pandemic-related products, and the serious shortcomings in pandemic preparedness. In terms of health equity (as distinct from commodity of ‘vaccine’ equity), inequity in the Covid-19 response was not in failing to provide a vaccine against former variants to immune, young people in low-income countries who were at far higher risk from endemic diseases, but in the disproportionate harm to them of uniformly-imposed NPIs that reduced current and future income and basic healthcare, as was noted by the WHO in 2019 Pandemic Influenza recommendations. The failure of the text to recognize this suggests that lessons from Covid-19 have not informed this draft Agreement. The WHO has not yet demonstrated how pandemic ‘preparedness,’ in the terms they use below, would have reduced impact, given that there is poor correlation between strictness or speed of response and eventual outcomes. Reiterating the need to work towards…an equitable approach to mitigate the risk that pandemics exacerbate existing inequities in access to health services, As above – in the past century, the issue of inequity has been most pronounced in pandemic response, rather than the impact of the virus itself (excluding the physiological variation in risk). Most recorded deaths from acute pandemics, since the Spanish flu, were during Covid-19, in which the virus hit mainly sick elderly, but response impacted working-age adults and children heavily and will continue to have effect, due to increased poverty and debt; reduced education and child marriage, in future generations. These have disproportionately affected lower-income people, and particularly women. The lack of recognition of this in this document, though they are recognized by the World Bank and UN agencies elsewhere, must raise real questions on whether this Agreement has been thoroughly thought through, and the process of development been sufficiently inclusive and objective. Chapter I. Introduction Article 1. Use of terms (i) “pathogen with pandemic potential” means any pathogen that has been identified to infect a human and that is: novel (not yet characterized) or known (including a variant of a known pathogen), potentially highly transmissible and/or highly virulent with the potential to cause a public health emergency of international concern. This provides a very wide scope to alter provisions. Any pathogen that can infect humans and is potentially highly transmissible or virulent, though yet uncharacterized means virtually any coronavirus, influenza virus, or a plethora of other relatively common pathogen groups. The IHR Amendments intend that the DG alone can make this call, over the advice of others, as occurred with monkeypox in 2022. (j) “persons in vulnerable situations” means individuals, groups or communities with a disproportionate increased risk of infection, severity, disease or mortality. This is a good definition – in Covid-19 context, would mean the sick elderly, and so is relevant to targeting a response. “Universal health coverage” means that all people have access to the full range of quality health services they need, when and where they need them, without financial hardship. While the general UHC concept is good, it is time a sensible (rather than patently silly) definition was adopted. Society cannot afford the full range of possible interventions and remedies for all, and clearly there is a scale of cost vs benefit that prioritizes certain ones over others. Sensible definitions make action more likely, and inaction harder to justify. One could argue that none should have the full range until all have good basic care, but clearly the earth will not support ‘the full range’ for 8 billion people. Article 2. Objective This Agreement is specifically for pandemics (a poorly defined term but essentially a pathogen that spreads rapidly across national borders). In contrast, the IHR amendments accompanying it are broader in scope – for any public health emergencies of international concern. Article 3. Principles 2. the sovereign right of States to adopt, legislate and implement legislation The amendments to the IHR require States to undertake to follow WHO instructions ahead of time, before such instruction and context are known. These two documents must be understood, as noted later in the Agreement draft, as complementary. 3. equity as the goal and outcome of pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, ensuring the absence of unfair, avoidable or remediable differences among groups of people. This definition of equity here needs clarification. In the pandemic context, the WHO emphasized commodity (vaccine) equity during the Covid-19 response. Elimination of differences implied equal access to Covid-19 vaccines in countries with large aging, obese highly vulnerable populations (e.g. the USA or Italy), and those with young populations at minimal risk and with far more pressing health priorities (e.g. Niger or Uganda). Alternatively, but equally damaging, equal access to different age groups within a country when the risk-benefit ratio is clearly greatly different. This promotes worse health outcomes by diverting resources from where they are most useful, as it ignores heterogeneity of risk. Again, an adult approach is required in international agreements, rather than feel-good sentences, if they are going to have a positive impact. 5. …a more equitable and better prepared world to prevent, respond to and recover from pandemics As with ‘3’ above, this raises a fundamental problem: What if health equity demands that some populations divert resources to childhood nutrition and endemic diseases rather than the latest pandemic, as these are likely of far higher burden to many younger but lower-income populations? This would not be equity in the definition implied here, but would clearly lead to better and more equal health outcomes. The WHO must decide whether it is about uniform action, or minimizing poor health, as these are clearly very different. They are the difference between the WHO’s commodity equity, and true health equity. Chapter II. The world together equitably: achieving equity in, for and through pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Equity in health should imply a reasonably equal chance of overcoming or avoiding preventable sickness. The vast majority of sickness and death is due to either non-communicable diseases often related to lifestyle, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes mellitus, undernutrition in childhood, and endemic infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, malaria, and HIV/AIDS. Achieving health equity would primarily mean addressing these. In this chapter of the draft Pandemic Agreement, equity is used to imply equal access to specific health commodities, particularly vaccines, for intermittent health emergencies, although these exert a small fraction of the burden of other diseases. It is, specifically, commodity-equity, and not geared to equalizing overall health burden but to enabling centrally-coordinated homogenous responses to unusual events. Article 4. Pandemic prevention and surveillance 2. The Parties shall undertake to cooperate: (b) in support of…initiatives aimed at preventing pandemics, in particular those that improve surveillance, early warning and risk assessment; .…and identify settings and activities presenting a risk of emergence and re-emergence of pathogens with pandemic potential. (c-h) [Paragraphs on water and sanitation, infection control, strengthening of biosafety, surveillance and prevention of vector-born diseases, and addressing antimicrobial resistance.] The WHO intends the Agreement to have force under international law. Therefore, countries are undertaking to put themselves under force of international law in regards to complying with the agreement’s stipulations. The provisions under this long article mostly cover general health stuff that countries try to do anyway. The difference will be that countries will be assessed on progress. Assessment can be fine if in context, less fine if it consists of entitled ‘experts’ from wealthy countries with little local knowledge or context. Perhaps such compliance is best left to national authorities, who are more in use with local needs and priorities. The justification for the international bureaucracy being built to support this, while fun for those involved, is unclear and will divert resources from actual health work. 6. The Conference of the Parties may adopt, as necessary, guidelines, recommendations and standards, including in relation to pandemic prevention capacities, to support the implementation of this Article. Here and later, the COP is invoked as a vehicle to decide on what will actually be done. The rules are explained later (Articles 21-23). While allowing more time is sensible, it begs the question of why it is not better to wait and discuss what is needed in the current INB process, before committing to a legally-binding agreement. This current article says nothing not already covered by the IHR2005 or other ongoing programs. Article 5. One Health approach to pandemic prevention, preparedness and response Nothing specific or new in this article. It seems redundant (it is advocating a holistic approach mentioned elsewhere) and so presumably is just to get the term ‘One Health’ into the agreement. (One could ask, why bother?) Some mainstream definitions of One Health (e.g. Lancet) consider that it means non-human species are on a par with humans in terms of rights and importance. If this is meant here, clearly most Member States would disagree. So we may assume that it is just words to keep someone happy (a little childish in an international document, but the term ‘One Health’ has been trending, like ‘equity,’ as if the concept of holistic approaches to public health were new). Article 6. Preparedness, health system resilience and recovery 2. Each Party commits…[to] : (a) routine and essential health services during pandemics with a focus on primary health care, routine immunization and mental health care, and with particular attention to persons in vulnerable situations (b) developing, strengthening and maintaining health infrastructure (c) developing post-pandemic health system recovery strategies (d) developing, strengthening and maintaining: health information systems This is good, and (a) seems to require avoidance of lockdowns (which inevitably cause the harms listed). Unfortunately other WHO documents lead one to assume this is not the intent…It does appear therefore that this is simply another list of fairly non-specific feel-good measures that have no useful place in a new legally-binding agreement, and which most countries are already undertaking. (e) promoting the use of social and behavioural sciences, risk communication and community engagement for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response. This requires clarification, as the use of behavioral science during the Covid-19 response involved deliberate inducement of fear to promote behaviors that people would not otherwise follow (e.g. Spi-B). It is essential here that the document clarifies how behavioral science should be used ethically in healthcare. Otherwise, this is also a quite meaningless provision. Article 7. Health and care workforce This long Article discusses health workforce, training, retention, non-discrimination, stigma, bias, adequate remuneration, and other standard provisions for workplaces. It is unclear why it is included in a legally binding pandemic agreement, except for: 4. [The Parties]…shall invest in establishing, sustaining, coordinating and mobilizing a skilled and trained multidisciplinary global public health emergency workforce…Parties having established emergency health teams should inform WHO thereof and make best efforts to respond to requests for deployment… Emergency health teams established (within capacity etc.) – are something countries already do, when they have capacity. There is no reason to have this as a legally-binding instrument, and clearly no urgency to do so. Article 8. Preparedness monitoring and functional reviews 1. The Parties shall, building on existing and relevant tools, develop and implement an inclusive, transparent, effective and efficient pandemic prevention, preparedness and response monitoring and evaluation system. 2. Each Party shall assess, every five years, with technical support from the WHO Secretariat upon request, the functioning and readiness of, and gaps in, its pandemic prevention, preparedness and response capacity, based on the relevant tools and guidelines developed by WHO in partnership with relevant organizations at international, regional and sub-regional levels. Note that this is being required of countries that are already struggling to implement monitoring systems for major endemic diseases, including tuberculosis, malaria, HIV, and nutritional deficiencies. They will be legally bound to divert resources to pandemic prevention. While there is some overlap, it will inevitably divert resources from currently underfunded programs for diseases of far higher local burdens, and so (not theoretically, but inevitably) raise mortality. Poor countries are being required to put resources into problems deemed significant by richer countries. Article 9. Research and development Various general provisions about undertaking background research that countries are generally doing anyway, but with an ’emerging disease’ slant. Again, the INB fails to justify why this diversion of resources from researching greater disease burdens should occur in all countries (why not just those with excess resources?). Article 10. Sustainable and geographically diversified production Mostly non-binding but suggested cooperation on making pandemic-related products available, including support for manufacturing in “inter-pandemic times” (a fascinating rendering of ‘normal’), when they would only be viable through subsidies. Much of this is probably unimplementable, as it would not be practical to maintain facilities in most or all countries on stand-by for rare events, at cost of resources otherwise useful for other priorities. The desire to increase production in ‘developing’ countries will face major barriers and costs in terms of maintaining quality of production, particularly as many products will have limited use outside of rare outbreak situations. Article 11. Transfer of technology and know-how This article, always problematic for large pharmaceutical corporations sponsoring much WHO outbreak activities, is now watered down to weak requirements to ‘consider,’ promote,’ provide, within capabilities’ etc. Article 12. Access and benefit sharing This Article is intended to establish the WHO Pathogen Access and Benefit-Sharing System (PABS System). PABS is intended to “ensure rapid, systematic and timely access to biological materials of pathogens with pandemic potential and the genetic sequence data.” This system is of potential high relevance and needs to be interpreted in the context that SARS-CoV-2, the pathogen causing the recent Covid-19 outbreak, was highly likely to have escaped from a laboratory. PABS is intended to expand the laboratory storage, transport, and handling of such viruses, under the oversight of the WHO, an organization outside of national jurisdiction with no significant direct experience in handling biological materials. 3. When a Party has access to a pathogen [it shall]: (a) share with WHO any pathogen sequence information as soon as it is available to the Party; (b) as soon as biological materials are available to the Party, provide the materials to one or more laboratories and/or biorepositories participating in WHO-coordinated laboratory networks (CLNs), Subsequent clauses state that benefits will be shared, and seek to prevent recipient laboratories from patenting materials received from other countries. This has been a major concern of low-and middle-income countries previously, who perceive that institutions in wealthy countries patent and benefit from materials derived from less-wealthy populations. It remains to be seen whether provisions here will be sufficient to address this. The article then becomes yet more concerning: 6. WHO shall conclude legally binding standard PABS contracts with manufacturers to provide the following, taking into account the size, nature and capacities of the manufacturer: (a) annual monetary contributions to support the PABS System and relevant capacities in countries; the determination of the annual amount, use, and approach for monitoring and accountability, shall be finalized by the Parties; (b) real-time contributions of relevant diagnostics, therapeutics or vaccines produced by the manufacturer, 10% free of charge and 10% at not-for-profit prices during public health emergencies of international concern or pandemics, … It is clearly intended that the WHO becomes directly involved in setting up legally binding manufacturing contracts, despite the WHO being outside of national jurisdictional oversight, within the territories of Member States. The PABS system, and therefore its staff and dependent entities, are also to be supported in part by funds from the manufacturers whom they are supposed to be managing. The income of the organization will be dependent on maintaining positive relationships with these private entities in a similar way in which many national regulatory agencies are dependent upon funds from pharmaceutical companies whom their staff ostensibly regulate. In this case, the regulator will be even further removed from public oversight. The clause on 10% (why 10?) products being free of charge, and similar at cost, while ensuring lower-priced commodities irrespective of actual need (the outbreak may be confined to wealthy countries). The same entity, the WHO, will determine whether the triggering emergency exists, determine the response, and manage the contracts to provide the commodities, without direct jurisdictional oversight regarding the potential for corruption or conflict of interest. It is a remarkable system to suggest, irrespective of political or regulatory environment. 8. The Parties shall cooperate…public financing of research and development, prepurchase agreements, or regulatory procedures, to encourage and facilitate as many manufacturers as possible to enter into standard PABS contracts as early as possible. The article envisions that public funding will be used to build the process, ensuring essentially no-risk private profit. 10. To support operationalization of the PABS System, WHO shall…make such contracts public, while respecting commercial confidentiality. The public may know whom contracts are made with, but not all details of the contracts. There will therefore be no independent oversight of the clauses agreed between the WHO, a body outside of national jurisdiction and dependent of commercial companies for funding some of its work and salaries, and these same companies, on ‘needs’ that the WHO itself will have sole authority, under the proposed amendments to the IHR, to determine. The Article further states that the WHO shall use its own product regulatory system (prequalification) and Emergency Use Listing Procedure to open and stimulate markets for the manufacturers of these products. It is doubtful that any national government could make such an overall agreement, yet in May 2024 they will be voting to provide this to what is essentially a foreign, and partly privately financed, entity. Article 13. Supply chain and logistics The WHO will become convenor of a ‘Global Supply Chain and Logistics Network’ for commercially-produced products, to be supplied under WHO contracts when and where the WHO determines, whilst also having the role of ensuring safety of such products. Having mutual support coordinated between countries is good. Having this run by an organization that is significantly funded directly by those gaining from the sale of these same commodities seems reckless and counterintuitive. Few countries would allow this (or at least plan for it). For this to occur safely, the WHO would logically have to forgo all private investment, and greatly restrict national specified funding contributions. Otherwise, the conflicts of interest involved would destroy confidence in the system. There is no suggestion of such divestment from the WHO, but rather, as in Article 12, private sector dependency, directly tied to contracts, will increase. Article 13bis: National procurement- and distribution-related provisions While suffering the same (perhaps unavoidable) issues regarding commercial confidentiality, this alternate Article 13 seems far more appropriate, keeping commercial issues under national jurisdiction and avoiding the obvious conflict of interests that underpin funding for WHO activities and staffing. Article 14. Regulatory systems strengthening This entire Article reflects initiatives and programs already in place. Nothing here appears likely to add to current effort. Article 15. Liability and compensation management 1. Each Party shall consider developing, as necessary and in accordance with applicable law, national strategies for managing liability in its territory related to pandemic vaccines…no-fault compensation mechanisms… 2. The Parties…shall develop recommendations for the establishment and implementation of national, regional and/or global no-fault compensation mechanisms and strategies for managing liability during pandemic emergencies, including with regard to individuals that are in a humanitarian setting or vulnerable situations. This is quite remarkable, but also reflects some national legislation, in removing any fault or liability specifically from vaccine manufacturers, for harms done in pushing out vaccines to the public. During the Covid-19 response, genetic therapeutics being developed by BioNtech and Moderna were reclassified as vaccines, on the basis that an immune response is stimulated after they have modified intracellular biochemical pathways as a medicine normally does. This enabled specific trials normally required for carcinogenicity and teratogenicity to be bypassed, despite raised fetal abnormality rates in animal trials. It will enable the CEPI 100-day vaccine program, supported with private funding to support private mRNA vaccine manufacturers, to proceed without any risk to the manufacturer should there be subsequent public harm. Together with an earlier provision on public funding of research and manufacturing readiness, and the removal of former wording requiring intellectual property sharing in Article 11, this ensures vaccine manufacturers and their investors make profit in effective absence of risk. These entities are currently heavily invested in support for WHO, and were strongly aligned with the introduction of newly restrictive outbreak responses that emphasized and sometimes mandated their products during the Covid-19 outbreak. Article 16. International collaboration and cooperation A somewhat pointless article. It suggests that countries cooperate with each other and the WHO to implement the other agreements in the Agreement. Article 17. Whole-of-government and whole-of-society approaches A list of essentially motherhood provisions related to planning for a pandemic. However, countries will legally be required to maintain a ‘national coordination multisectoral body’ for PPPR. This will essentially be an added burden on budgets, and inevitably divert further resources from other priorities. Perhaps just strengthening current infectious disease and nutritional programs would be more impactful. (Nowhere in this Agreement is nutrition discussed (essential for resilience to pathogens) and minimal wording is included on sanitation and clean water (other major reasons for reduction in infectious disease mortality over past centuries). However, the ‘community ownership’ wording is interesting (“empower and enable community ownership of, and contribution to, community readiness for and resilience [for PPPR]”), as this directly contradicts much of the rest of the Agreement, including the centralization of control under the Conference of Parties, requirements for countries to allocate resources to pandemic preparedness over other community priorities, and the idea of inspecting and assessing adherence to the centralized requirements of the Agreement. Either much of the rest of the Agreement is redundant, or this wording is purely for appearance and not to be followed (and therefore should be removed). Article 18. Communication and public awareness 1. Each Party shall promote timely access to credible and evidence-based information …with the aim of countering and addressing misinformation or disinformation… 2. The Parties shall, as appropriate, promote and/or conduct research and inform policies on factors that hinder or strengthen adherence to public health and social measures in a pandemic, as well as trust in science and public health institutions and agencies. The key word is as appropriate, given that many agencies, including the WHO, have overseen or aided policies during the Covid-19 response that have greatly increased poverty, child marriage, teenage pregnancy, and education loss. As the WHO has been shown to be significantly misrepresenting pandemic risk in the process of advocating for this Agreement and related instruments, its own communications would also fall outside the provision here related to evidence-based information, and fall within normal understandings of misinformation. It could not therefore be an arbiter of correctness of information here, so the Article is not implementable. Rewritten to recommend accurate evidence-based information being promoted, it would make good sense, but this is not an issue requiring a legally binding international agreement. Article 19. Implementation and support 3. The WHO Secretariat…organize the technical and financial assistance necessary to address such gaps and needs in implementing the commitments agreed upon under the Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005). As the WHO is dependent on donor support, its ability to address gaps in funding within Member States is clearly not something it can guarantee. The purpose of this article is unclear, repeating in paragraphs 1 and 2 the earlier intent for countries to generally support each other. Article 20. Sustainable financing 1. The Parties commit to working together…In this regard, each Party, within the means and resources at its disposal, shall: (a) prioritize and maintain or increase, as necessary, domestic funding for pandemic prevention, preparedness and response, without undermining other domestic public health priorities including for: (i) strengthening and sustaining capacities for the prevention, preparedness and response to health emergencies and pandemics, in particular the core capacities of the International Health Regulations (2005);… This is silly wording, as countries obviously have to prioritize within budgets, so that moving funds to one area means removing from another. The essence of public health policy is weighing and making such decisions; this reality seems to be ignored here through wishful thinking. (a) is clearly redundant, as the IHR (2005) already exists and countries have agreed to support it. 3. A Coordinating Financial Mechanism (the “Mechanism”) is hereby established to support the implementation of both the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations (2005) This will be in parallel to the Pandemic Fund recently commenced by the World Bank – an issue not lost on INB delegates and so likely to change here in the final version. It will also be additive to the Global Fund to fight AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria, and other health financing mechanisms, and so require another parallel international bureaucracy, presumably based in Geneva. It is intended to have its own capacity to “conduct relevant analyses on needs and gaps, in addition to tracking cooperation efforts,” so it will not be a small undertaking. Chapter III. Institutional and final provisions Article 21. Conference of the Parties 1. A Conference of the Parties is hereby established. 2. The Conference of the Parties shall keep under regular review, every three years, the implementation of the WHO Pandemic Agreement and take the decisions necessary to promote its effective implementation. This sets up the governing body to oversee this Agreement (another body requiring a secretariat and support). It is intended to meet within a year of the Agreement coming into force, and then set its own rules on meeting thereafter. It is likely that many provisions outlined in this draft of the Agreement will be deferred to the COP for further discussion. Articles 22 – 37 These articles cover the functioning of the Conference of Parties (COP) and various administrative issues. Of note, ‘block votes’ will be allowed from regional bodies (e.g. the EU). The WHO will provide the secretariat. Under Article 24 is noted: 3. Nothing in the WHO Pandemic Agreement shall be interpreted as providing the Secretariat of the World Health Organization, including the WHO Director-General, any authority to direct, order, alter or otherwise prescribe the domestic laws or policies of any Party, or to mandate or otherwise impose any requirements that Parties take specific actions, such as ban or accept travellers, impose vaccination mandates or therapeutic or diagnostic measures, or implement lockdowns. These provisions are explicitly stated in the proposed amendments to the IHR, to be considered alongside this agreement. Article 26 notes that the IHR is to be interpreted as compatible, thereby confirming that the IHR provisions including border closures and limits on freedom of movement, mandated vaccination, and other lockdown measures are not negated by this statement. As Article 26 states: “The Parties recognize that the WHO Pandemic Agreement and the International Health Regulations should be interpreted so as to be compatible.” Some would consider this subterfuge – The Director-General recently labeled as liars those who claimed the Agreement included these powers, whilst failing to acknowledge the accompanying IHR amendments. The WHO could do better in avoiding misleading messaging, especially when this involves denigration of the public. Article 32 (Withdrawal) requires that, once adopted, Parties cannot withdraw for a total of 3 years (giving notice after a minimum of 2 years). Financial obligations undertaken under the agreement continue beyond that time. Finally, the Agreement will come into force, assuming a two-thirds majority in the WHA is achieved (Article 19, WHO Constitution), 30 days after the fortieth country has ratified it. Further reading: WHO Pandemic Agreement Intergovernmental Negotiating Board website: https://inb.who.int/ International Health Regulations Working Group website: https://apps.who.int/gb/wgihr/index.html On background to the WHO texts: Amendments to WHO’s International Health Regulations: An Annotated Guide An Unofficial Q&A on International Health Regulations On urgency and burden of pandemics: https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/downloads/download/228/rational-policy-over-panic Disease X and Davos: This is Not the Way to Evaluate and Formulate Public Health Policy Before Preparing for Pandemics, We Need Better Evidence of Risk Revised Draft of the negotiating text of the WHO Pandemic Agreement: Published under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License For reprints, please set the canonical link back to the original Brownstone Institute Article and Author. Authors David Bell David Bell, Senior Scholar at Brownstone Institute, is a public health physician and biotech consultant in global health. He is a former medical officer and scientist at the World Health Organization (WHO), Programme Head for malaria and febrile diseases at the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND) in Geneva, Switzerland, and Director of Global Health Technologies at Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund in Bellevue, WA, USA. View all posts Thi Thuy Van Dinh Dr. Thi Thuy Van Dinh (LLM, PhD) worked on international law in the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Subsequently, she managed multilateral organization partnerships for Intellectual Ventures Global Good Fund and led environmental health technology development efforts for low-resource settings. View all posts Your financial backing of Brownstone Institute goes to support writers, lawyers, scientists, economists, and other people of courage who have been professionally purged and displaced during the upheaval of our times. You can help get the truth out through their ongoing work. https://brownstone.org/articles/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide/ https://www.minds.com/donshafi911/blog/the-who-pandemic-agreement-a-guide-1621719398509187077
    BROWNSTONE.ORG
    The WHO Pandemic Agreement: A Guide ⋆ Brownstone Institute
    The commentary below concentrates on selected draft provisions of the latest publicly available version of the draft agreement that seem to be unclear or potentially problematic.
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  • ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 142: UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel
    Israel bombs near Egypt’s fortified wall with Rafah as talks resume to reach a captive exchange with Hamas. UN experts call for arms embargo against Israel and say states supplying weapons, ammunition or intelligence risk violating international law.

    Mustafa Abu SneinehFebruary 25, 2024
    Palestinian women grieve over the bodies of their loved ones killed in Israeli airstrikes in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip.
    Relatives of the Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks mourn as they receive the bodies of their loved ones at the the morgue of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, on February 24, 2024. (Bashar Taleb/apaimages)
    Casualties

    29,606+ killed* and at least 69,737 wounded in the Gaza Strip.
    380+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem
    Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147.
    579 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.**
    *This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel on February 24. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 38,000 when accounting for those presumed dead.

    ** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.”

    Key Developments

    CNN satellite imagery shows Egypt built more than two-mile-wide buffer zone along wall with Rafah, in southern Gaza, to keep displaced Palestinians at bay.
    Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea.
    Several Palestinians in Gaza sound call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October.
    UN experts call states to immediately cease transferring arms, and ammunition to Israel or share it with intelligence that could be used in Gaza Strip and violate international law.
    UN experts says that “military intelligence must also not be shared [with Israel] where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law.”
    So far, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Netherlands halted arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, suspended agreement to supply Israel with military technology.
    Senior Hamas figure tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “atmosphere of optimism” regarding prisoners’ exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire “does not reflect the truth.”
    EU chief of foreign policy Josep Borrell says Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”.
    In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep from Palestinian Bedouin communities in Jordan valley, inflicting heavy losses and disturbing their lives.
    Israeli forces bomb areas near Egypt’s border with Rafah

    In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces bombed several Palestinian neighborhoods in Deir Al-Balah, Rafah and north Gaza, killing and injuring tens of people.

    Israel’s warplanes launched bombs on a vast open area near the Egyptian border with Rafah, in southern Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering.

    A video shows Palestinians fleeing from the bombs close to Egypt’s fortified wall to keep displaced people at bay from entering the Sinai Peninsula.

    All of the 1.4 million Palestinians who sought refuge in Rafah cannot enter Sinai except those who obtained a travel permit. Recent satellite imagery obtained by CNN reveals that Egypt had built more than a two-mile-wide buffer zone along the wall with Rafah.

    In early February, Egyptian bulldozers and cranes started working on the buffer zone as Israeli politicians threatened to invade Rafah. The Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea.

    Overnight, Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces bombed Al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City, and launched an air raid on Al-Shaaf area in Gaza. Armed clashes between Palestinian resistance fighters and Israeli forces were reported in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood.

    Several Palestinians in Gaza sounded the call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in a city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October as most of it has been either damaged or destroyed by Israel, including the ancient Al-Omari Mosque.

    In the Al-Shati refugee camp, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and injured four in an airstrike overnight. It also bombed Beit Lahia, Rafah, and Deir Al-Balah.

    On Sunday, Gaza’s Ministry of Health did not update the casualty’s number for the past 24 hours. Yesterday, it said that Israeli forces committed eight “massacres” in various areas of the Gaza Strip, killing at least 92 Palestinian martyrs and injuring 123 people.

    UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel

    Supplying arms to Israel to bomb, destroy, kill, and maim Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and also in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has taken center stage in the past weeks.

    A UN report concluded that states should cease immediately from transferring arms and ammunition to Israel or supplying it with intelligence that could be used in the Gaza Strip, risking the violation of international law.

    So far, the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Canada and Australia have been at the helm of supplying weapons to Israel since October, with Washington and Berlin as the largest exporters of munitions.

    “States must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition – or parts for them – if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behavior, that they would be used to violate international law,” the UN experts said.

    They added that “as long there is a clear risk” of violating the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty and that arms will be used to commit crimes, exports of weapons and munitions to Israel should not go ahead.

    This also extends to sharing military intelligence. The U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly fed Israel with intelligence, dispatching military personnel to advise Israel early in October and operated reconnaissance flights over the Gaza Strip, eavesdropping on Palestinians in a bid to locate Israeli captives and help Tel Aviv destroy Hamas movement.

    “Military intelligence must also not be shared where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law,” the UN experts wrote.

    They added that there is a need for an arms embargo on Israel following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on January 26 ordering Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza. However, Israel has killed nearly four thousand Palestinians since then.

    “This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances,” the experts said.

    Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands are the only EU countries to halt arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, has suspended an agreement to supply Israel with military technology.

    Early in February, the Netherlands halted a deal to export F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel following a court decision that found that Israeli forces would use these parts “to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law.”

    “There are many indications that Israel has violated the humanitarian law of war in a not insignificant number of cases,” the UN report added.

    Deal between Hamas and Israel swings between optimism and despair

    On Sunday morning, hopes were dashed again of reaching a deal between Israel and Hamas, despite high expectations over the weekend as Qatari and Egyptian mediators traveled back to Paris to hold talks with CIA and Israeli officials.

    A senior Hamas figure told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “the atmosphere of optimism”, regarding a possible prisoners exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire, “does not reflect the truth.”

    He accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “evading” to engage with Hamas counter-proposal for four and half months of ceasefire, the exchange of hostages and prisoners, and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip.

    He added that Israel’s starvation policy in the Gaza Strip, blocking aid trucks from reaching north Gaza, could hinder any efforts to reach a deal.

    Israel’s Kan news reported on Sunday that they were “optimistic” about reaching a deal before the month of Ramadan, on March 10, but that would not discourage Israel from invading Rafah. An Israeli delegation is expected to fly to Qatar, Al-Jazeera reported.

    Scores of arrests in Tel Aviv as Netanyahu’s options narrow down

    On Saturday, the police arrested 18 Israelis as thousands protested in Tel Aviv, calling Netanyahu’s resignation and for a deal to be made on the release of Israeli captives in Gaza.

    The Israeli analyst at Haaretz, Amos Harel, wrote that Netanyahu’s government is facing three options at the current stage, either to strike a deal with Hamas, invade Rafah or “more empty promises” for Israelis and the US administration.

    A deal with Hamas, would mean a political headache for Netanyahu from his coalition government and threats of resignation from Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Invading Rafah would be a gamble as it risks deteriorating ties with Egypt, igniting the region, and massacring tens of thousands of Palestinians.

    “According to the third scenario,” Harel wrote, “things will continue as they have until now: Netanyahu will continue to provoke the Biden administration, will continue to promise ‘total victory,’ will evade promoting a hostage release deal, and will possibly antagonize Benny Gantz,” to push him to resign from war cabinet.

    Settlement expansion in West Banks is ‘dangerous’, officials warn

    Josep Borrell, the EU chief of foreign policy, said on Saturday that Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”.

    “Settlements make Israelis and Palestinians less safe, fuel tensions, obstruct peace efforts, and constitute a grave breach of international law,” he added.

    Israel’s Finance Minister Smotrich announced on Thursday a plan of constructing 3,300 housing units as a “response” to a shooting attack carried out by three Palestinians near Ma’ale Adumim settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, killing at least one Israeli and wounding five others.

    “The serious attack on Ma’ale Adumim must have a decisive security response but also an answer from the settlements… Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our control across the entire country,” Smotrich said.

    Following the attack, Israeli military prevented Palestinian vehicles from travelling on a main road leading to the Al-Eizariya neighborhood, close to Ma’ale Adumim’s main entrance, between 9pm and 6am the next morning.

    Over the past 24 hours, Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank towns of Hebron, Nablus, Jericho, Jenin, and Ramallah. Sami Al-Shami, a journalist and former political prisoner, was arrested from his home in Asira Al-Qibliya, south of Nablus.

    North of the West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the towns of Qalqilya and Nabi Saleh, raiding several Palestinian houses.

    The Prisoners’ Club said around 7,225 Palestinians were arrested by Israel in the West Bank since October. Some of them were released.

    On Sunday morning, Israeli settlers stole sheep from the Palestinian community of Arab Malihat, northwest of the city of Jericho, Wafa reported.

    Hassan Malihat, an activist in the community, said 30 sheep belonged to Suleiman Atallah Malihat were stolen by settlers. Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley rely on raising livestock and agricultural farm to make a living.

    Wafa reported that Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep in 2023, inflicting heavy losses on these communities and disturbing their lives.

    As Ramadan is approaching in a couple of weeks, Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday and performed silent Jewish prayers. These storming have become an almost daily act for over two decades and threaten to escalate tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank.

    https://mondoweiss.net/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-142-un-experts-call-for-immediate-arms-embargo-on-israel/
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 142: UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel Israel bombs near Egypt’s fortified wall with Rafah as talks resume to reach a captive exchange with Hamas. UN experts call for arms embargo against Israel and say states supplying weapons, ammunition or intelligence risk violating international law. Mustafa Abu SneinehFebruary 25, 2024 Palestinian women grieve over the bodies of their loved ones killed in Israeli airstrikes in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. Relatives of the Palestinians killed in Israeli attacks mourn as they receive the bodies of their loved ones at the the morgue of Al-Aqsa Hospital in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, on February 24, 2024. (Bashar Taleb/apaimages) Casualties 29,606+ killed* and at least 69,737 wounded in the Gaza Strip. 380+ Palestinians killed in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem Israel revises its estimated October 7 death toll down from 1,400 to 1,147. 579 Israeli soldiers killed since October 7, and at least 3,221 injured.** *This figure was confirmed by Gaza’s Ministry of Health on Telegram channel on February 24. Some rights groups put the death toll number at more than 38,000 when accounting for those presumed dead. ** This figure is released by the Israeli military, showing the soldiers whose names “were allowed to be published.” Key Developments CNN satellite imagery shows Egypt built more than two-mile-wide buffer zone along wall with Rafah, in southern Gaza, to keep displaced Palestinians at bay. Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea. Several Palestinians in Gaza sound call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October. UN experts call states to immediately cease transferring arms, and ammunition to Israel or share it with intelligence that could be used in Gaza Strip and violate international law. UN experts says that “military intelligence must also not be shared [with Israel] where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law.” So far, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Netherlands halted arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, suspended agreement to supply Israel with military technology. Senior Hamas figure tells Al-Jazeera Arabic that “atmosphere of optimism” regarding prisoners’ exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire “does not reflect the truth.” EU chief of foreign policy Josep Borrell says Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”. In 2023, Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep from Palestinian Bedouin communities in Jordan valley, inflicting heavy losses and disturbing their lives. Israeli forces bomb areas near Egypt’s border with Rafah In the past 24 hours, Israeli forces bombed several Palestinian neighborhoods in Deir Al-Balah, Rafah and north Gaza, killing and injuring tens of people. Israel’s warplanes launched bombs on a vast open area near the Egyptian border with Rafah, in southern Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians are sheltering. A video shows Palestinians fleeing from the bombs close to Egypt’s fortified wall to keep displaced people at bay from entering the Sinai Peninsula. All of the 1.4 million Palestinians who sought refuge in Rafah cannot enter Sinai except those who obtained a travel permit. Recent satellite imagery obtained by CNN reveals that Egypt had built more than a two-mile-wide buffer zone along the wall with Rafah. In early February, Egyptian bulldozers and cranes started working on the buffer zone as Israeli politicians threatened to invade Rafah. The Egyptian buffer zone is planned to stretch east-to-west from Kerem Abu Salem Crossing to the Mediterranean Sea. Overnight, Wafa news agency reported that Israeli forces bombed Al-Sabra neighborhood in Gaza City, and launched an air raid on Al-Shaaf area in Gaza. Armed clashes between Palestinian resistance fighters and Israeli forces were reported in the Al-Zaytoun neighborhood. Several Palestinians in Gaza sounded the call of prayer through loudspeakers from windows in a city where mosques have not held a Friday prior since October as most of it has been either damaged or destroyed by Israel, including the ancient Al-Omari Mosque. In the Al-Shati refugee camp, Israeli forces killed two Palestinians and injured four in an airstrike overnight. It also bombed Beit Lahia, Rafah, and Deir Al-Balah. On Sunday, Gaza’s Ministry of Health did not update the casualty’s number for the past 24 hours. Yesterday, it said that Israeli forces committed eight “massacres” in various areas of the Gaza Strip, killing at least 92 Palestinian martyrs and injuring 123 people. UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel Supplying arms to Israel to bomb, destroy, kill, and maim Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and also in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem has taken center stage in the past weeks. A UN report concluded that states should cease immediately from transferring arms and ammunition to Israel or supplying it with intelligence that could be used in the Gaza Strip, risking the violation of international law. So far, the U.S., Germany, the U.K., France, Canada and Australia have been at the helm of supplying weapons to Israel since October, with Washington and Berlin as the largest exporters of munitions. “States must accordingly refrain from transferring any weapon or ammunition – or parts for them – if it is expected, given the facts or past patterns of behavior, that they would be used to violate international law,” the UN experts said. They added that “as long there is a clear risk” of violating the 1949 Geneva Conventions and the States Parties to the Arms Trade Treaty and that arms will be used to commit crimes, exports of weapons and munitions to Israel should not go ahead. This also extends to sharing military intelligence. The U.S. and the U.K. have reportedly fed Israel with intelligence, dispatching military personnel to advise Israel early in October and operated reconnaissance flights over the Gaza Strip, eavesdropping on Palestinians in a bid to locate Israeli captives and help Tel Aviv destroy Hamas movement. “Military intelligence must also not be shared where there is a clear risk that it would be used to violate international humanitarian law,” the UN experts wrote. They added that there is a need for an arms embargo on Israel following the International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling on January 26 ordering Israel to prevent genocide in Gaza. However, Israel has killed nearly four thousand Palestinians since then. “This necessitates halting arms exports in the present circumstances,” the experts said. Belgium, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands are the only EU countries to halt arms transfers to Israel, while Japan trade giant, Itochu Corporation, has suspended an agreement to supply Israel with military technology. Early in February, the Netherlands halted a deal to export F-35 fighter jet parts to Israel following a court decision that found that Israeli forces would use these parts “to commit or facilitate serious violations of international humanitarian law.” “There are many indications that Israel has violated the humanitarian law of war in a not insignificant number of cases,” the UN report added. Deal between Hamas and Israel swings between optimism and despair On Sunday morning, hopes were dashed again of reaching a deal between Israel and Hamas, despite high expectations over the weekend as Qatari and Egyptian mediators traveled back to Paris to hold talks with CIA and Israeli officials. A senior Hamas figure told Al-Jazeera Arabic that “the atmosphere of optimism”, regarding a possible prisoners exchange deal with Israel and ceasefire, “does not reflect the truth.” He accused Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of “evading” to engage with Hamas counter-proposal for four and half months of ceasefire, the exchange of hostages and prisoners, and the complete withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip. He added that Israel’s starvation policy in the Gaza Strip, blocking aid trucks from reaching north Gaza, could hinder any efforts to reach a deal. Israel’s Kan news reported on Sunday that they were “optimistic” about reaching a deal before the month of Ramadan, on March 10, but that would not discourage Israel from invading Rafah. An Israeli delegation is expected to fly to Qatar, Al-Jazeera reported. Scores of arrests in Tel Aviv as Netanyahu’s options narrow down On Saturday, the police arrested 18 Israelis as thousands protested in Tel Aviv, calling Netanyahu’s resignation and for a deal to be made on the release of Israeli captives in Gaza. The Israeli analyst at Haaretz, Amos Harel, wrote that Netanyahu’s government is facing three options at the current stage, either to strike a deal with Hamas, invade Rafah or “more empty promises” for Israelis and the US administration. A deal with Hamas, would mean a political headache for Netanyahu from his coalition government and threats of resignation from Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich. Invading Rafah would be a gamble as it risks deteriorating ties with Egypt, igniting the region, and massacring tens of thousands of Palestinians. “According to the third scenario,” Harel wrote, “things will continue as they have until now: Netanyahu will continue to provoke the Biden administration, will continue to promise ‘total victory,’ will evade promoting a hostage release deal, and will possibly antagonize Benny Gantz,” to push him to resign from war cabinet. Settlement expansion in West Banks is ‘dangerous’, officials warn Josep Borrell, the EU chief of foreign policy, said on Saturday that Israel’s government plan to expand settlements in the occupied West Bank is “inflammatory and dangerous”. “Settlements make Israelis and Palestinians less safe, fuel tensions, obstruct peace efforts, and constitute a grave breach of international law,” he added. Israel’s Finance Minister Smotrich announced on Thursday a plan of constructing 3,300 housing units as a “response” to a shooting attack carried out by three Palestinians near Ma’ale Adumim settlement in occupied East Jerusalem, killing at least one Israeli and wounding five others. “The serious attack on Ma’ale Adumim must have a decisive security response but also an answer from the settlements… Our enemies know that any harm to us will lead to more construction and more development and more of our control across the entire country,” Smotrich said. Following the attack, Israeli military prevented Palestinian vehicles from travelling on a main road leading to the Al-Eizariya neighborhood, close to Ma’ale Adumim’s main entrance, between 9pm and 6am the next morning. Over the past 24 hours, Israeli forces arrested 15 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank towns of Hebron, Nablus, Jericho, Jenin, and Ramallah. Sami Al-Shami, a journalist and former political prisoner, was arrested from his home in Asira Al-Qibliya, south of Nablus. North of the West Bank, Israeli forces stormed the towns of Qalqilya and Nabi Saleh, raiding several Palestinian houses. The Prisoners’ Club said around 7,225 Palestinians were arrested by Israel in the West Bank since October. Some of them were released. On Sunday morning, Israeli settlers stole sheep from the Palestinian community of Arab Malihat, northwest of the city of Jericho, Wafa reported. Hassan Malihat, an activist in the community, said 30 sheep belonged to Suleiman Atallah Malihat were stolen by settlers. Palestinian communities in the Jordan Valley rely on raising livestock and agricultural farm to make a living. Wafa reported that Israeli forces and settlers seized 43 agricultural tractors, 293 vehicles, and 296 sheep in 2023, inflicting heavy losses on these communities and disturbing their lives. As Ramadan is approaching in a couple of weeks, Israeli settlers stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque on Sunday and performed silent Jewish prayers. These storming have become an almost daily act for over two decades and threaten to escalate tensions in Jerusalem and the West Bank. https://mondoweiss.net/2024/02/operation-al-aqsa-flood-day-142-un-experts-call-for-immediate-arms-embargo-on-israel/
    MONDOWEISS.NET
    ‘Operation Al-Aqsa Flood’ Day 142: UN experts call for immediate arms embargo on Israel
    Israel bombs near Egypt’s fortified wall with Rafah as talks resume to reach a captive exchange with Hamas. UN experts call for arms embargo against Israel and say states supplying weapons, ammunition or intelligence risk violating international law.
    0 Comments 0 Shares 13123 Views
  • Speaking in Poland, Dutch MEP Rob Roos exposes the various ways unelected globalist technocrats at the EU are attempting to seize complete totalitarian control—including the fabricated "climate crisis", digital ID, CBDCs and the war on farmers.

    "They are trying to control CO2. If you control CO2, you control people, because everything we do in life is about CO2 emissions: living, breathing, eating, travelling. So if you can control that, you can control people's lives."

    "Now they have introduced the digital identity and the central bank digital currency, so they can see everything we do, and they can control everything we do, because they can shut off our financial system whenever they want. We have seen it already in Canada during the Covid crisis."

    "They want to abolish the nation state, because once that happens they have complete control. We are heading towards what I call a new kind of communism."

    Source

    For more content like this, subscribe to @RealWideAwakeMedia

    And visit: https://wide-awake-media.com

    Twitter | Rumble | Gettr | Truth Social
    Speaking in Poland, Dutch MEP Rob Roos exposes the various ways unelected globalist technocrats at the EU are attempting to seize complete totalitarian control—including the fabricated "climate crisis", digital ID, CBDCs and the war on farmers. "They are trying to control CO2. If you control CO2, you control people, because everything we do in life is about CO2 emissions: living, breathing, eating, travelling. So if you can control that, you can control people's lives." "Now they have introduced the digital identity and the central bank digital currency, so they can see everything we do, and they can control everything we do, because they can shut off our financial system whenever they want. We have seen it already in Canada during the Covid crisis." "They want to abolish the nation state, because once that happens they have complete control. We are heading towards what I call a new kind of communism." Source For more content like this, subscribe to @RealWideAwakeMedia And visit: https://wide-awake-media.com Twitter | Rumble | Gettr | Truth Social
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    Wide Awake Media - News and commentary on the long-term agenda for global control that's unfolding before our eyes.
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  • The Israʾ and Miʿraj are the two parts of a Night Journey that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ took during a single night around the year 621. Within Islam it signifies both a physical and spiritual journey. In the Israʾ part of the journey, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ travelled on the Buraq to Masjid al-Aqsa where he led other prophets in prayer.

    In the next part of the journey, the Mi'raj, he ascended into heaven where he individually greeted the prophets and later, spoke to Allah ﷻ, who gave Prophet Muhammad ﷺ instructions to take back to the Muslims regarding the details of prayer. www.facebook.com/maulabillah
    The Israʾ and Miʿraj are the two parts of a Night Journey that the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ took during a single night around the year 621. Within Islam it signifies both a physical and spiritual journey. In the Israʾ part of the journey, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ travelled on the Buraq to Masjid al-Aqsa where he led other prophets in prayer. In the next part of the journey, the Mi'raj, he ascended into heaven where he individually greeted the prophets and later, spoke to Allah ﷻ, who gave Prophet Muhammad ﷺ instructions to take back to the Muslims regarding the details of prayer. www.facebook.com/maulabillah
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  • War on Gaza: Israeli Sniper Kills Renowned Palestinian Psychologist Fadel Abu Hein
    Tributes are pouring in to renowned Al-Aqsa University academic who focused on trauma arising from conflict


    All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name (only available in desktop version).

    To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here.

    Click the share button above to email/forward this article to your friends and colleagues. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

    New Year Donation Drive: Global Research Is Committed to the “Unspoken Truth”

    ***

    Tributes are pouring in to Palestinian academic Fadel Abu Hein, a professor and psychologist at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, after he was killed by an Israeli sniper on 23 January.

    Abu Hein’s death comes as Israeli forces encircled the Khan Younis area of Gaza, which is home to Al-Aqsa University.

    The university has been damaged in Israeli attacks, but displaced Palestinians continue to shelter there, amid Israeli demands that they leave.

    Abu Hein, who was in Khan Younis when he was killed, was considered an expert in treating trauma and mental health conditions resulting from years of war.

    His students and those familiar with his work left a series of tributes to him after learning about his death.

    “Fadel Abu Hein has been interviewed over the years about his role in his community, you should read his words, recognise his academic work. My heart breaks for the life he has endured, the dignity he displayed and his unnecessary death, huge loss to the people of Gaza,” one academic posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter.

    “So sad to lose a fellow academic… psychology professor Fadel Abu Hein continued much needed expertise, research, and community activities in the field of trauma and its impact on mental health of Palestinians, especially children in Gaza,” said another.


    Abu Hein’s work involved travelling to Europe and the US as part of academic conferences and meetings.

    Israel has killed at least 94 other academics in its war on the besieged enclave. A total of at least 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, the vast majority of them civilians.

    Abu Hein was a professor of psychology at Al-Aqsa University for over 20 years, and had published several journals and research articles in his field.

    He was also the director of the Community Training Centre for Crisis Management (CTCM) in Gaza.

    In an interview with The Guardian in 2005, Fadel said that Palestinian children had become “indifferent to death” following the Second Intifada.

    “In the long term, the trauma will grow with the child and becomes part of the personality,” he added, saying that children had become traumatised by Israeli shooting, night raids, demolitions and other people’s stress.

    No Access for Ambulances

    Abu Hein was reportedly arrested by Israeli forces in 2003 during an incursion which resulted in 13 Palestinians being killed, including his three brothers.

    A report in the New York Times from the same year said that he pleaded not guilty to charges of weapons possession and incitement, after he was detained.

    His family home was later razed to the ground by Israel.

    The Center for Human Rights said Abu Hein had been subjected to sleep deprivation and was forced to remain in painful positions for extended periods of time during his interrogation.

    One of Abu Hein’s academic focuses was working to overcome the stigma around mental health issues, especially among men.

    He said that continuous conflict had a “disastrous effect” on the psyche of Gaza’s children and that common long-term trauma symptoms included panic, lack of confidence and no sense of safety, which made them more introverted or more aggressive towards others.

    “It is difficult to provide psychological treatment [for the children] because Gaza lives in a changing reality from time to time,” he said in an interview in 2022.

    Khan Younis, where Abu Hein died, is the latest focus of Israel’s devastating campaign in Gaza, which has left much of the northern area of the territory uninhabitable.

    Since the war began, Palestinians have been forced to move from one area to another as Israel looks to uproot Hamas from Gaza.

    As snipers and tanks settled into positions in Khan Younis on Tuesday, ambulances were left unable to reach the wounded.

    *

    Note to readers: Please click the share button above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles.

    Featured image: Doctor Fadel Abu Hein, a professor and psychologist at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, was killed on 23 January 2024 (Screengrab/X)

    Read here: https://www.globalresearch.ca/war-gaza-israeli-sniper-kills-renowned-palestinian-psychologist-fadel-abu-hein/5847518

    https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/01/war-on-gaza-israeli-sniper-kills.html
    War on Gaza: Israeli Sniper Kills Renowned Palestinian Psychologist Fadel Abu Hein Tributes are pouring in to renowned Al-Aqsa University academic who focused on trauma arising from conflict All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name (only available in desktop version). To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here. Click the share button above to email/forward this article to your friends and colleagues. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. New Year Donation Drive: Global Research Is Committed to the “Unspoken Truth” *** Tributes are pouring in to Palestinian academic Fadel Abu Hein, a professor and psychologist at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, after he was killed by an Israeli sniper on 23 January. Abu Hein’s death comes as Israeli forces encircled the Khan Younis area of Gaza, which is home to Al-Aqsa University. The university has been damaged in Israeli attacks, but displaced Palestinians continue to shelter there, amid Israeli demands that they leave. Abu Hein, who was in Khan Younis when he was killed, was considered an expert in treating trauma and mental health conditions resulting from years of war. His students and those familiar with his work left a series of tributes to him after learning about his death. “Fadel Abu Hein has been interviewed over the years about his role in his community, you should read his words, recognise his academic work. My heart breaks for the life he has endured, the dignity he displayed and his unnecessary death, huge loss to the people of Gaza,” one academic posted on X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter. “So sad to lose a fellow academic… psychology professor Fadel Abu Hein continued much needed expertise, research, and community activities in the field of trauma and its impact on mental health of Palestinians, especially children in Gaza,” said another. Abu Hein’s work involved travelling to Europe and the US as part of academic conferences and meetings. Israel has killed at least 94 other academics in its war on the besieged enclave. A total of at least 25,000 Palestinians have been killed in the conflict so far, the vast majority of them civilians. Abu Hein was a professor of psychology at Al-Aqsa University for over 20 years, and had published several journals and research articles in his field. He was also the director of the Community Training Centre for Crisis Management (CTCM) in Gaza. In an interview with The Guardian in 2005, Fadel said that Palestinian children had become “indifferent to death” following the Second Intifada. “In the long term, the trauma will grow with the child and becomes part of the personality,” he added, saying that children had become traumatised by Israeli shooting, night raids, demolitions and other people’s stress. No Access for Ambulances Abu Hein was reportedly arrested by Israeli forces in 2003 during an incursion which resulted in 13 Palestinians being killed, including his three brothers. A report in the New York Times from the same year said that he pleaded not guilty to charges of weapons possession and incitement, after he was detained. His family home was later razed to the ground by Israel. The Center for Human Rights said Abu Hein had been subjected to sleep deprivation and was forced to remain in painful positions for extended periods of time during his interrogation. One of Abu Hein’s academic focuses was working to overcome the stigma around mental health issues, especially among men. He said that continuous conflict had a “disastrous effect” on the psyche of Gaza’s children and that common long-term trauma symptoms included panic, lack of confidence and no sense of safety, which made them more introverted or more aggressive towards others. “It is difficult to provide psychological treatment [for the children] because Gaza lives in a changing reality from time to time,” he said in an interview in 2022. Khan Younis, where Abu Hein died, is the latest focus of Israel’s devastating campaign in Gaza, which has left much of the northern area of the territory uninhabitable. Since the war began, Palestinians have been forced to move from one area to another as Israel looks to uproot Hamas from Gaza. As snipers and tanks settled into positions in Khan Younis on Tuesday, ambulances were left unable to reach the wounded. * Note to readers: Please click the share button above. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel free to repost and share widely Global Research articles. Featured image: Doctor Fadel Abu Hein, a professor and psychologist at Gaza’s Al-Aqsa University, was killed on 23 January 2024 (Screengrab/X) Read here: https://www.globalresearch.ca/war-gaza-israeli-sniper-kills-renowned-palestinian-psychologist-fadel-abu-hein/5847518 https://donshafi911.blogspot.com/2024/01/war-on-gaza-israeli-sniper-kills.html
    WWW.GLOBALRESEARCH.CA
    War on Gaza: Israeli Sniper Kills Renowned Palestinian Psychologist Fadel Abu Hein
    All Global Research articles can be read in 51 languages by activating the Translate Website button below the author’s name (only available in desktop version). To receive Global Research’s Daily Newsletter (selected articles), click here. Click the share button above to email/forward this article to your friends and colleagues. Follow us on Instagram and Twitter and subscribe to our Telegram Channel. Feel …
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  • How to Fake Pandemics in 4 Easy Steps
    A masterclass by the DOD showman, James Giordano.

    Sasha Latypova
    Who here still believes covid was a real viral pandemic? Or even an epidemic? Welcome! We don’t judge! Actually we do - you are an idiot if after 4 years of this charade you still believe that was an epidemic. The data is clear that there was none, US Government/Trump announced “public health emergency” based on about 40 cases in China without any significant evidence of real illness or economic impact. State governors announced public health emergencies based on nothing. In Ohio it was 3 cases of covid that became the basis for shutting down the entire state. This is because declarations of public health emergency, by law, require no evidence that an emergency exists. Opinion of one unelected bureaucrat is all that’s needed.

    The US Government then provided massive funding to fake-PCR label “covid” cases and murder people in hospitals with remdesivir+vent protocols while denying early effective treatment, as well as fake PCR-attributing covid causes to anything including motor vehicle deaths and gun homicides. Coquin de Chien John Beaudoin is a great resource on learning about this fraud-and-murder event labeled as “pandemic”, and if you have not yet subscribed to his stack, I recommend you do so.

    Pandemics do not exist at all. They are not possible in nature. Had they been possible, we would not be here. At this point I am asked - but the plague! The smallpox! The cholera! The answer is - these are diseases related to lack of sanitation, crowding, infestation with rats and fleas, human and animal waste polluting the drinking water. Once these problems are addressed, epidemics do not exist. And these diseases never caused global pandemics anyway. The “Spanish flu” was also a fake pandemic, a narrative manufactured probably decades after.

    Pandemics are also not possible via “science” and what is called gain-of-function research which amounts to mostly ridiculous attempts at software enabled sorcery, making soups of chemicals mixed with literally shit, as I discussed in my previous article. Yes, toxic chemicals and shit can cause poisoning, but this does not spread by itself. Of course, these labs should be shut down as a waste of money and a local health hazard (mostly to those working in the labs).

    Big thanks to Meryl Nass for pointing to this important piece of data published by the Lancet:

    A new study reports 309 lab acquired infections and 16 pathogen lab escapes between 2000 and 2021, several deaths/ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

    https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2666-5247%2823%2900319-1 https://thebulletin.org/2023/12/a-new-study-reports-309-lab-acquired-infections-and-16-pathogen-lab-escapes-between-2000-and-2021/#post-heading The CDC collects about 200 reports per year of lab accidents, leaks, escaped infected animals or infected staff. So this report is a gross un…

    Read more

    23 days ago · 160 likes · 64 comments · Meryl Nass

    I think the Lancet was trying to make the opposite point vs the one they actually made. The paper identified 51 scary pathogen “leaks” from labs worldwide (mostly in North America and China). Additionally, CDC collects reports of about 200 of these “escapes” a year in the US (so Lancet paper is a severe under-count of these potentially apocalyptic events). This many dangerous leaks of dangerous pathogens a year! We should have world ending catastrophes every week, right?

    Lancet says it did not result in anything like this… There were 8 deaths (bad and tragic, and in lab workers themselves), and many “exposures” (imaginary concept in public health to justify throwing political dissidents and other random people into quarantine camps). There was one incident in China where 10,000 people acquired bacterial infection. OK, that’s bad too, but did China lock down? Did Europe and US close all flights from China? How come with such large “outbreak” nothing travelled by air and killed half the world? I mean with the coof, the entire world locked down after 40 cases or so!

    Why, with seemingly plenty of opportunities for lab leaks, do pandemics happen only on command from the WHO? And only after all key countries practiced those exact pandemics numerous times in table top exercises?

    All pandemics to date have been faked by the military-industrial globalist cabal (with numerous witting and unwitting participants):

    Sorry, RFK Jr., despite your desire to appear middle ground by including a lie with a majority truthful statement, covid “pandemic” was also faked, using the same basic script, actors and funding.

    What is the pandemic script?

    Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. Here is a DOD showman James Giordano. He is not a real scientist, his business is spinning clickbait science propaganda. In this lecture he is explaining how to fake pandemics in four easy steps in a video from 2017 “Neurotechnology in National Defense”:

    Step 1: Poison a few people in a few geographic locations (“sentinel cases”) with a drug (chemical toxin or bio-toxin) that causes “highly morbid” central nervous system (CNS) effects . [I told you “covid” was a synthetic toxin, didn’t I?]

    Step 2: Pretend it was “a bug, a virus modified with CRISPR Cas9” (what James means here is - “oops, forget what I just told you 45 seconds ago about A DRUG. I really-really mean a bioengineered GOF virus!!”)

    Step 3: Use the “REAL BUG” - the Internet! Broadcast on social media that everyone is infected with a “highly lethal agent” that has “asymptomatic, prodromal effects” - anxiety, sleeplessness and worry. When you worry - those are the signs that you have a “lethal asymptomatic infection”. M-kay. That means the undergraduate students in a garage someplace released the bioweapon. Or it “leaked” from BSL4 facility in Wuhan (that sounds scarier, doesn’t it?), and it got to you all the way in Iowa. Believe!!!

    Step 4: All hypochondriacs and “worried-well” run to their doctors and flood the hospital ERs, yay! Now we can get them with the fake PCR-remdesivir-ventilator protocol! and call it “covid”!

    PS. For extra fun play a game of confusing messages and denial with CDC. Does this explain Fauci’s flip-flop on masks early on in 2020 - you bet it does!

    There is a “step 0” that’s required for this plan to really work out - that is constant brainwashing of the masses, programming their brains to respond to some key trigger words in a predictable fashion. Here is one such example (“Blacklist”, 2014):

    I think the 5th horseman is called “ScienceMAD” and he rides a Chimera, something like this:

    Chimera with a Male Andalusian horse and a face of a goose again Stock Image
    Now, let’s hear from the field operative, the real practitioner. Here is now famous Indiana Jones by name of Michael Callahan, the CIA agent with a cover of “infectious disease doctor” explaining his job very clearly. You see, his job is to make prophecies of what viruses with pandemic potential will “inevitably emerge” (wink wink) and then make “vaccines” for them almost immediately. I think it is clear that he is not a real scientist either, but a “prophet” of sorts.

    https://twitter.com/LivewithAndy/status/1701987736406675770


    In a related post I discussed another cabal thespian whose amplua includes pretending to be an infectious disease doctor, too - Col Matt Hepburn, evangelizing the crowd at TED:

    "Pandemic Preparedness" - a Government Protection Racket

    "Pandemic Preparedness" - a Government Protection Racket
    Meet Col Matt Hepburn who in 2020 leads an effort for the Department of Defense called Enabling Technologies. Enabling Technologies rapidly develops new vaccines and treatments against future (!) infectious disease challenges. Matt can predict the future and “protect” you from it.

    Read full story

    This racket is so profitable that they are getting tired of coming up with names for their fake “novel viruses” and fake pandemics and are simply switching to “Disease X” here and here. Oh, and look at that - a new bill in Congress:

    Image
    Image
    I am also tiered of repeating how utterly stupid it is to “predict” vital pandemics, especially of “unknown but deadly nature”, so I am going to refer you to this good piece of writing explaining this nonsense.

    The X Files: A Primer on the Next Plandemic

    My recent or only-intermittent readers may not buy this, but I truly do try to be sympathetic to the people who fell (and continue to fall, bless their trusting little hearts) for the wickedest and most prolific propaganda campaign in history. I have attempted to exonerate or at least understand the medical professionals who—despite overwhelming, irrefu…

    Read more

    3 days ago · 72 likes · 55 comments · Jenna McCarthy

    My own assessment of what Disease X means - the cabal has been and is planning to continue using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (yes, CBRN weapons, all of them) on populations in increasing scale and variety. These are internationally prohibited activities that the criminals in US Government and other governments are engaged in by renaming them into “health events” and “preparedness”. Is this dangerous? Yes, just as any act of terrorism. However, we can really get prepared for their “preparedness” by dispelling their fake fear narratives of mutating invisible self-spreading bullshit, and staying alert, utilizing common sense, not relying on their murderous “healthcare” and helping each other.

    Art for today: Portrait of a young man, 14x18 in.



    https://sashalatypova.substack.com/p/how-to-fake-pandemics-in-4-easy-steps?utm_medium=ios
    How to Fake Pandemics in 4 Easy Steps A masterclass by the DOD showman, James Giordano. Sasha Latypova Who here still believes covid was a real viral pandemic? Or even an epidemic? Welcome! We don’t judge! Actually we do - you are an idiot if after 4 years of this charade you still believe that was an epidemic. The data is clear that there was none, US Government/Trump announced “public health emergency” based on about 40 cases in China without any significant evidence of real illness or economic impact. State governors announced public health emergencies based on nothing. In Ohio it was 3 cases of covid that became the basis for shutting down the entire state. This is because declarations of public health emergency, by law, require no evidence that an emergency exists. Opinion of one unelected bureaucrat is all that’s needed. The US Government then provided massive funding to fake-PCR label “covid” cases and murder people in hospitals with remdesivir+vent protocols while denying early effective treatment, as well as fake PCR-attributing covid causes to anything including motor vehicle deaths and gun homicides. Coquin de Chien John Beaudoin is a great resource on learning about this fraud-and-murder event labeled as “pandemic”, and if you have not yet subscribed to his stack, I recommend you do so. Pandemics do not exist at all. They are not possible in nature. Had they been possible, we would not be here. At this point I am asked - but the plague! The smallpox! The cholera! The answer is - these are diseases related to lack of sanitation, crowding, infestation with rats and fleas, human and animal waste polluting the drinking water. Once these problems are addressed, epidemics do not exist. And these diseases never caused global pandemics anyway. The “Spanish flu” was also a fake pandemic, a narrative manufactured probably decades after. Pandemics are also not possible via “science” and what is called gain-of-function research which amounts to mostly ridiculous attempts at software enabled sorcery, making soups of chemicals mixed with literally shit, as I discussed in my previous article. Yes, toxic chemicals and shit can cause poisoning, but this does not spread by itself. Of course, these labs should be shut down as a waste of money and a local health hazard (mostly to those working in the labs). Big thanks to Meryl Nass for pointing to this important piece of data published by the Lancet: A new study reports 309 lab acquired infections and 16 pathogen lab escapes between 2000 and 2021, several deaths/ Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists https://www.thelancet.com/action/showPdf?pii=S2666-5247%2823%2900319-1 https://thebulletin.org/2023/12/a-new-study-reports-309-lab-acquired-infections-and-16-pathogen-lab-escapes-between-2000-and-2021/#post-heading The CDC collects about 200 reports per year of lab accidents, leaks, escaped infected animals or infected staff. So this report is a gross un… Read more 23 days ago · 160 likes · 64 comments · Meryl Nass I think the Lancet was trying to make the opposite point vs the one they actually made. The paper identified 51 scary pathogen “leaks” from labs worldwide (mostly in North America and China). Additionally, CDC collects reports of about 200 of these “escapes” a year in the US (so Lancet paper is a severe under-count of these potentially apocalyptic events). This many dangerous leaks of dangerous pathogens a year! We should have world ending catastrophes every week, right? Lancet says it did not result in anything like this… There were 8 deaths (bad and tragic, and in lab workers themselves), and many “exposures” (imaginary concept in public health to justify throwing political dissidents and other random people into quarantine camps). There was one incident in China where 10,000 people acquired bacterial infection. OK, that’s bad too, but did China lock down? Did Europe and US close all flights from China? How come with such large “outbreak” nothing travelled by air and killed half the world? I mean with the coof, the entire world locked down after 40 cases or so! Why, with seemingly plenty of opportunities for lab leaks, do pandemics happen only on command from the WHO? And only after all key countries practiced those exact pandemics numerous times in table top exercises? All pandemics to date have been faked by the military-industrial globalist cabal (with numerous witting and unwitting participants): Sorry, RFK Jr., despite your desire to appear middle ground by including a lie with a majority truthful statement, covid “pandemic” was also faked, using the same basic script, actors and funding. What is the pandemic script? Let’s hear it from the horse’s mouth. Here is a DOD showman James Giordano. He is not a real scientist, his business is spinning clickbait science propaganda. In this lecture he is explaining how to fake pandemics in four easy steps in a video from 2017 “Neurotechnology in National Defense”: Step 1: Poison a few people in a few geographic locations (“sentinel cases”) with a drug (chemical toxin or bio-toxin) that causes “highly morbid” central nervous system (CNS) effects . [I told you “covid” was a synthetic toxin, didn’t I?] Step 2: Pretend it was “a bug, a virus modified with CRISPR Cas9” (what James means here is - “oops, forget what I just told you 45 seconds ago about A DRUG. I really-really mean a bioengineered GOF virus!!”) Step 3: Use the “REAL BUG” - the Internet! Broadcast on social media that everyone is infected with a “highly lethal agent” that has “asymptomatic, prodromal effects” - anxiety, sleeplessness and worry. When you worry - those are the signs that you have a “lethal asymptomatic infection”. M-kay. That means the undergraduate students in a garage someplace released the bioweapon. Or it “leaked” from BSL4 facility in Wuhan (that sounds scarier, doesn’t it?), and it got to you all the way in Iowa. Believe!!! Step 4: All hypochondriacs and “worried-well” run to their doctors and flood the hospital ERs, yay! Now we can get them with the fake PCR-remdesivir-ventilator protocol! and call it “covid”! PS. For extra fun play a game of confusing messages and denial with CDC. Does this explain Fauci’s flip-flop on masks early on in 2020 - you bet it does! There is a “step 0” that’s required for this plan to really work out - that is constant brainwashing of the masses, programming their brains to respond to some key trigger words in a predictable fashion. Here is one such example (“Blacklist”, 2014): I think the 5th horseman is called “ScienceMAD” and he rides a Chimera, something like this: Chimera with a Male Andalusian horse and a face of a goose again Stock Image Now, let’s hear from the field operative, the real practitioner. Here is now famous Indiana Jones by name of Michael Callahan, the CIA agent with a cover of “infectious disease doctor” explaining his job very clearly. You see, his job is to make prophecies of what viruses with pandemic potential will “inevitably emerge” (wink wink) and then make “vaccines” for them almost immediately. I think it is clear that he is not a real scientist either, but a “prophet” of sorts. https://twitter.com/LivewithAndy/status/1701987736406675770 In a related post I discussed another cabal thespian whose amplua includes pretending to be an infectious disease doctor, too - Col Matt Hepburn, evangelizing the crowd at TED: "Pandemic Preparedness" - a Government Protection Racket "Pandemic Preparedness" - a Government Protection Racket Meet Col Matt Hepburn who in 2020 leads an effort for the Department of Defense called Enabling Technologies. Enabling Technologies rapidly develops new vaccines and treatments against future (!) infectious disease challenges. Matt can predict the future and “protect” you from it. Read full story This racket is so profitable that they are getting tired of coming up with names for their fake “novel viruses” and fake pandemics and are simply switching to “Disease X” here and here. Oh, and look at that - a new bill in Congress: Image Image I am also tiered of repeating how utterly stupid it is to “predict” vital pandemics, especially of “unknown but deadly nature”, so I am going to refer you to this good piece of writing explaining this nonsense. The X Files: A Primer on the Next Plandemic My recent or only-intermittent readers may not buy this, but I truly do try to be sympathetic to the people who fell (and continue to fall, bless their trusting little hearts) for the wickedest and most prolific propaganda campaign in history. I have attempted to exonerate or at least understand the medical professionals who—despite overwhelming, irrefu… Read more 3 days ago · 72 likes · 55 comments · Jenna McCarthy My own assessment of what Disease X means - the cabal has been and is planning to continue using chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons (yes, CBRN weapons, all of them) on populations in increasing scale and variety. These are internationally prohibited activities that the criminals in US Government and other governments are engaged in by renaming them into “health events” and “preparedness”. Is this dangerous? Yes, just as any act of terrorism. However, we can really get prepared for their “preparedness” by dispelling their fake fear narratives of mutating invisible self-spreading bullshit, and staying alert, utilizing common sense, not relying on their murderous “healthcare” and helping each other. Art for today: Portrait of a young man, 14x18 in. https://sashalatypova.substack.com/p/how-to-fake-pandemics-in-4-easy-steps?utm_medium=ios
    SASHALATYPOVA.SUBSTACK.COM
    How to Fake Pandemics in 4 Easy Steps
    A masterclass by the DOD showman, James Giordano.
    Angry
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  • Rajab: The Forgotten Sacred Month
    We may be well aware of the significance of Ramadan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to name a few. However, what about Rajab? In fact, Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam.

    We may be well aware of the significance of Ramadan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to name a few. However, what about Rajab? In fact, Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam.
    The month of Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar and a prelude to the ninth month, Ramadan. The classical Muslim scholar Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali quoted another scholar, Abu Bakr Al-Warraq, in his book Lataif al-Ma’arif:

    “Rajab is a month of cultivation, Sha'ban is the month of irrigating the fields, and Ramadan is the month of reaping and harvesting.”

    Preparing before the arrival of Ramadan is crucial. Rajab could be the starting point for these preparations. Our deeds can (hope to) be compared to a tree, where the seeds are planted in Rajab, the tree begins to take shape in Sha’ban, and the fruits are harvested in Ramadan.

    Therefore, it is recommended that we take advantage of Rajab so that they may hope to perform well in Ramadan. This article will delve into the origin of "Rajab", significant events that happened in Rajab, and four acts you can perform during this period.

    Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month

    Etymology of Rajab (the origin of Rajab and the historical development of its meaning)

    The word “Rajab” (رجب) comes from the word 'at-tarjeeb' (الترجيب), which means revered/reverence. The month also goes by Rajab Al-Haram, Rajab Al-Fard, and Rajab Mudhar, just to name a few.

    The reason it is named Rajab Al-Haram (Rajab the sacred one) is because it is one of the four sacred months in Islam, as mentioned in Surah At-Tawbah, verse 36. The Quran states:

    إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ

    “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred…”

    (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:36)

    Many classical scholars have interpreted this verse with the accompanying hadith whereby the Prophet s.a.w. mentioned in a hadith:

    إنَّ الزَّمانَ قد استدار كهيئتِه يومَ خَلَق اللهُ السَّمواتِ والأرضَ، السَّنةُ اثنا عَشَرَ شَهرًا، منها أربعةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثلاثٌ متوالياتٌ: ذو القَعْدةِ، وذو الحِجَّةِ، والمحَرَّمُ، ورَجَبُ مُضَرَ الذي بين جُمادى وشَعبانَ

    “Time has completed its cycle and has come to the state of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are inviolable; three of them consecutive - Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram and Rajab, the month of Mudar (tribe), which comes between Jumada and Sha'ban.”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    Read: Muslim SG | 4 Sacred Months in Islam

    Rajab is also called Rajab Al-Fard (Rajab the single one) because the month is a standalone compared to the other three consecutive months of Zulkaedah, Zulhijjah, and Muharram.

    And finally, it is known as Rajab Mudhar (Rajab of the tribe Mudhar) because historically, there’s a tribe called Mudhar (Bani Mudhar) in the Arabian peninsula, and the tribesmen would often perform their pilgrimage in the month of Rajab as they view the month as sacred and holy.

    During the pre-Islam period, it was a practice of the Arabs to rearrange the months in the calendar wherever they saw fit. However, the tribe Mudhar would not rearrange the month of Rajab and would consistently appoint it accordingly every year, which they became known for.

    Read: 4 Intriguing Things You May Not Know About the Islamic Hijri Calendar

    Islam takes great emphasis on calculating time and not changing it on a whim, which has been the case of many past civilisations. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:

    إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِى ٱلْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ يُحِلُّونَهُۥ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُۥ عَامًا لِّيُوَاطِـُٔوا۟ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّوا۟ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوٓءُ أَعْمَـٰلِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ

    Reallocating the sanctity of (these) months is an increase in disbelief, by which the disbelievers are led (far) astray. They adjust the sanctity one year and uphold it in another, only to maintain the number of months sanctified by Allah, violating the very months Allah has made sacred. Their evil deeds have been made appealing to them. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people.

    (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:37)

    Hence, when the Prophet s.a.w. declared Rajab as Rajab Mudhar, the companions knew the Prophet s.a.w. meant the seventh month of the Hijri lunar calendar.[1]

    One of the 4 sacred months

    Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month

    As it has been established that the month of Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam, let us look at why these months are sacred and how we should welcome them.

    Allah s.w.t specifically warns us on this matter:

    يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تُحِلُّوا۟ شَعَـٰٓئِرَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا ٱلشَّهْرَ ٱلْحَرَامَ وَلَا ٱلْهَدْىَ وَلَا ٱلْقَلَـٰٓئِدَ وَلَآ ءَآمِّينَ ٱلْبَيْتَ ٱلْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَٰنًا

    “O believers! Do not violate Allah’s rituals (of pilgrimage), the sacred months, the sacrificial animals, the (offerings decorated with) garlands, nor those (pilgrims) on their way to the Sacred House seeking their Lord’s bounty and pleasure.”

    (Surah Al-Maidah, 5:2)

    These months are called sacred for two reasons:

    1. Prohibition of fighting

    Ibn Kathir[2] explains that this warning comes as an instruction for Muslims to observe, respect and honour the sacred months and avoid bad deeds such as fighting. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran:

    يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلشَّهْرِ ٱلْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِيهِ ۖ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِيهِ كَبِيرٌ

    “They ask you (O Prophet) about fighting in the sacred months. Say, “Fighting during these months is a great sin”

    (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:217)

    Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab

    Historically, even before the advent of Islam, fighting was prohibited within the four sacred months. The sequence of the sacred months appears to be intentionally arranged to provide a safe journey for pilgrims travelling to and from Makkah.

    The month of Zulkaedah is when the pilgrims begin their preparation for the hajj, Zulhijjah is when they perform the hajj rituals, and Muharram is when they return from the hajj pilgrimage.

    On the other hand, Rajab was made sacred to ensure safety for pilgrims performing the minor pilgrimage (umrah).

    Hence, in this spirit, let us strive our best to leave conflict, disputes and animosity as we benefit the best from the sacred month of Rajab.

    2. Prohibition of wronging oneself

    Allah s.w.t. instructed us to observe the sanctity of the sacred months by the prohibition wronging oneself. The Quran states:

    إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ

    “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months…”

    (Surah At-Tawbah 9:36)

    According to Ibn Kathir, sins are worse in general in the sacred months, where their degree is almost akin to sinning within the confines of the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. Ibn Abbas states:

    "In all (twelve) months. Allah then chose four out of these months and made them sacred, emphasising their sanctity, making sinning in them greater, in addition to multiplying rewards of righteous deeds during them."

    Important Events That Happened In Rajab

    First hijrah (migration) to Abyssinia

    From the late fourth and into the middle of the fifth year of Muhammad s.a.w’s prophethood, Quraysh slowly but steadily accelerated the persecution and torture of Muslims. It was evident that practising Islam in Makkah was no longer tolerable.

    The Prophet s.a.w. then instructed some Muslims to migrate and seek asylum in the land of Habshah (Abyssinia, modern-day Ethiopia), as the Negus (King) Ashama, was a fair ruler.

    Read: Muslim SG | What Does Islam Really Say About Muslim-Christian Relations?

    Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month

    The first migration consisted of twelve men and four women. Among them was the son-in-law of the Prophet s.a.w, Uthman Ibn Affan r.a. and his wife, Ruqayyah r.a. (the daughter of the Prophet s.a.w.)

    While the news of the migration was made known to Quraysh, the dispatch came too late to stop the migration.[3] Several futile attempts by Quraysh to dissuade the Negus to expel the companions of the Prophet s.a.w. back to Makkah were made but failed. The Negus lived up to his reputation of being a just ruler, and the Muslims lived peacefully and securely from the threats of the Quraysh.

    Read: Muslim SG | Can Muslims Live in a Non-Muslim Country?

    Isra' Mi'raj

    Isra’ and Mi’raj are events referring to the miraculous night journey of the Prophet s.a.w. from Makkah to Jerusalem and then the ascension to heaven.

    Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month

    The journey impacted Muslims as after the ascension to heaven, the Prophet s.a.w. was commanded to teach Muslims to establish the prayers five times a day. The daily prayers became a Pillar of Islam.

    Anas Ibn Malik r.a. reports:

    فُرِضَتْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِهِ الصَّلَوَاتُ خَمْسِينَ ثُمَّ نُقِصَتْ حَتَّى جُعِلَتْ خَمْسًا ثُمَّ نُودِيَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَىَّ وَإِنَّ لَكَ بِهَذِهِ الْخَمْسِ خَمْسِينَ

    "On the Night of Isra, fifty prayers were made obligatory upon the Prophet. Then it was decreased until it was made five. Then it was called out: 'O Muhammad! Indeed My Word does not change; these five prayers will be recorded for you as fifty.'"

    (Sunan At-Tirmizi)

    The journey occurred on the 27th of Rajab and happened a year before the hijrah of the Prophet s.a.w. to Madinah.

    Read: Muslim SG | Isra’ & Mi’raj: The Miraculous Night Journey of the Chosen One

    4 practices you can do in the month of Rajab

    1. Istighfar

    Istighfar, or seeking forgiveness from Allah s.w.t, is considered one of the most important acts of worship for Muslims as it is a means of purifying oneself from sins and seeking protection from Allah s.w.t.

    Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab

    Read: 8 Ways To Get Closer To Allah

    One should regularly make istighfar as a means to purify oneself from his sins and to also seek protection from the wrath and punishment from Allah s.w.t, as often emphasised by the Prophet s.a.w. In a narration by Ibn ‘Abbas r.a, the Prophet s.a.w. said:

    مَن لَزِمَ الِاسْتِغْفَارَ، جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُ مِنْ كُلِّ ضِيقٍ مَخْرَجاً وَمِن كُلِّ هَمٍّ فَرَجاً، وَرَزَقَهُ مِن حَيثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ

    "If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not." ‏

    (Sunan Abi Daud)

    Even if the month of Ramadan is only a few months away, that doesn’t mean we have to wait till then to seek forgiveness because, ideally, as Muslims, we should regularly seek forgiveness.

    Read: Muslim SG | Powerful Duas for Forgiveness From Allah

    2. Reconcile

    Islam teaches us to quickly reconcile with our Muslim brethren if there are any disputes between them. It’s emphasised in the Quran:

    إِنَّمَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ

    “The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy.”

    (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:10)

    Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab

    The Prophet s.a.w. has also mentioned in a hadith:

    لاَ يَحِلُّ لِرَجُلٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ أَخَاهُ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثِ لَيَالٍ، يَلْتَقِيَانِ فَيُعْرِضُ هَذَا وَيُعْرِضُ هَذَا، وَخَيْرُهُمَا الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ بِالسَّلاَمِ

    “It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    Historically, the month of Rajab was known to be a peaceful period as wars and fighting were prohibited. Therefore, we should take this opportunity to reconcile with those whom we have disputes with and make peace with them as it brings not only harmony but also may be a source of help on the Day of Judgement, as mentioned by the Prophet s.a.w. in a hadith narrated by Ibn Umar r.a:

    أنا زعيمٌ ببيتِ في رَبَضِ الجنةِ لمَن تَرَكَ المِراءَ وإن كان مُحِقًّا ، وببيتِ في وسطِ الجنةِ لمَن تركَ الكذبَ وإن كان مازحًا ، وببيتٍ في أعلى الجنةِ لمَن حَسُنَ خُلُقُه

    “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.”

    (Sunan Abi Daud)

    3. Fast

    In preparation for the upcoming fasting month, why not start voluntarily fasting on Monday and Thursday? or perhaps the ayyamul bidh (the white days of fasting), which falls on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every hijri month? In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said:

    صَوْمُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ كُلِّهِ

    “Observing fasting on three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the whole year”

    (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    Do note, if you have missed prior Ramadan fasts, it is important to prioritise making up the missed fasts as they are wajib (obligatory) while the fasting of white days is sunnah (non-obligatory/non-mandatory).

    Read: Muslim SG | Fasting On The White Days

    We can then follow up with fasting in the next month, Sha’ban. Narrated by Usamah bin Zaid r.a:

    قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَمْ أَرَكَ تَصُومُ شَهْرًا مِنَ الشُّهُورِ مَا تَصُومُ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ‏.‏ قَالَ "‏ذَلِكَ شَهْرٌ يَغْفُلُ النَّاسُ عَنْهُ بَيْنَ رَجَبٍ وَرَمَضَانَ وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ تُرْفَعُ فِيهِ الأَعْمَالُ إِلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُرْفَعَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ‏"‏

    "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sha’ban.' He said: 'That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting."'

    (Sunan An-Nasai)

    Read: Muslim SG | The Virtues and Benefits of The Month of Sha'ban

    4. Prepare for Ramadan

    As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we can ready ourselves by making a bunch of preparations. We could make a timetable or a daily schedule of what to do in Ramadan, plan meal preps, and many others to set us in the mood of welcoming the month of Ramadan!

    Read: Muslim SG | 8 Tips To Prepare For Ramadan in Rajab

    Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab

    5. Read the dua for Rajab

    Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali related in his book, Lataif al-Ma'arif, that the companions would supplicate for a safe journey to Ramadan for six months. After Ramadan, they would continue to pray for another six months, asking Allah to accept the acts of worship that they performed throughout the holy month. We can recite the following dua:

    اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي رَجَب، وَشَعْبَانَ، وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَانَ

    Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan

    “O Allah make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us and let us reach the month of Ramadan.”

    (Musnad Ahmad)

    And the dua:

    اللَّهُمَّ سَلِّمْنِي مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، وَسَلِّمْ رَمَضَانَ لِي، وَتَسَلَّمْهُ مِنِّي مُتَقَبَّلًا

    Allahumma Sallimni min Ramadhan. Wa sallim Ramadhana li. Wa tasallamhu minni mutaqabbala

    “O Allah preserve me for Ramadan, safeguard Ramadan for me and accept it for me.”

    (narrated by Imam At-Tabrani)

    So let's turn to Him, the Most Generous, as we get ready for Ramadan. May Allah s.w.t. accept all of our deeds and make it easier for us to prepare for the holy month this year.

    And Allah knows best.

    References:

    [1] Safa Faruqui, The Benefits and Virtues of Rajab, the Month of Allah. Muslim Hands, 2021. https://muslimhands.org.uk/latest/2021/02/history-importance-and-benefits-of-rajab-in-quran-and-hadith

    [2] Abu Al-Fida’ ‘Imad Ad-Din Ismail Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1

    [3] Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar. 1976. pg.64

    https://muslim.sg/articles/rajab-the-forgotten-sacred-month
    Rajab: The Forgotten Sacred Month We may be well aware of the significance of Ramadan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to name a few. However, what about Rajab? In fact, Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam. We may be well aware of the significance of Ramadan, Syawal, and Zulhijjah, to name a few. However, what about Rajab? In fact, Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam. The month of Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar and a prelude to the ninth month, Ramadan. The classical Muslim scholar Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali quoted another scholar, Abu Bakr Al-Warraq, in his book Lataif al-Ma’arif: “Rajab is a month of cultivation, Sha'ban is the month of irrigating the fields, and Ramadan is the month of reaping and harvesting.” Preparing before the arrival of Ramadan is crucial. Rajab could be the starting point for these preparations. Our deeds can (hope to) be compared to a tree, where the seeds are planted in Rajab, the tree begins to take shape in Sha’ban, and the fruits are harvested in Ramadan. Therefore, it is recommended that we take advantage of Rajab so that they may hope to perform well in Ramadan. This article will delve into the origin of "Rajab", significant events that happened in Rajab, and four acts you can perform during this period. Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month Etymology of Rajab (the origin of Rajab and the historical development of its meaning) The word “Rajab” (رجب) comes from the word 'at-tarjeeb' (الترجيب), which means revered/reverence. The month also goes by Rajab Al-Haram, Rajab Al-Fard, and Rajab Mudhar, just to name a few. The reason it is named Rajab Al-Haram (Rajab the sacred one) is because it is one of the four sacred months in Islam, as mentioned in Surah At-Tawbah, verse 36. The Quran states: إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred…” (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:36) Many classical scholars have interpreted this verse with the accompanying hadith whereby the Prophet s.a.w. mentioned in a hadith: إنَّ الزَّمانَ قد استدار كهيئتِه يومَ خَلَق اللهُ السَّمواتِ والأرضَ، السَّنةُ اثنا عَشَرَ شَهرًا، منها أربعةٌ حُرُمٌ، ثلاثٌ متوالياتٌ: ذو القَعْدةِ، وذو الحِجَّةِ، والمحَرَّمُ، ورَجَبُ مُضَرَ الذي بين جُمادى وشَعبانَ “Time has completed its cycle and has come to the state of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are inviolable; three of them consecutive - Dhul-Qa'dah, Dhul-Hijjah and Muharram and Rajab, the month of Mudar (tribe), which comes between Jumada and Sha'ban.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Read: Muslim SG | 4 Sacred Months in Islam Rajab is also called Rajab Al-Fard (Rajab the single one) because the month is a standalone compared to the other three consecutive months of Zulkaedah, Zulhijjah, and Muharram. And finally, it is known as Rajab Mudhar (Rajab of the tribe Mudhar) because historically, there’s a tribe called Mudhar (Bani Mudhar) in the Arabian peninsula, and the tribesmen would often perform their pilgrimage in the month of Rajab as they view the month as sacred and holy. During the pre-Islam period, it was a practice of the Arabs to rearrange the months in the calendar wherever they saw fit. However, the tribe Mudhar would not rearrange the month of Rajab and would consistently appoint it accordingly every year, which they became known for. Read: 4 Intriguing Things You May Not Know About the Islamic Hijri Calendar Islam takes great emphasis on calculating time and not changing it on a whim, which has been the case of many past civilisations. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran: إِنَّمَا ٱلنَّسِىٓءُ زِيَادَةٌ فِى ٱلْكُفْرِ ۖ يُضَلُّ بِهِ ٱلَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا۟ يُحِلُّونَهُۥ عَامًا وَيُحَرِّمُونَهُۥ عَامًا لِّيُوَاطِـُٔوا۟ عِدَّةَ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ فَيُحِلُّوا۟ مَا حَرَّمَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ زُيِّنَ لَهُمْ سُوٓءُ أَعْمَـٰلِهِمْ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ لَا يَهْدِى ٱلْقَوْمَ ٱلْكَـٰفِرِينَ Reallocating the sanctity of (these) months is an increase in disbelief, by which the disbelievers are led (far) astray. They adjust the sanctity one year and uphold it in another, only to maintain the number of months sanctified by Allah, violating the very months Allah has made sacred. Their evil deeds have been made appealing to them. And Allah does not guide the disbelieving people. (Surah At-Tawbah, 9:37) Hence, when the Prophet s.a.w. declared Rajab as Rajab Mudhar, the companions knew the Prophet s.a.w. meant the seventh month of the Hijri lunar calendar.[1] One of the 4 sacred months Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month As it has been established that the month of Rajab is one of the four sacred months in Islam, let us look at why these months are sacred and how we should welcome them. Allah s.w.t specifically warns us on this matter: يَـٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوا۟ لَا تُحِلُّوا۟ شَعَـٰٓئِرَ ٱللَّهِ وَلَا ٱلشَّهْرَ ٱلْحَرَامَ وَلَا ٱلْهَدْىَ وَلَا ٱلْقَلَـٰٓئِدَ وَلَآ ءَآمِّينَ ٱلْبَيْتَ ٱلْحَرَامَ يَبْتَغُونَ فَضْلاً مِّن رَّبِّهِمْ وَرِضْوَٰنًا “O believers! Do not violate Allah’s rituals (of pilgrimage), the sacred months, the sacrificial animals, the (offerings decorated with) garlands, nor those (pilgrims) on their way to the Sacred House seeking their Lord’s bounty and pleasure.” (Surah Al-Maidah, 5:2) These months are called sacred for two reasons: 1. Prohibition of fighting Ibn Kathir[2] explains that this warning comes as an instruction for Muslims to observe, respect and honour the sacred months and avoid bad deeds such as fighting. Allah s.w.t. says in the Quran: يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلشَّهْرِ ٱلْحَرَامِ قِتَالٍ فِيهِ ۖ قُلْ قِتَالٌ فِيهِ كَبِيرٌ “They ask you (O Prophet) about fighting in the sacred months. Say, “Fighting during these months is a great sin” (Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:217) Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab Historically, even before the advent of Islam, fighting was prohibited within the four sacred months. The sequence of the sacred months appears to be intentionally arranged to provide a safe journey for pilgrims travelling to and from Makkah. The month of Zulkaedah is when the pilgrims begin their preparation for the hajj, Zulhijjah is when they perform the hajj rituals, and Muharram is when they return from the hajj pilgrimage. On the other hand, Rajab was made sacred to ensure safety for pilgrims performing the minor pilgrimage (umrah). Hence, in this spirit, let us strive our best to leave conflict, disputes and animosity as we benefit the best from the sacred month of Rajab. 2. Prohibition of wronging oneself Allah s.w.t. instructed us to observe the sanctity of the sacred months by the prohibition wronging oneself. The Quran states: إِنَّ عِدَّةَ ٱلشُّهُورِ عِندَ ٱللَّهِ ٱثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِى كِتَـٰبِ ٱللَّهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضَ مِنْهَآ أَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ ۚ ذَٰلِكَ ٱلدِّينُ ٱلْقَيِّمُ ۚ فَلَا تَظْلِمُوا۟ فِيهِنَّ أَنفُسَكُمْ “Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months…” (Surah At-Tawbah 9:36) According to Ibn Kathir, sins are worse in general in the sacred months, where their degree is almost akin to sinning within the confines of the Holy cities of Makkah and Madinah. Ibn Abbas states: "In all (twelve) months. Allah then chose four out of these months and made them sacred, emphasising their sanctity, making sinning in them greater, in addition to multiplying rewards of righteous deeds during them." Important Events That Happened In Rajab First hijrah (migration) to Abyssinia From the late fourth and into the middle of the fifth year of Muhammad s.a.w’s prophethood, Quraysh slowly but steadily accelerated the persecution and torture of Muslims. It was evident that practising Islam in Makkah was no longer tolerable. The Prophet s.a.w. then instructed some Muslims to migrate and seek asylum in the land of Habshah (Abyssinia, modern-day Ethiopia), as the Negus (King) Ashama, was a fair ruler. Read: Muslim SG | What Does Islam Really Say About Muslim-Christian Relations? Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month The first migration consisted of twelve men and four women. Among them was the son-in-law of the Prophet s.a.w, Uthman Ibn Affan r.a. and his wife, Ruqayyah r.a. (the daughter of the Prophet s.a.w.) While the news of the migration was made known to Quraysh, the dispatch came too late to stop the migration.[3] Several futile attempts by Quraysh to dissuade the Negus to expel the companions of the Prophet s.a.w. back to Makkah were made but failed. The Negus lived up to his reputation of being a just ruler, and the Muslims lived peacefully and securely from the threats of the Quraysh. Read: Muslim SG | Can Muslims Live in a Non-Muslim Country? Isra' Mi'raj Isra’ and Mi’raj are events referring to the miraculous night journey of the Prophet s.a.w. from Makkah to Jerusalem and then the ascension to heaven. Rejab, Hijri month, why is rajab a sacred month The journey impacted Muslims as after the ascension to heaven, the Prophet s.a.w. was commanded to teach Muslims to establish the prayers five times a day. The daily prayers became a Pillar of Islam. Anas Ibn Malik r.a. reports: فُرِضَتْ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم لَيْلَةَ أُسْرِيَ بِهِ الصَّلَوَاتُ خَمْسِينَ ثُمَّ نُقِصَتْ حَتَّى جُعِلَتْ خَمْسًا ثُمَّ نُودِيَ يَا مُحَمَّدُ إِنَّهُ لاَ يُبَدَّلُ الْقَوْلُ لَدَىَّ وَإِنَّ لَكَ بِهَذِهِ الْخَمْسِ خَمْسِينَ "On the Night of Isra, fifty prayers were made obligatory upon the Prophet. Then it was decreased until it was made five. Then it was called out: 'O Muhammad! Indeed My Word does not change; these five prayers will be recorded for you as fifty.'" (Sunan At-Tirmizi) The journey occurred on the 27th of Rajab and happened a year before the hijrah of the Prophet s.a.w. to Madinah. Read: Muslim SG | Isra’ & Mi’raj: The Miraculous Night Journey of the Chosen One 4 practices you can do in the month of Rajab 1. Istighfar Istighfar, or seeking forgiveness from Allah s.w.t, is considered one of the most important acts of worship for Muslims as it is a means of purifying oneself from sins and seeking protection from Allah s.w.t. Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab Read: 8 Ways To Get Closer To Allah One should regularly make istighfar as a means to purify oneself from his sins and to also seek protection from the wrath and punishment from Allah s.w.t, as often emphasised by the Prophet s.a.w. In a narration by Ibn ‘Abbas r.a, the Prophet s.a.w. said: مَن لَزِمَ الِاسْتِغْفَارَ، جَعَلَ اللهُ لَهُ مِنْ كُلِّ ضِيقٍ مَخْرَجاً وَمِن كُلِّ هَمٍّ فَرَجاً، وَرَزَقَهُ مِن حَيثُ لَا يَحْتَسِبُ "If anyone constantly seeks pardon (from Allah), Allah will appoint for him a way out of every distress and a relief from every anxiety, and will provide sustenance for him from where he expects not." ‏ (Sunan Abi Daud) Even if the month of Ramadan is only a few months away, that doesn’t mean we have to wait till then to seek forgiveness because, ideally, as Muslims, we should regularly seek forgiveness. Read: Muslim SG | Powerful Duas for Forgiveness From Allah 2. Reconcile Islam teaches us to quickly reconcile with our Muslim brethren if there are any disputes between them. It’s emphasised in the Quran: إِنَّمَا ٱلْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَةٌ فَأَصْلِحُواْ بَيْنَ أَخَوَيْكُمْ ۚ وَٱتَّقُواْ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُرْحَمُونَ “The believers are but one brotherhood, so make peace between your brothers. And be mindful of Allah so you may be shown mercy.” (Surah Al-Hujurat, 49:10) Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab The Prophet s.a.w. has also mentioned in a hadith: لاَ يَحِلُّ لِرَجُلٍ أَنْ يَهْجُرَ أَخَاهُ فَوْقَ ثَلاَثِ لَيَالٍ، يَلْتَقِيَانِ فَيُعْرِضُ هَذَا وَيُعْرِضُ هَذَا، وَخَيْرُهُمَا الَّذِي يَبْدَأُ بِالسَّلاَمِ “It is not lawful for a man to desert his brother Muslim for more than three nights. (It is unlawful for them that) when they meet, one of them turns his face away from the other, and the other turns his face from the former, and the better of the two will be the one who greets the other first” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Historically, the month of Rajab was known to be a peaceful period as wars and fighting were prohibited. Therefore, we should take this opportunity to reconcile with those whom we have disputes with and make peace with them as it brings not only harmony but also may be a source of help on the Day of Judgement, as mentioned by the Prophet s.a.w. in a hadith narrated by Ibn Umar r.a: أنا زعيمٌ ببيتِ في رَبَضِ الجنةِ لمَن تَرَكَ المِراءَ وإن كان مُحِقًّا ، وببيتِ في وسطِ الجنةِ لمَن تركَ الكذبَ وإن كان مازحًا ، وببيتٍ في أعلى الجنةِ لمَن حَسُنَ خُلُقُه “I guarantee a house in Jannah for one who gives up arguing, even if he is in the right; and I guarantee a home in the middle of Jannah for one who abandons lying even for the sake of fun; and I guarantee a house in the highest part of Jannah for one who has good manners.” (Sunan Abi Daud) 3. Fast In preparation for the upcoming fasting month, why not start voluntarily fasting on Monday and Thursday? or perhaps the ayyamul bidh (the white days of fasting), which falls on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of every hijri month? In a hadith, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. said: صَوْمُ ثَلاَثَةِ أَيَّامٍ صَوْمُ الدَّهْرِ كُلِّهِ “Observing fasting on three days of every month is equivalent to fasting the whole year” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) Do note, if you have missed prior Ramadan fasts, it is important to prioritise making up the missed fasts as they are wajib (obligatory) while the fasting of white days is sunnah (non-obligatory/non-mandatory). Read: Muslim SG | Fasting On The White Days We can then follow up with fasting in the next month, Sha’ban. Narrated by Usamah bin Zaid r.a: قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ لَمْ أَرَكَ تَصُومُ شَهْرًا مِنَ الشُّهُورِ مَا تَصُومُ مِنْ شَعْبَانَ‏.‏ قَالَ "‏ذَلِكَ شَهْرٌ يَغْفُلُ النَّاسُ عَنْهُ بَيْنَ رَجَبٍ وَرَمَضَانَ وَهُوَ شَهْرٌ تُرْفَعُ فِيهِ الأَعْمَالُ إِلَى رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ فَأُحِبُّ أَنْ يُرْفَعَ عَمَلِي وَأَنَا صَائِمٌ‏"‏ "I said: 'O Messenger of Allah, I do not see you fasting any month as much as Sha’ban.' He said: 'That is a month to which people do not pay much attention, between Rajab and Ramadan. It is a month in which the deeds are taken up to the Lord of the worlds, and I like that my deeds be taken up when I am fasting."' (Sunan An-Nasai) Read: Muslim SG | The Virtues and Benefits of The Month of Sha'ban 4. Prepare for Ramadan As the holy month of Ramadan approaches, we can ready ourselves by making a bunch of preparations. We could make a timetable or a daily schedule of what to do in Ramadan, plan meal preps, and many others to set us in the mood of welcoming the month of Ramadan! Read: Muslim SG | 8 Tips To Prepare For Ramadan in Rajab Rajab, Hijri month, sacred months, rejab 5. Read the dua for Rajab Ibn Rajab Al-Hanbali related in his book, Lataif al-Ma'arif, that the companions would supplicate for a safe journey to Ramadan for six months. After Ramadan, they would continue to pray for another six months, asking Allah to accept the acts of worship that they performed throughout the holy month. We can recite the following dua: اللَّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِي رَجَب، وَشَعْبَانَ، وَبَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَانَ Allahumma barik lana fi Rajab wa Sha’ban wa ballighna Ramadan “O Allah make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us and let us reach the month of Ramadan.” (Musnad Ahmad) And the dua: اللَّهُمَّ سَلِّمْنِي مِنْ رَمَضَانَ، وَسَلِّمْ رَمَضَانَ لِي، وَتَسَلَّمْهُ مِنِّي مُتَقَبَّلًا Allahumma Sallimni min Ramadhan. Wa sallim Ramadhana li. Wa tasallamhu minni mutaqabbala “O Allah preserve me for Ramadan, safeguard Ramadan for me and accept it for me.” (narrated by Imam At-Tabrani) So let's turn to Him, the Most Generous, as we get ready for Ramadan. May Allah s.w.t. accept all of our deeds and make it easier for us to prepare for the holy month this year. And Allah knows best. References: [1] Safa Faruqui, The Benefits and Virtues of Rajab, the Month of Allah. Muslim Hands, 2021. https://muslimhands.org.uk/latest/2021/02/history-importance-and-benefits-of-rajab-in-quran-and-hadith [2] Abu Al-Fida’ ‘Imad Ad-Din Ismail Ibn Kathir, Tafsir Ibn Kathir, vol. 1 [3] Saifur Rahman al-Mubarakpuri, The Sealed Nectar. 1976. pg.64 https://muslim.sg/articles/rajab-the-forgotten-sacred-month
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  • Our Response in Crisis will Demonstrate Our Core Values as Muslims
    We feel hopeless and helpless witnessing all this violence. How we respond to these emotions will determine whether we are better human beings.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism

    Every day, we are witnessing acts of violence, terrorism and extreme military campaigns that do not give any consideration to children, women and civilians and even to the international communities and laws.

    Be it coming from Hamas, who is seeking justice for the decades of oppression under Israel’s military occupation, or all the dehumanising acts by the Zionist Israeli military who are taking advantage of the incident on 7 October 2023 to justify their merciless military actions, further illegal expansions and occupation of Palestinian lands and the collective punishment of innocent Palestinians.

    We are witnessing how the sacredness of human life that has been bestowed by Allah s.w.t. has not prevented people of power and influence from exploiting that power and manipulating narratives to garner support by dehumanising the other side.

    All these cause us pain, stir our emotions, and evoke anger within us. We feel hopeless and helpless and sometimes lose our trust in the authorities. The emotions are sometimes confusing and suffocating, especially when we see images that shrink our hearts and send currents up our spines. These emotions are natural for us human beings who have been nurtured to have a good heart, respect lives and humanity, and trust in one another.

    Read: A Mental Health Guide for Those Grappling With The Crisis in Gaza

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism

    How we respond to these emotions will determine whether we are better human beings. We are defending the humanity of everyone. Violence and terrorist acts have no place in humanity. All Palestinians and Israelis have the right to live peacefully and in harmony. All of them have their rights to the necessities of life like water, food, safety and security.

    For youths, as we go about our daily routines and activities amidst the images, narratives of violence and hatred that are flooding social media, let us be mindful of our actions. Let us reflect and think through some of these principles and take them as our guidance in finding our emotional, psychological and spiritual balance and equilibrium.

    Violence Begets Violence, Hatred Begets Hatred

    Through this conflict, we observe that violence begets violence, and hatred begets hatred. This is a universal law. When violence becomes the heartbeat that defines a conflict, innocent civilians are the primary victims.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism

    The current government of Israel is led by a Prime Minister and several ministers who are known for their far-right extremist ideologies. For example, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the current Minister of National Security, is known for his extremist views and advocacy for radical groups in Israel.[1] The government has clearly outlined its commitment to solidify the dominance of Jewish identity while continuing to suppress Palestinian rights in both Israel and the occupied West Bank. This is proposed through a governance system that establishes distinct tiers, perpetuating inequality across all levels. As a result, Palestinians have been deprived of their rights and protections, rendering them more vulnerable to violence and worsening the hardships they already face.[2]

    The leadership issues among the Palestinian people involve the disunity of several political groups governing Palestine, including Fatah, Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority and various political parties. One of the key points of division among them is how to engage and interact with Israel. Does it involve violence and force, or do they pursue objectives via negotiations and diplomacy?[3]

    Simultaneously, we must also be cautious of irresponsible people who propagate hate speeches, instigate disunity among us and take advantage of the emotional instability of people to propagate their own agendas. We have seen how extremist individuals and groups have exploited the internet and social media to lure vulnerable youths into radicalisation.

    Read: How Does Social Media Influence Online Radicalisation?

    Emulate and Embody the Prophetic Exemplars

    To end this long conflict requires restraint, big hearts, compassion, justice, humility, and other values that define us as human beings. Therefore, we should embody these values of humanity instead of succumbing to what is portrayed by these conflicts. This is truly a test not just for the whole of humanity but also individually for ourselves as well.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism

    Our best example to emulate and embody is the exemplary traits of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Let us reflect on this tradition, especially the collection of Imām al-Bukhārī, where a hadith[4] narrated by Khabbab Bin Al-Arat r.a. tells us how he asked Rasulullah s.a.w. to pray for the Muslims due to the intensity of the persecution they were facing in Makkah during the early days of Islam.

    The Prophet s.a.w. replied that the previous community of believers (of past Prophets) also faced persecution of such severity. Even when it intensified, they would not lose or abandon their faith.

    Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. then continued to prophesise that the lands of Sana’a and Hadramaut in Yemen would eventually be populated by Muslims. A prophecy that is proven true today without a doubt. This was a glad tiding to the declining situation of the relatively small generation of early Muslims.

    The hadith demonstrates to us the patience of the Prophet and the hastiness of the companions, at that time, who wanted to win over the people who oppressed them. The Beloved Prophet s.a.w, who is fully connected to Allah, assured the companions that Allah would grant them victory to the point that the route between Sana'a and Ḥaḍramawt would become safe.

    We Must Be Thankful for Allah’s Blessings Bestowed Upon Us in Singapore

    One way to be thankful for this blessing is to protect it. We must believe in the model of our Muslim community in Singapore. The fact that we are all able to carry on with our daily routines and activities in these difficult times does not come about by chance.

    As Singaporeans, we all have worked hard to develop trust with one another. We live amicably with our friends and neighbours who are of different races and religions, with the Islamic values of care, compassion, and trusting one another.

    We have lived peacefully with one another way before the coming of Sir Stamford Raffles to this island. We can see different places of worship within a neighbourhood or a street built way before Singapore’s independence.

    The peace and harmony we enjoy are rare commodities in this world. Let us all continue to be gracious Singaporeans to one another, believing in and trusting each other.

    As we advocate for our cause, let us ensure that we remain respectful and wise, avoiding personal attacks and hate speeches that could erode the trust we've built together.

    The Palestine-Israel Crisis Is Not a War Between Islam and Judaism

    Israel is not equal to Judaism. Israel is not equal to Jews. Simultaneously, Hamas does not represent all the Palestinians. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived peacefully in the land in the last century.

    The crisis involves territorial disputes, historical grievances, and differing claims to the land. While it has often been framed in religious terms due to the significance of the land to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, at its core, the issue is primarily about land, power, and self-determination.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Abrahamic faiths

    Some of the rhetoric being played out on social media aims to create the impression for both the Muslim and Jewish communities that this conflict is a religious one. Some individuals employ religious symbols and the chant of "takbīr" in an effort to garner attention from the public.

    Others invoke end-of-time discourses when discussing this conflict. Such discussions are not limited to Muslims; they also involve Christians and Jews. These narratives have raised concerns as public sentiments among both Muslims and Jews have been mocked and condemned.

    Read: Dealing With Recurrent Claims About The End Of The World

    We must be wary of the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to the point that it could potentially cause tensions in our multi-religious country. More importantly, as we strengthen our faith for the Hereafter, let us pay attention to how Prophet Muḥammad s.a.w. advised us to navigate the signs of the end of times.

    Narrated by Anas r.a, from the Prophet s.a.w:

    “Even if the Day of Judgement is approaching and you have a palm shoot in your hand and can plant it before the Hour arrives, you should plant it.”

    (Adab Al-Mufrad)

    Do Not Underestimate the Power of Dua

    Never underestimate the power of dua (supplication) with a firm belief. It can change what you may have thought was impossible to change. Dua is never wasted. So, keep making supplications as it is a special gift that Allah has given to us. He is the Best Listener and He is always Listening.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Dua, Supplication

    Keep knocking on the door of the Merciful, and it will open eventually. The key is to be patient. Allah knows when is the right time to fulfil our supplications and bring us relief. The Prophet s.a.w. said:

    “Supplication is the shield of a believer, a pillar of the religion and light of heavens and earth.”[5]

    The Prophet further taught us the best way we can carry out our supplication. He said:

    “Whomsoever has completed reading the Quran, ask Allah with it”

    (Narrated by Imam At-Tabrani)

    Based on the above hadith, we can make supplications for our brothers and sisters in Gaza, Palestine and for all humanity after reading ṣūrah al-Ikhlāṣ three times as reading this ṣūrah three times is equivalent to completing the Qurān.

    Let us make duā after every ṣolat for all those who are experiencing oppression to be given patience, perseverance and paradise for the sacrifices that they are experiencing.

    رَبِّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ

    Oh Allah, save us, save us

    رَبِّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ إِخْوَانَنَا فِى فِلِسْطِيْنَ

    Oh Allah, save us, save us, save our brothers and sisters in Palestine

    Read: Seeking Allah in Times of Distress

    As the crisis continues, we can be overwhelmed when we experience moments of incapacity to help, the loss of freedom of choice to voice our concerns and acts, and other types of emotions.

    This is where we seek refuge in Allah out of our sheer necessity with no other ulterior motive. All these emotions are His creations, and we turn ourselves towards Him with these emotions.

    As we turn ourselves towards Him, we acknowledge our weaknesses and inabilities and read a dua taught to us by Allah in Surah Ali-’Imran,

    حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ

    “For Allah suffice for us, and He is the best disposer of affairs.”

    (Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:173)

    This was the dua read by Nabi Ibrahim a.s when he was catapulted into the fire. As he flew into the fire, he read this dua, and Allah commanded the fire to cool down for Nabi Ibrahim a.s.

    قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ

    We said, “O Fire! Be your coolness and safety unto Ibrahim”

    (Surah Anbiya, 21:69)

    Read: Dua Qunut Nazilah With English Translation

    Channel Our Energy Towards a Good Cause

    Work together with others in contributing towards humanitarian aid during this conflict. People in Singapore, regardless of race and religion, were able to raise almost five million dollars in humanitarian aid for Palestine in less than 2 weeks after the fundraiser by the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings to all) Foundation, or RLAF, was launched.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Humanitarian, UNRWA, Help

    Always start something good within your means and circle of influence. For example, aside from making dua, donating and raising awareness about the crisis, we can also channel our efforts by volunteering at the mosque near our homes. Join the youth wing of the mosque and start supporting one another.

    Seek Guidance From Our Local Certified Asatizah

    As the conflict continues to unfold, we will continue to be bombarded with many different narratives. You may feel overwhelmed by the discussions and the emotions attached. Look for our local asātizah to process your feelings and thoughts. Go to the nearest mosque to seek help. Or you can look for a trusted adult to speak about your worries.

    Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Humanitarian, Safe Space, Discussion, AYN

    There are available channels for you to seek help, like the Asatizah Youth Network, mysafespace.sg, Asatizah Solace Care and others. Keep an eye on divisive speeches and extremist thoughts in virtual chat rooms or in social media platforms.

    Read: Ask An Ustaz or Ustazah Questions Through Anonymous Chat With MYSAFESPACE

    The Prophet always wants us to unite instead of being divided. Narratives that seek to plant the seed of hatred towards fellow Muslims and others are signs for us to distance ourselves from them.

    In conclusion, let us take the opportunity in this challenging time to explain and showcase the beauty of Islam. Let us elucidate the core principles and values such as Peace, Excellence, Mercy, Forgiveness, Justice and Wisdom that are contained in the Qurān and the exemplars of the Prophet s.a.w.

    Read: 4 Ways to Respond to the Suffering Faced by the Palestinian People

    References & Notes:

    [1] Ruth Margalit, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s Minister of Chaos, The New Yoker, February 20, 2023. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/02/27/itamar-ben-gvir-israels-minister-of-chaos accessed on 8th November 2023.

    [2] Jonathan Guyer, Israel’s new right-wing government is even more extreme than protest would have you think, in Vox Journalism, 2023. https://www.vox.com/world/2023/1/20/23561464/israel-new-right-wing-government-extreme-protests-netanyahu-biden-ben-gvir, accessed on 8th November 2023.

    [3] Alexandra Sharp, A Guide to Palestinian and Other Anti-Israel Factions, Foreign Policy, October 10 2023. https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/10/10/what-is-hamas-israel-war-palestine-fatah-hezbollah/ accessed on 8th November 2023.

    [4] Narrated by Khabbab bin Al-Arat, “We complained to Rasulullah s.a.w. (of the persecution inflicted on us by the enemies) while he was laying down (and resting his head on a cloth) under the shade of the Kaabah. We said to him, "Would you seek help for us? Would you pray to Allah for us?" He said, "A man from the previous nation would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head, and he would be cut into two; yet that (torture) would not make him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh from the bones and nerves, yet that would not make him abandon his religion. By Allah, this religion (i.e. Islam) will prevail till a traveller from á¹¢an‘ā (in Yemen) to Ḥaḍramawt will fear none but Allah, or a wolf as regards his sheep, but you (people) are hasty” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)

    [5] https://www.islamweb.net/ar/library/content/74/1701/index.php assessed on 8th November 2023.



    https://muslim.sg/articles/our-response-in-crisis-will-demonstrate-our-core-values-as-muslims
    Our Response in Crisis will Demonstrate Our Core Values as Muslims We feel hopeless and helpless witnessing all this violence. How we respond to these emotions will determine whether we are better human beings. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism Every day, we are witnessing acts of violence, terrorism and extreme military campaigns that do not give any consideration to children, women and civilians and even to the international communities and laws. Be it coming from Hamas, who is seeking justice for the decades of oppression under Israel’s military occupation, or all the dehumanising acts by the Zionist Israeli military who are taking advantage of the incident on 7 October 2023 to justify their merciless military actions, further illegal expansions and occupation of Palestinian lands and the collective punishment of innocent Palestinians. We are witnessing how the sacredness of human life that has been bestowed by Allah s.w.t. has not prevented people of power and influence from exploiting that power and manipulating narratives to garner support by dehumanising the other side. All these cause us pain, stir our emotions, and evoke anger within us. We feel hopeless and helpless and sometimes lose our trust in the authorities. The emotions are sometimes confusing and suffocating, especially when we see images that shrink our hearts and send currents up our spines. These emotions are natural for us human beings who have been nurtured to have a good heart, respect lives and humanity, and trust in one another. Read: A Mental Health Guide for Those Grappling With The Crisis in Gaza Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism How we respond to these emotions will determine whether we are better human beings. We are defending the humanity of everyone. Violence and terrorist acts have no place in humanity. All Palestinians and Israelis have the right to live peacefully and in harmony. All of them have their rights to the necessities of life like water, food, safety and security. For youths, as we go about our daily routines and activities amidst the images, narratives of violence and hatred that are flooding social media, let us be mindful of our actions. Let us reflect and think through some of these principles and take them as our guidance in finding our emotional, psychological and spiritual balance and equilibrium. Violence Begets Violence, Hatred Begets Hatred Through this conflict, we observe that violence begets violence, and hatred begets hatred. This is a universal law. When violence becomes the heartbeat that defines a conflict, innocent civilians are the primary victims. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism The current government of Israel is led by a Prime Minister and several ministers who are known for their far-right extremist ideologies. For example, Itamar Ben-Gvir, the current Minister of National Security, is known for his extremist views and advocacy for radical groups in Israel.[1] The government has clearly outlined its commitment to solidify the dominance of Jewish identity while continuing to suppress Palestinian rights in both Israel and the occupied West Bank. This is proposed through a governance system that establishes distinct tiers, perpetuating inequality across all levels. As a result, Palestinians have been deprived of their rights and protections, rendering them more vulnerable to violence and worsening the hardships they already face.[2] The leadership issues among the Palestinian people involve the disunity of several political groups governing Palestine, including Fatah, Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), the Palestinian Authority and various political parties. One of the key points of division among them is how to engage and interact with Israel. Does it involve violence and force, or do they pursue objectives via negotiations and diplomacy?[3] Simultaneously, we must also be cautious of irresponsible people who propagate hate speeches, instigate disunity among us and take advantage of the emotional instability of people to propagate their own agendas. We have seen how extremist individuals and groups have exploited the internet and social media to lure vulnerable youths into radicalisation. Read: How Does Social Media Influence Online Radicalisation? Emulate and Embody the Prophetic Exemplars To end this long conflict requires restraint, big hearts, compassion, justice, humility, and other values that define us as human beings. Therefore, we should embody these values of humanity instead of succumbing to what is portrayed by these conflicts. This is truly a test not just for the whole of humanity but also individually for ourselves as well. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism Our best example to emulate and embody is the exemplary traits of our beloved Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. Let us reflect on this tradition, especially the collection of Imām al-BukhārÄ«, where a hadith[4] narrated by Khabbab Bin Al-Arat r.a. tells us how he asked Rasulullah s.a.w. to pray for the Muslims due to the intensity of the persecution they were facing in Makkah during the early days of Islam. The Prophet s.a.w. replied that the previous community of believers (of past Prophets) also faced persecution of such severity. Even when it intensified, they would not lose or abandon their faith. Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. then continued to prophesise that the lands of Sana’a and Hadramaut in Yemen would eventually be populated by Muslims. A prophecy that is proven true today without a doubt. This was a glad tiding to the declining situation of the relatively small generation of early Muslims. The hadith demonstrates to us the patience of the Prophet and the hastiness of the companions, at that time, who wanted to win over the people who oppressed them. The Beloved Prophet s.a.w, who is fully connected to Allah, assured the companions that Allah would grant them victory to the point that the route between Sana'a and Ḥaḍramawt would become safe. We Must Be Thankful for Allah’s Blessings Bestowed Upon Us in Singapore One way to be thankful for this blessing is to protect it. We must believe in the model of our Muslim community in Singapore. The fact that we are all able to carry on with our daily routines and activities in these difficult times does not come about by chance. As Singaporeans, we all have worked hard to develop trust with one another. We live amicably with our friends and neighbours who are of different races and religions, with the Islamic values of care, compassion, and trusting one another. We have lived peacefully with one another way before the coming of Sir Stamford Raffles to this island. We can see different places of worship within a neighbourhood or a street built way before Singapore’s independence. The peace and harmony we enjoy are rare commodities in this world. Let us all continue to be gracious Singaporeans to one another, believing in and trusting each other. As we advocate for our cause, let us ensure that we remain respectful and wise, avoiding personal attacks and hate speeches that could erode the trust we've built together. The Palestine-Israel Crisis Is Not a War Between Islam and Judaism Israel is not equal to Judaism. Israel is not equal to Jews. Simultaneously, Hamas does not represent all the Palestinians. Muslims, Jews, and Christians lived peacefully in the land in the last century. The crisis involves territorial disputes, historical grievances, and differing claims to the land. While it has often been framed in religious terms due to the significance of the land to Judaism, Islam, and Christianity, at its core, the issue is primarily about land, power, and self-determination. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Abrahamic faiths Some of the rhetoric being played out on social media aims to create the impression for both the Muslim and Jewish communities that this conflict is a religious one. Some individuals employ religious symbols and the chant of "takbÄ«r" in an effort to garner attention from the public. Others invoke end-of-time discourses when discussing this conflict. Such discussions are not limited to Muslims; they also involve Christians and Jews. These narratives have raised concerns as public sentiments among both Muslims and Jews have been mocked and condemned. Read: Dealing With Recurrent Claims About The End Of The World We must be wary of the rise of anti-Semitism and Islamophobia to the point that it could potentially cause tensions in our multi-religious country. More importantly, as we strengthen our faith for the Hereafter, let us pay attention to how Prophet Muḥammad s.a.w. advised us to navigate the signs of the end of times. Narrated by Anas r.a, from the Prophet s.a.w: “Even if the Day of Judgement is approaching and you have a palm shoot in your hand and can plant it before the Hour arrives, you should plant it.” (Adab Al-Mufrad) Do Not Underestimate the Power of Dua Never underestimate the power of dua (supplication) with a firm belief. It can change what you may have thought was impossible to change. Dua is never wasted. So, keep making supplications as it is a special gift that Allah has given to us. He is the Best Listener and He is always Listening. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Dua, Supplication Keep knocking on the door of the Merciful, and it will open eventually. The key is to be patient. Allah knows when is the right time to fulfil our supplications and bring us relief. The Prophet s.a.w. said: “Supplication is the shield of a believer, a pillar of the religion and light of heavens and earth.”[5] The Prophet further taught us the best way we can carry out our supplication. He said: “Whomsoever has completed reading the Quran, ask Allah with it” (Narrated by Imam At-Tabrani) Based on the above hadith, we can make supplications for our brothers and sisters in Gaza, Palestine and for all humanity after reading ṣūrah al-Ikhlāṣ three times as reading this ṣūrah three times is equivalent to completing the Qurān. Let us make duā after every á¹£olat for all those who are experiencing oppression to be given patience, perseverance and paradise for the sacrifices that they are experiencing. رَبِّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ Oh Allah, save us, save us رَبِّ سَلِّمْ سَلِّمْ إِخْوَانَنَا فِى فِلِسْطِيْنَ Oh Allah, save us, save us, save our brothers and sisters in Palestine Read: Seeking Allah in Times of Distress As the crisis continues, we can be overwhelmed when we experience moments of incapacity to help, the loss of freedom of choice to voice our concerns and acts, and other types of emotions. This is where we seek refuge in Allah out of our sheer necessity with no other ulterior motive. All these emotions are His creations, and we turn ourselves towards Him with these emotions. As we turn ourselves towards Him, we acknowledge our weaknesses and inabilities and read a dua taught to us by Allah in Surah Ali-’Imran, حَسْبُنَا اللَّهُ وَنِعْمَ الْوَكِيلُ “For Allah suffice for us, and He is the best disposer of affairs.” (Surah Ali-’Imran, 3:173) This was the dua read by Nabi Ibrahim a.s when he was catapulted into the fire. As he flew into the fire, he read this dua, and Allah commanded the fire to cool down for Nabi Ibrahim a.s. قُلْنَا يَا نَارُ كُونِي بَرْدًا وَسَلَامًا عَلَىٰ إِبْرَاهِيمَ We said, “O Fire! Be your coolness and safety unto Ibrahim” (Surah Anbiya, 21:69) Read: Dua Qunut Nazilah With English Translation Channel Our Energy Towards a Good Cause Work together with others in contributing towards humanitarian aid during this conflict. People in Singapore, regardless of race and religion, were able to raise almost five million dollars in humanitarian aid for Palestine in less than 2 weeks after the fundraiser by the Rahmatan Lil Alamin (Blessings to all) Foundation, or RLAF, was launched. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Humanitarian, UNRWA, Help Always start something good within your means and circle of influence. For example, aside from making dua, donating and raising awareness about the crisis, we can also channel our efforts by volunteering at the mosque near our homes. Join the youth wing of the mosque and start supporting one another. Seek Guidance From Our Local Certified Asatizah As the conflict continues to unfold, we will continue to be bombarded with many different narratives. You may feel overwhelmed by the discussions and the emotions attached. Look for our local asātizah to process your feelings and thoughts. Go to the nearest mosque to seek help. Or you can look for a trusted adult to speak about your worries. Palestine, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, Crisis, Conflict, Middle East, Apartheid, Violence, Terrorism, Humanitarian, Safe Space, Discussion, AYN There are available channels for you to seek help, like the Asatizah Youth Network, mysafespace.sg, Asatizah Solace Care and others. Keep an eye on divisive speeches and extremist thoughts in virtual chat rooms or in social media platforms. Read: Ask An Ustaz or Ustazah Questions Through Anonymous Chat With MYSAFESPACE The Prophet always wants us to unite instead of being divided. Narratives that seek to plant the seed of hatred towards fellow Muslims and others are signs for us to distance ourselves from them. In conclusion, let us take the opportunity in this challenging time to explain and showcase the beauty of Islam. Let us elucidate the core principles and values such as Peace, Excellence, Mercy, Forgiveness, Justice and Wisdom that are contained in the Qurān and the exemplars of the Prophet s.a.w. Read: 4 Ways to Respond to the Suffering Faced by the Palestinian People References & Notes: [1] Ruth Margalit, Itamar Ben-Gvir, Israel’s Minister of Chaos, The New Yoker, February 20, 2023. https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2023/02/27/itamar-ben-gvir-israels-minister-of-chaos accessed on 8th November 2023. [2] Jonathan Guyer, Israel’s new right-wing government is even more extreme than protest would have you think, in Vox Journalism, 2023. https://www.vox.com/world/2023/1/20/23561464/israel-new-right-wing-government-extreme-protests-netanyahu-biden-ben-gvir, accessed on 8th November 2023. [3] Alexandra Sharp, A Guide to Palestinian and Other Anti-Israel Factions, Foreign Policy, October 10 2023. https://foreignpolicy.com/2023/10/10/what-is-hamas-israel-war-palestine-fatah-hezbollah/ accessed on 8th November 2023. [4] Narrated by Khabbab bin Al-Arat, “We complained to Rasulullah s.a.w. (of the persecution inflicted on us by the enemies) while he was laying down (and resting his head on a cloth) under the shade of the Kaabah. We said to him, "Would you seek help for us? Would you pray to Allah for us?" He said, "A man from the previous nation would be put in a ditch that was dug for him, and a saw would be put over his head, and he would be cut into two; yet that (torture) would not make him give up his religion. His body would be combed with iron combs that would remove his flesh from the bones and nerves, yet that would not make him abandon his religion. By Allah, this religion (i.e. Islam) will prevail till a traveller from á¹¢an‘ā (in Yemen) to Ḥaḍramawt will fear none but Allah, or a wolf as regards his sheep, but you (people) are hasty” (Sahih Al-Bukhari) [5] https://www.islamweb.net/ar/library/content/74/1701/index.php assessed on 8th November 2023. https://muslim.sg/articles/our-response-in-crisis-will-demonstrate-our-core-values-as-muslims
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  • https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/conservative-mp-leslyn-lewis-backs-petition-calling-for-canada-to-exit-un-who/


    Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis backs petition calling for Canada to exit UN, WHO
    LifeSiteWed Oct 18, 2023 - 2:57 pm EDT
    Featured Image
    OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– Conservative Party of Canada MP Leslyn Lewis has endorsed an official House of Commons petition demanding the nation’s federal government “urgently” withdraw from the United Nations and its subgroup, the World Health Organization (WHO), due to the organizations’ undermining of national “sovereignty” and the “personal autonomy” of citizens.

    “We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to Urgently implement Canada’s expeditious withdrawal from the U.N. and all of its subsidiary organizations, including WHO,” reads the petition, which was initiated by Doug Porter from Burnaby, British Columbia, and then endorsed by Lewis.

    As of press time, the petition, which was opened on October 10, has just over 36,000 signatures. It will remain open for signing until February 7, 2024.

    The petition states that Canada’s current membership in the UN along with the WHO has resulted in “negative consequences on the people of Canada,” which far outweigh “any benefits.”

    Additionally, the petition reads that the UN’s “Agenda 2030″ undermines “national sovereignty and personal autonomy.”

    Many of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government goals, notably its environmental ones, are in lockstep with the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

    Agenda 2030 is a plan that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, and through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), seeks to “transform our world for the better,” by “taking urgent action on climate change,” as well as “support[ing] the research and development of vaccines and medicines.” Some of the 17 goals also seek to expand “reproductive” services, including contraception and abortion, across the world in the name of women’s rights.

    According to the UN, “all” nations working on the program “will implement this plan.”

    Part of the plan includes phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing fertilizer usage, and curbing natural gas use over the coming decades. Canada is one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, however, Trudeau has made it one of his goals to decimate the industry.

    In a blow to the globalist UN agenda, however, Canada’s oil and gas sector recently scored a huge win after the Supreme Court of Canada declared Trudeau’s government’s Impact Assessment Act, dubbed the “no-more pipelines” bill, is mostly “unconstitutional.”

    As for Lewis, she is pro-life and has consistently called out the Trudeau government for pushing a globalist, anti-life agenda on Canadians.

    Early this year Lewis noted that the World Economic Forum (WEF) is “not our government” and that Canadians did not “sign up” to be attached to one of its charters. Lewis herself helped expose Canadians to the fact that Trudeau’s Liberal government signed onto the WEF charter in 2020.

    Petitions to Canada’s House of Commons can be started by anyone but must have the support of five Canadian citizens or residents, along with the support of a sitting MP.

    Once a petition has over 500 verified signatures, it is presented to the House of Commons, where it awaits an official government response.

    Petition calls out UN’s sex-ed programs, saying Canadians did not vote for these to be pushed on kids

    The Lewis-backed petition states that Canada should have nothing to do with the UN’s sexual education programs as they have been pushed on the populace without the “consent” of the people.

    The petition reads that Agenda 2030’s SDGs, as well as its “Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)” program, its UN Judicial Review, and its International Health Regulations (IHR) are being “rapidly implemented,” with the absent awareness and “consent of the People or their elected representatives.”

    The petition reads that SDGs have “negative impacts on potentially every aspect of life,” in Canada, including “religious and cultural values, familial relations, education, nutrition, child development, property rights, economic and agricultural productivity, transportation, travel, health, informed consent, privacy and physical autonomy.”

    When it comes to the UN’s CSE, the petition states that publicly funded educational institutions have been “damaging children while concealing information from parents.”

    As a result, the CSE’s “normalization” of “sexual values and activities with regard to children are endorsed and enforced, beginning at birth.”

    As for the WHO, it claims that the CSE gives kids “accurate, age-appropriate information,” however it then says sexual education should start at the age of 5 as per UN guidelines.

    “Learning is incremental; what is taught at the earliest ages is very different from what is taught during puberty and adolescence,” reads the CSE.

    A report which was published by the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in collaboration with the WHO, told kids aged 5 to 8 that “people can show love for other people through touching and intimacy.”

    UN’s health regulations look to violate Canadians’ charter rights, says petition

    The petition notes that when it comes to Agenda 2030, many amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) were “secretly negotiated,” which as a result means they could “impose unacceptable, intrusive universal surveillance, violating the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.”

    Lastly, the petition states that the UN’s goals intend to impose “sweeping impacts on public and private life,” and only “serve the interests of UN/WHO and unelected private entities (e.g. World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, etc.), while diminishing the health rights and freedom of Canadians.”

    The WHO says that the IHR is a legally binding international body to which all UN members are committed to.

    Lewis has before blasted Canada’s involvement with the IHR and insisted last year that the Canadian government “defend our healthcare sovereignty” and vote against proposed U.S. amendments to the the IHR.

    The WHO’s IHR provides an “overarching legal framework that defines countries’ rights and obligations in handling  public health events and emergencies that have the potential to cross borders.”

    “The IHR are an instrument of international law that is legally-binding on 196 countries, including the 194 WHO Member States,” notes the WHO.

    So far this year, there have been more than 300 proposed amendments to the IHR when it comes to the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.

    Lewis recently called out the proposed amendments, saying that if enacted it would negatively affect how Canada deals with any future health crisis.

    On September 26, she presented to the House of Commons a petition specific to the IHR, which called for “urgent” debates on the amendments.

    Critics have sounded the alarm over the Trudeau government’s involvement in the WEF and other globalist groups, pointing to the socialist nature of the “Great Reset” agenda and its similarities to Communist China’s totalitarian Social Credit System.

    Lewis in June of this year had asked for a full disclosure of all “contracts, transfer payments, memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, charters, accords, projects and associations between the government and the WEF since November 4, 2015.” 

    The outcomes from the Order Paper resulted in a 127-page response that was tabled in the House of Commons on September 18. 

    Lewis has in the past blasted the WEF and its Known Traveller Digital Identification (KTDI) programs as “glitching failures.”  

    Your support makes stories like this possible!

    LifeSiteNews is completely donor supported, allowing us to report on what truly is happening in the world, free of charge and uncensored. A donation to LifeSite will ensure millions around the world can continue to come to our site to find the truth people are so desperately searching for on life, faith, family and freedom.
    https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/conservative-mp-leslyn-lewis-backs-petition-calling-for-canada-to-exit-un-who/ Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis backs petition calling for Canada to exit UN, WHO LifeSiteWed Oct 18, 2023 - 2:57 pm EDT Featured Image OTTAWA, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) –– Conservative Party of Canada MP Leslyn Lewis has endorsed an official House of Commons petition demanding the nation’s federal government “urgently” withdraw from the United Nations and its subgroup, the World Health Organization (WHO), due to the organizations’ undermining of national “sovereignty” and the “personal autonomy” of citizens. “We, the undersigned, Citizens and Residents of Canada, call upon the House of Commons in Parliament assembled to Urgently implement Canada’s expeditious withdrawal from the U.N. and all of its subsidiary organizations, including WHO,” reads the petition, which was initiated by Doug Porter from Burnaby, British Columbia, and then endorsed by Lewis. As of press time, the petition, which was opened on October 10, has just over 36,000 signatures. It will remain open for signing until February 7, 2024. The petition states that Canada’s current membership in the UN along with the WHO has resulted in “negative consequences on the people of Canada,” which far outweigh “any benefits.” Additionally, the petition reads that the UN’s “Agenda 2030″ undermines “national sovereignty and personal autonomy.” Many of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s federal government goals, notably its environmental ones, are in lockstep with the United Nations’ “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.” Agenda 2030 is a plan that was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015, and through its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), seeks to “transform our world for the better,” by “taking urgent action on climate change,” as well as “support[ing] the research and development of vaccines and medicines.” Some of the 17 goals also seek to expand “reproductive” services, including contraception and abortion, across the world in the name of women’s rights. According to the UN, “all” nations working on the program “will implement this plan.” Part of the plan includes phasing out coal-fired power plants, reducing fertilizer usage, and curbing natural gas use over the coming decades. Canada is one of the world’s largest oil and gas producers, however, Trudeau has made it one of his goals to decimate the industry. In a blow to the globalist UN agenda, however, Canada’s oil and gas sector recently scored a huge win after the Supreme Court of Canada declared Trudeau’s government’s Impact Assessment Act, dubbed the “no-more pipelines” bill, is mostly “unconstitutional.” As for Lewis, she is pro-life and has consistently called out the Trudeau government for pushing a globalist, anti-life agenda on Canadians. Early this year Lewis noted that the World Economic Forum (WEF) is “not our government” and that Canadians did not “sign up” to be attached to one of its charters. Lewis herself helped expose Canadians to the fact that Trudeau’s Liberal government signed onto the WEF charter in 2020. Petitions to Canada’s House of Commons can be started by anyone but must have the support of five Canadian citizens or residents, along with the support of a sitting MP. Once a petition has over 500 verified signatures, it is presented to the House of Commons, where it awaits an official government response. Petition calls out UN’s sex-ed programs, saying Canadians did not vote for these to be pushed on kids The Lewis-backed petition states that Canada should have nothing to do with the UN’s sexual education programs as they have been pushed on the populace without the “consent” of the people. The petition reads that Agenda 2030’s SDGs, as well as its “Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE)” program, its UN Judicial Review, and its International Health Regulations (IHR) are being “rapidly implemented,” with the absent awareness and “consent of the People or their elected representatives.” The petition reads that SDGs have “negative impacts on potentially every aspect of life,” in Canada, including “religious and cultural values, familial relations, education, nutrition, child development, property rights, economic and agricultural productivity, transportation, travel, health, informed consent, privacy and physical autonomy.” When it comes to the UN’s CSE, the petition states that publicly funded educational institutions have been “damaging children while concealing information from parents.” As a result, the CSE’s “normalization” of “sexual values and activities with regard to children are endorsed and enforced, beginning at birth.” As for the WHO, it claims that the CSE gives kids “accurate, age-appropriate information,” however it then says sexual education should start at the age of 5 as per UN guidelines. “Learning is incremental; what is taught at the earliest ages is very different from what is taught during puberty and adolescence,” reads the CSE. A report which was published by the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, in collaboration with the WHO, told kids aged 5 to 8 that “people can show love for other people through touching and intimacy.” UN’s health regulations look to violate Canadians’ charter rights, says petition The petition notes that when it comes to Agenda 2030, many amendments to the International Health Regulations (IHR) were “secretly negotiated,” which as a result means they could “impose unacceptable, intrusive universal surveillance, violating the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the Canadian Bill of Rights and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.” Lastly, the petition states that the UN’s goals intend to impose “sweeping impacts on public and private life,” and only “serve the interests of UN/WHO and unelected private entities (e.g. World Economic Forum, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, International Planned Parenthood Federation, etc.), while diminishing the health rights and freedom of Canadians.” The WHO says that the IHR is a legally binding international body to which all UN members are committed to. Lewis has before blasted Canada’s involvement with the IHR and insisted last year that the Canadian government “defend our healthcare sovereignty” and vote against proposed U.S. amendments to the the IHR. The WHO’s IHR provides an “overarching legal framework that defines countries’ rights and obligations in handling  public health events and emergencies that have the potential to cross borders.” “The IHR are an instrument of international law that is legally-binding on 196 countries, including the 194 WHO Member States,” notes the WHO. So far this year, there have been more than 300 proposed amendments to the IHR when it comes to the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Lewis recently called out the proposed amendments, saying that if enacted it would negatively affect how Canada deals with any future health crisis. On September 26, she presented to the House of Commons a petition specific to the IHR, which called for “urgent” debates on the amendments. Critics have sounded the alarm over the Trudeau government’s involvement in the WEF and other globalist groups, pointing to the socialist nature of the “Great Reset” agenda and its similarities to Communist China’s totalitarian Social Credit System. Lewis in June of this year had asked for a full disclosure of all “contracts, transfer payments, memoranda of understanding, letters of intent, charters, accords, projects and associations between the government and the WEF since November 4, 2015.”  The outcomes from the Order Paper resulted in a 127-page response that was tabled in the House of Commons on September 18.  Lewis has in the past blasted the WEF and its Known Traveller Digital Identification (KTDI) programs as “glitching failures.”   Your support makes stories like this possible! LifeSiteNews is completely donor supported, allowing us to report on what truly is happening in the world, free of charge and uncensored. 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    Conservative MP Leslyn Lewis backs petition calling for Canada to exit UN, WHO - LifeSite
    Thus far the petition has over 36,000 signatures, well past the 500 signature threshold required for it to be presented to Parliament to receive as response.
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