chapter  20
Is Human Rights Prepared? Risk, Rights and Public Health Emergencies
Pages 26

I. INTRODUCTION A new force seems to be at work in public health law and practice. Consider, for example, the proliferation of references to 'preparedness'; specifically, 'public health emergency preparedness' and its more specialised variants such as 'public health emergency legal preparedness' and 'international legal preparedness'. There is also increasing use of related phrases such as 'global public health security' and 'international health security'. Of course, a proliferation of terms is not enough to prove that a new force is in play: language shifts all the time in all sorts of areas, and although such changes may reflect and contribute to deep social transformation, they can also be nothing more than passing fashions with little or no impact. But public health emergency preparedness does not feel like a superficial, short-lived trend: in fact, it seems almost the exact opposite. Indeed, as David Fidler and Laurence Gostin emphasise in their recent book, Biosecurity in the Global Age, a 'policy revolution' seems to have taken place - a revolution brought about by a 'collision' of public health and security.1