Ebola Does Not Fall from the Sky: Structural Violence & International Responsibility

By Sirleaf, Matiangai | Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law, March 2018 | Go to article overview

Ebola Does Not Fall from the Sky: Structural Violence & International Responsibility


Sirleaf, Matiangai, Vanderbilt Journal of Transnational Law


TABLE OF CONTENTS  I.    INTRODUCTION                                              479 II.    THEORETICAL & LEGAL FRAMEWORK                            483        A. Conceptual Framework: Structural           Violence                                              483        B. Legal Framework: International           Law                                                   489 III.    WARS DECLARED AND UNDECLARED & THE         EBOLA EPIDEMIC                                          490         A. Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone            before Ebola                                         491              1. Underdevelopment in the                 Sub-Region                                      491              2. Conflict in the Sub-Region                      497              3. Post-Conflict Reconstruction                 in the Sub-Region                               499         B. Guinea, Liberia & Sierra Leone in            the Time of Ebola                                    503              1. Ebola's Trajectory in the                 Sub-Region                                      504              2. Post-Conflict Legacies &                 the Ebola Epidemic                              507              3. Ineffectual Local Responses to                 Ebola                                           508 IV.    THE INTERNATIONAL REGIMES FOR HEALTH AND        SECURITY & THE SPREAD OF EBOLA                           513        A. International Health & the Regulation           of Highly Infectious Diseases like Ebola              513           1. The WHO's Emergency Powers                         514           2. The WHO's Failure to Manage              the Ebola Epidemic                                 516                a. Declaring an Emergency                        516                b. Explanations for the                   Botched Response                              519                c. Responding to Failure                         523        B. International Security & the Regulation           of Highly Infectious Diseases like Ebola              526           1. United Nations' Emergency              Powers                                             526           2. International Peace and              Security Regime's Response to              Ebola                                              528                a. United Nations                   Security Council                              529                b. United Nations                   General Assembly                              535                c. Regional Organizations                        537                d. Individual States                             538 V.    THEORETICAL & POLICY IMPLICATIONS                         540        A. The Limits of International           Responsibility                                        540        B. Complex Relationship between Infectious           Diseases & Conflict                                   545        C. International Disaster Law & Responding           to Epidemics                                          548 VI.    CONCLUSION                                               552 

I. INTRODUCTION

Today, infectious diseases cause approximately 25 percent of all deaths around the world, (1) and over thirty infectious diseases have emerged during the last twenty years. (2) Due to the increasing interconnectedness of the world, the need for effective international regulation of highly infectious diseases cannot be overstated, especially for developing countries in the Global South. (3) As Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank (WB), remarked, the "Ebola crisis in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone taught all of us that we must be much more vigilant to outbreaks and respond immediately to save lives and also to protect economic growth." (4) Indeed, recent economic studies indicate that the annual cost of moderate to severe pandemics globally is roughly USD 570 billion. …

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