JPIL Vol 6 Issue 1 2015 - Article 1

COLLECTIVE SECURITY, ‘THREATS TO THE PEACE’, AND THE EBOLA OUTBREAK
 
Gary Wilson
 
Abstract
In mid-2014, the international community was rocked by the unprecedented spread of the Ebola virus. The virus, owing to its high mortality rate (up to 83-90%), is listed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a Risk Group 4 Pathogen requiring Biosafety Level 4 containment. The virus first took hold in a number of West African states, before appearing outside of the region with potentially catastrophic consequences forecast by health experts, international organisations, politicians, and media outlets alike. In September of 2014, the UN Security Council (UNSC) characterised Ebola as ‘threat to the peace’ and the international community was urged to provide aid to the worst effected countries in order to eradicate its threat. This Article considers the nature of the Ebola outbreak as a ‘threat to the peace’ under the UN Charter’s collective security framework and seeks to contextualise this within the wider discourse on the concept of collective security and in particular its human security dimension. Significantly, the Article will demonstrate the relationship between a threat of this kind and other recognised threats to peace.

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