Mumbai: The President of the International Council of Jurists (ICJ) has filed a complaint with the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) against China alleging that the coronavirus pandemic was a result of a conspiracy ‘aimed a catapulting itself to the position of a superpower of the world and undermining other countries through biological warfare..
The complaint filed by Dr Adish C Aggarwala, President of ICJ, listed People’s Republic of China, People’s Liberation Army and Wuhan Institute of Virology as respondents.
In the complaint Aggarwala has stated, “Gross negligence and incompetence of Chinese government and their authorities. The Chinese government’s response in dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic has violated various Charters and Guidelines issued by the United Nations and have endangered the lives of millions, and has made life and business across the globe to come to a complete standstill.”
Aggarwala who is also the Chairman of the All India Bar Association to the United Nations in Geneva listed out the events leading to pandemic COVID-19 in his petition:
1. On December 1, 2019, the first patient was identified with symptoms of “pneumonia like illness” who allegedly had exposure to Wuhan market in China. Five days after the illness, his 53-year-old wife who had no known history of exposure to the market also presented with “pneumonia like illness” and was hospitalized in the isolation ward.
2. Gradually, hospitals in the Wuhan witnessed an exponential increase in the number of these cases complaining of symptoms of “pneumonia like illness” .
3. On December 25, 2019, Chinese medical staff in two hospitals in Wuhan were suspected of similar disease and were quarantined.
4. Doctor Li Wenliang, who worked at the Hospital in Wuhan, warned a group of other doctors about a possible outbreak of an illness that resembled “Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)”. He urged them to take protective measures against infection.
5. However, on December 31, 2019, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission declared that their investigation has not found any obvious human-to-human transmission and no medical staff infection has been found in their investigation.
6. Subsequently, in the beginning of January 2020, summons was issued to Doctor Li Wenliang by the Wuhan Public Security Bureau, accusing the doctor of “spreading rumours about a deadly virus” and as per reports on January 3, 2020, Doctor Li Wenliang had signed a statement at a police station acknowledging his “misdemeanour” and promising not to commit further “unlawful acts.” The doctor, however, succumbed to the deadly COVID-19 and recently the Chinese government has apologised to the family of the doctor.
7. The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reiterated their stand and ruling out the possibility that this was a recurrence of the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) virus – an illness that originated in China and killed more than 770 people worldwide in 2002-2003.
8. On January 7, 2020, going against their earlier findings, the officials announced that they had identified a new virus, as per the reports of WHO. The Novel Coronavirus was named 2019-nCoV and was identified as belonging to the Coronavirus family, which includes SARS and the common cold.
9. By then, as many 59 people in the central city of Wuhan were found critical with symptoms of identified Novel Coronovirus, as per a report by The New York Times dated January 6, 2020, and the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention issued a Level-1 travel watch. It advised travellers to Wuhan to avoid contact with ‘living or dead animals, animal markets, and sick people‟.
10. On January 8, 2020, Chinese medical authorities claimed to have identified the virus, reiterating that it still found ‘no clear evidence of human-to-human transfer.’
11. On January 11, 2020, the Wuhan City Health Commission released Q&A sheet emphasizing that most of the unexplained viral pneumonia cases in Wuhan have a history of exposure to the South China seafood market and “no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission has been found.”
12. On January 13, 2020, the first case of Novel Coronavirus was reported outside China involving a 61-year-old Chinese woman in Thailand, who had visited Wuhan earlier. However, Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health, said the woman had not visited the Wuhan seafood market and had come down with a fever on January 5, 2020.
13. On January 14, 2020, the World Health Organization, in its report stated: “Preliminary investigations conducted by the Chinese authorities have found no clear evidence of human-to-human transmission of the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) identified in Wuhan, China.”
14. Later, The Wuhan Municipal Health Commission, in a statement said that the possibility of “limited human-to-human transmission” cannot be ruled out. Even though the Chinese authorities knew that the virus is contagious, they allowed around 50,000 families to gather and share home-cooked food in a Lunar New Year banquet, as per an article in National Review.
15. On January 19, 2020, the Chinese National Health Commission declared the virus “still preventable and controllable”. A day later, the head of China’s National Health Commission team investigating the outbreak, confirmed that two cases of infection in China’s Guangdong province, had been caused by “human-to-human transmission and medical staff had been infected”.
16. On January 22, 2020, a WHO delegation conducted a field visit to Wuhan and delegation in coordination with Chinese authorities, concluded that “deployment of the new test kit by Chinese authorities nationally suggests that human-to-human transmission is taking place in Wuhan.” The delegation also informed that they discussed China’s plan to expand the definition of the Novel Coronavirus case so that international community can be prepared and it understands the severity of the Novel Coronavirus.
17. The WHO, later, on January 23, 2020, stated that the outbreak did not yet constitute a public emergency of international concern and there was no evidence of the virus spreading between humans outside of China, based on investigation conducted and concluded by the Chinese authorities.
18. On January 23, 2020, nearly two months after the first case of the virus was reported, Chinese authorities announced their ‘first steps for a quarantine of Wuhan.’ By this time, a significant number of Chinese citizens have travelled abroad as “asymptomatic, oblivious carriers”.
19. As on April 1, 2020, the disease has killed more than 43, 569 people and infected nearly 877, 584 persons across the globe according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
20. In addition to the above, the disease has caused extensive damage in terms of life, livelihood, damage to relationships, and has caused massive economic loss to almost all countries.
Aggarwala in his petition makes a strong cases against China for violating Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.pdf_upload-372096