The NGOs Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) called for unlocking the temporary exemption of certain rules contained in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) to facilitate global access to vaccines against COVID-19.
The corresponding proposal, submitted by India and South Africa and co-sponsored by Kenya, Eswatini, Mozambique and Pakistan, received support from a hundred countries, mostly low- and middle-income countries, but stumbled upon the objections of a higher-income group, including Brazil, Canada, the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom and the European Union. This Thursday, the initiative will be debated at a World Trade Organization (WTO) meeting in Geneva.
“Governments should quickly adopt this proposal to better ensure the availability and affordability of life-saving medical products, including vaccines, for all,” said Human Rights Watch Deputy Executive Director Bruno Stagno Ugarte.
Amnesty International’s advisor on the right to health, Tamaryn Nelson, stressed that accepting the exemptions from the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) “is crucial for States to demonstrate that they are fully committed to do everything necessary immediately to protect the right to health of billions of people, no matter where they live.”