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Brooklyn Journal of International Law

Abstract

Whether and to what extent travel restriction should be implemented during international infectious disease epidemics became a controversial issue, most recently, during the 2014 Ebola outbreak. The primary authority on the manner in which to respond to such epidemics is the International Health Regulations (IHR). The IHR is a treaty, established by the World Health Organization (WHO), which governs and coordinates international responses to international infectious disease epidemics. Despite the WHO's strong advisement to the contrary, many countries who were signatories to the IHR implemented travel bans and other types of travel restrictions to prevent the transmission of the disease to their respective territories. Therefore, as evidenced by this outcome, the IHR has fallen short in regulating this use of travel restrictions by the international community. As a solution to this shortcoming, this Note proposes a framework of sunsetting phase-out provisions that will cause the IHR to more effectively and precisely regulate the use of travel restrictions by signatories to the IHR, while also preserving the aspects of the IHR that strongly aim to both protect and preserve elements of human rights, the international economy, international public health, and state sovereignty.