HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Case Western Reserve University School of Law

Sunday, September 20, 2020

The Pandemic Paradox in International Law

Peter Danchin (University of Maryland), Jeremy Farrall (ANU College of Law), Shruti Rana (Indiana University), Imogen Saunders (ANU College of Law), The Pandemic Paradox in International Law, ANU College of Law Research Paper No. 20.18

This article examines a series of paradoxes that have rendered the international legal order’s mechanisms for collective action powerless precisely when they are most needed to fight COVID-19. The “patriotism paradox” is that disengagement from the international legal order weakens rather than strengthens state sovereignty. The “border paradox” is that securing domestic populations by excluding non-citizens, in the absence of accompanying regulatory mechanisms to secure adherence to internal health measures, accelerates viral spread among citizens. The “equality paradox” is that while pandemics pose an equal threat to all people, their impacts compound existing inequalities.

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