Abstract – The Framework Convention on Global Health: A tool for empowering the HIV/AIDS movements in Senegal and South Africa

Ella Scheepers

Health and Human Rights 15/1

Published June 2013



Despite the Alma Ata-inspired slogan “health for all by 2000,” the world remains afflicted with poor health in the second decade of the 21st century.1 This situation has generated much debate, and as a result, national and global responses have arguably entered a new era, building on the past success and failures of health movements, most notably on the back of the global HIV/AIDS movement.2

This article aims to contribute to the existing knowledge around a Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH) from the perspective that any international legal framework conceptualisation on the right to health must involve those whose health is at stake. In order to achieve this analyses of the role played by civil society, who aim to give a voice to those unheard in the halls of state power, are vital for any discussion around the international right to health framework.

The two case studies, Senegal and South Africa, were used to look at the current status of the international right to health framework, specifically in the context of the civil society’s role in combating the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Through this, the article explores the possible role of an FCGH in empowering the HIV/AIDS movements in the protection and promotion of the right to health in Africa.

The findings discerned that African states face different challenges regarding the realization of the right to health in the context of HIV/AIDS. However, the important role played by civil society in this realization is highlighted in both cases. They emphasize the diverse roles that an FCGH could play in empowering civil society, through the formulation of a global standard and framework on the right to health, in the form of an FCGH, particularly if it is as a result of a movement of rights education and advocacy from below.3