Militarization Of Health: A War Against Humanity

first_imgColumnsMilitarization Of Health: A War Against Humanity Saurabh Ajay Gupta23 April 2020 7:52 AMShare This – xGlobal health crises have rocked the world recently with the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus and the earlier Ebola outbreak. In 2014, the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2177, termed the Ebola outbreak as a ‘threat to international peace and security’ under article 39 of the UN Charter. Now, when pandemics are termed as a ‘security issue’ rather than a ‘health issue’, it inevitably shifts…Your free access to Live Law has expiredTo read the article, get a premium account.Your Subscription Supports Independent JournalismSubscription starts from ₹ 599+GST (For 6 Months)View PlansPremium account gives you:Unlimited access to Live Law Archives, Weekly/Monthly Digest, Exclusive Notifications, Comments.Reading experience of Ad Free Version, Petition Copies, Judgement/Order Copies.Subscribe NowAlready a subscriber?LoginGlobal health crises have rocked the world recently with the recent SARS-CoV-2 virus and the earlier Ebola outbreak. In 2014, the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2177, termed the Ebola outbreak as a ‘threat to international peace and security’ under article 39 of the UN Charter. Now, when pandemics are termed as a ‘security issue’ rather than a ‘health issue’, it inevitably shifts the focus from general well-being to responding via the military, both inter-country and intra-country. This narrative has the undesirable focus of declaring ‘war’ on a virus, which prominent figures like Boris Johnson, Donald Trump and Emmanuel Macron have adopted. At home, the Prime Minister has adopted a similar narrative, comparing the country’s COVID-19 response to the 18-day war described in the Mahabharata.The G20 summit employed this narrative on an international scale calling for a global war on the virus. Some have used this opportunity to curb dissent and shelve democracy in the wake of the global emergency. A widely used phrase in health law is the ‘militarization of health’ that resonated with this narrative of declaring war against a disease. The tone set is one of aggression rather than care and compassion; this is in stark contrast to the tone set by, for example, Jacinda Arden who urged citizens of her country to ‘be kind’ sparking feelings of care and compassion. The kindness narrative, as opposed to the war narrative, fuels unity and solidarity of fellow beings rather than the divisive nature of aggressive language.The ill-effects are visible from incidents like spitting upon North-East Indians and calling them ‘corona’ or by denying health services to them. The perception of SARS-CoV-2 as a ‘Chinese virus’ fans hatred and remains hollow as a solution to any of the problems posed by such a global pandemic. The important distinction to be made here is that an aggressive verbalization is not necessarily a better or an effective response against the virus. Such a militarization of health raises questions of accountability and moral agency of law enforcement personnel in context of ‘medicine as warfare’. In such a scenario, populations vulnerable to human rights abuse may become worse off without special care, especially in context of a nation-wide mega-lockdown. For example, the lockdown places more women at risk of domestic violence. It also raises inequality between the rich and poor by, e.g. exacerbating unequal access to resources, especially when much of rural India hardly gets access to tap water, let alone have urban jobs that allow them to work from home. In such scenarios, human rights go for a toss in favor of the protection of bigger health concerns. When we speak of a ‘war on terror’, its visualization in our mind is that of response with bullets against terrorists. A similar narrative of ‘war on COVID-19’ has the unfortunate consequence of conflating the victim of the virus with the virus itself, i.e. a virus as the enemy becomes inseparable from the person who is a victim of the virus as the enemy. This results in the aggregation of an ‘enemy’ with characteristics of persons that are inextricably intertwined, e.g. race, gender, religion etc. There on, it does not take much from a war on the virus, to become a war on the Chinese or a war on the Muslims. The intimate relationship of a war narrative and violence is visible through police brutality to enforce a lockdown and brutality against doctors to protest treatment.This intimate connection is hardly ethicallydefendable. The losers in a militarization of health are the common people and workers on the front line who are committed to serve the nation. When especially health equipment doubles as a party advertisement in such crises and display of opposition displeasure comes at the cost of coordination of efforts against COVID-19, ‘medicine as strategy’ goes against the fundamental principles of health as a human right. As such, any narrative other than that of care and compassion does little to advance the cause of cooperation in overcoming the current crisis together. An ‘us vs. them’ approach in tackling a virus cannot sustain in the long term and remains hollow as a consequence. The close connection of the use of force and health to prevent unrest and restrict travel is required because narratives of cooperation as a global society are missing from the voices of most global leaders. Instead of a war, what we are in is a ‘struggle’ to uphold cherished values of humanity.Views Are Personal Only.(Author is Additional Advocate General Of Chhattisgarh in Supreme Court of India) Next Storylast_img read more

First quarter Powder River Basin coal production down 12.9% from 2018

first_imgFirst quarter Powder River Basin coal production down 12.9% from 2018 FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享S&P Global Market Intelligence ($):Powder River Basin coal production among the top producers fell 12.9% year over year in the first quarter after larger producers outlined plans to reduce output while others fight for market share in the struggling basin.While the top producers in the region produced 80.8 million tons of coal in the first three months of 2018, comparable output totaled 70.4 million tons in the recent period, according to data compiled by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The basin was also affected by severe winter weather and flooding during the quarter, which delayed rail shipments.Experts told S&P Global Market Intelligence in April that they expect producers in the basin to continue to struggle for the foreseeable future. Robert Godby, director of the University of Wyoming’s Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy, said cutthroat competition for the basin’s shrinking demand has lowered prices and margins for smaller producers that are willing to sell at slim margins just to generate cash flow and keep their mines open.Three of Peabody Energy Corp.’s mines in the basin saw year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter production decreases during the period. The company’s North Antelope Rochelle mine, the largest in the basin, produced 20.3 million tons of coal in the first quarter, dropping 22.9% year over year and 17.3% quarter over quarter.Arch Coal Inc. executives said in February that the company’s volumes from the region would be down in 2019 as well. On an April 23 earnings call, executives touted high interest in Arch’s thermal coal from the basin. CEO John Eaves said buying activity in the region was the strongest in more than five years. Arch’s Black Thunder mine saw single-digit percentage decreases in output from the first and fourth quarter of 2018, but the company’s Coal Creek mine took an especially large hit. Coal Creek produced 696,000 tons of coal during the recent period, a 62.6% decrease from the year-ago period and a 63.1% drop from the prior quarter.Cloud Peak Energy Inc., which continues to struggle financially and recently elected not to make a debt payment, saw double-digit percentage drops in output at its Antelope Coal, Cordero Rojo and Spring Creek mines from the prior quarter. Antelope Coal, the largest of the three and the third-largest operation in the basin, saw a 28.4% production drop year over year to nearly 4.8 million tons.More ($): Powder River Basin coal production falls 12.9% YOY in Q1’19 among top minerslast_img read more