Epidemics like SARS and Influenza often originate in impoverished regions that are all too common in failed states. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=

Article 39 of the UN Charter states that infectious diseases may be considered as ‘threats to peace and security’. http://voelkerrechtsblog.org/infectious-diseases-as-a-new-threat-to-international-peace-and-security/

If a deadly disease like Smallpox or Spanish Flu reemerged in a nation like North Korea or Somalia, do the general principles of sovereignty of a nation still apply or does UN resolution 2177/2014 allow the World Court to use the UN and WHO to effectively usurp the nation's autonomy by enforcing medical treatments including quarantine?



  • What do you mean by "enforcing quarantine"? If I (country X) refuse people travelling from country Y, or at least force them to pass a quarantine in order to admit them, I would say that there is no usurpation of country Y's autonomy as I am just regulating my own borders...
    – SJuan76
    Mar 2, 2018 at 19:58
  • Quarantines are routinely enforced for medical outbreaks on a local scale and even nationally as in the case of SARS. But what if the affected nation refuses WHO medical interventions, thereby threatening the peace and safety of other nations. If Highly Pathogenic Avian Flu outbreak occurred in North Korea and it refused the intrusion on it's own autonomy and forbade foreign interventions, a spillover event could occur via migration of the affected birds and could result in the expansion of an epidemic into a pandemic. How would international law protect the world from belligerent nations. Mar 2, 2018 at 20:16
  • There are so many things that an outside nation could do that are quite fact intensive, so I think it is pretty hard to evaluate in the abstract.
    – ohwilleke
    Mar 3, 2018 at 0:29
  • This question, because it asks about the response, might do better on politics.stackexchange.com than here. The response might be constrained by international law, but the type of response would be a combination of medical input and political decision making. Mar 3, 2018 at 2:06
  • I am seeking the legal framework if possible. I posted a different version of this question on SE Health and they suggested this forum. I have read enough academic literature to understand this is a serious issue that world bodies are unprepared to address and if an outbreak does occur in a similar manner as my scenario, there will be very little time to work out a satisfactory resolution. I was simply hoping for a link to legal rulings other than UN that discusses the control of outbreaks in hostile nations. Mar 3, 2018 at 2:27


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