international human rights law constitutes the best way to provide the committee with some perspective on the relationship between an expanded NQS and international law. This memorandum addresses each of these bodies of international law in turn.

The United States will also face international legal issues if the federal government contemplates placing federal quarantine resources inside the territory of other countries. The Consultant understands that the federal government may wish to “forward deploy” public health assets to foreign ports and countries as part of the strategy to prevent and control the importation of potential health threats into the United States. Such arrangements will involve the United States negotiating agreements or arrangements with foreign countries in order to allow federal public health personnel to perform functions within the territory and jurisdiction of those sovereign nations. This memorandum contains brief commentary on the international legal issues that would arise with “forward deployment” of NQS assets in foreign countries.


From their original promulgation by WHO as the International Sanitary Regulations in 1951, the old IHR constituted the only international legal instrument directly on infectious disease control binding on WHO member states. Prior to the revision in 2005, WHO last revised the IHR in 1981, when the organization removed smallpox from the list of the diseases subject to the Regulations. From 1981 until the present, the IHR have applied to only three diseases—cholera, plague, and yellow fever. The concerns about emerging and reemerging infectious diseases and bioterrorism behind the federal government’s plans to expand the NQS also stimulated at WHO a process to revise the IHR to make them more relevant to transnational disease threats in an era of globalization. This process began in 1995 and was completed by the World Health Assembly in May 2005 when it adopted the revised IHR.

WHO’s adoption of the revised IHR, and the U.S. government’s declared support for the revised IHR, means that the federal government will develop the expanded NQS in an international legal environment affected by the revised IHR. The revised IHR contain an international legal regime radically different from the old IHR and their historical precursors. Most important from the perspective of an expanded NQS, the revised IHR impose more demanding international legal rules than any previous version of the IHR.

For example, the more demanding nature of the revised IHR appears in the provision that defines “disease” in such a way that includes all sources of human illness or medical conditions (Article 1.1). This provision, and others, expands the revised IHR’s scope to include disease events caused by

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