Thursday, May 8, 2008

Burma at risk of disease, plague

In my next post, I quote the French Foreign minister who cited the risk of disease as justification for pressuring Myanmar to accept large-scale outside help.

Shari Villarosa, who heads the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar, told reporters "there is a very real risk of disease outbreaks as long as this continues." Doctors without Borders issued a similar statement: "Under these circumstances, infectious diseases such as cholera can spread easily." Also see here concerning the threat of malaria.

Diseases cross international boundaries. Under international law, the threat of disease epidemics -- such as cholera -- may provide an alternative justification for the international community to intervene decisively, providing assistance to the desperate. It's called self-defense.

The French foreign minister may have been hinting at this possibility in his recent comments, looking ahead to the next meeting of the Security Council.

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