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Oxford Statements I & II on the News

Aug 21, 2020

As a testament to their impact, the Oxford Statements I and II – alongside the research that supports them – have been the subject of local and international news features. ‘The Oxford Statement on the International Law Protections Against Cyber Operations Targeting the Health Care Sector‘ was cited in a Wired news article published last July on recent hacks against UK companies in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. The article refers to an interview with ELAC’s Co-Director Dapo Akande where he noted that most instances of state-backed hacking are not “governed by treaties” and applicable rules “really are not necessarily specific to cyber operations and cyber activities”. The Oxford Statement and the signatures that it received were praised as a significant step in strengthening the unlawfulness of hacking attempts on medical facilities during the pandemic.

Earlier this week, The Second Oxford Statement on International Law Protections of the Healthcare Sector During Covid-19: Safeguarding Vaccine Research was centre-stage in an interview with ELAC Research Fellow Talita Dias for the radio station Jack FM Oxfordshire. In the interview, Talita was asked about the aims of the Second Oxford Statement and the importance of protecting the research and development of the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine as well as other vaccine candidates. She noted how Oxford University researchers are dependent on information and communications technologies and how they had to shift from an open research culture to one focussed on protecting sensitive medical data from harmful cyber operations. In particular, she stressed that states must protect and refrain from tampering with the data and information used for clinical trials to ensure that the Oxford vaccine is proven safe, effective and receives medical approval to be distributed worldwide. In this context, Talita mentioned that the key aim of the Second Oxford statement is not just to clarify the rules of international law that apply to protect vaccine research and development but also to send a message that solidarity and cooperation between states, corporations and individuals are essential in fighting the pandemic. You can listen to the radio interview here.

And remember: if you are an international lawyer, you can still sign both the First and Second Oxford Statements by sending an email with your name and affiliation to [email protected].