The Progressive Development of International Law to Address Public Health Emergency Prevention, Preparedness and Response: The Role of Non-State Standard-Setting Efforts
Roojin Habibi is a scholar, international consultant and lawyer specialized in global health law, governance and justice. Her dissertation examines the ways through which non-state actors articulate and promote the uptake of expert-derived principles and guidelines across jurisdictions, thereby contributing to progressive developments of international law. She focuses particularly on the contribution of such processes to the development of human rights frameworks applicable to public health emergencies, a key example being the “Siracusa Principles on the Limitation and Derogations Provisions in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights” (Siracusa Principles). Developed in 1984 through a consensus-building effort among scholars of international law and convened by a coalition of NGOs, the Siracusa Principles provide the most well-known synthesis of criteria on the lawfulness of restrictions on civil and political rights during national states of exception. While the Principles do not grapple with novel features of emergency responses to public health emergencies, such as the scientific uncertainty underpinning government actions, and the legal and ethical dilemmas posed by long-term or wider use of digital social policy interventions, they nevertheless illustrate how transnational networks of non-state actors can promote the consolidation and development of international guidelines that fill normative voids. Eventually, such guidelines may gain global traction and legitimacy within international law, equipping advocates with tools for government accountability, influencing human rights praxis, and spurring reforms of law at from national to global levels.