Paul Hunt’s TED Talk: Do Human Rights Work?

Paul Hunt, the first Special Rapporteur on the right to health, and guest editor of the forthcoming December 2015 issue of Health and Human Rights Journal, takes his TED audience on a journey to question the validity of his young son’s observation that his dad’s work “doesn’t work.” At the heart of Hunt’s talk is the call to gather more evidence to refute claims that a human rights based approach to social rights doesn’t work.

Although his work as a human rights lawyer started in civil and political rights, Hunt’s experience of living in the Gambia drew his focus to the importance of the “other half of human rights” – the social, economic, and cultural rights.  He explains that these human rights include the rights to health care, education, and housing. “If we are serious about equality,” he says, “we have to be serious about these neglected human rights-which are really equality rights.”  Using short video clips, Hunt argues there is a new, dynamic global movement for the practical implementation of these empowering human rights. Although long overlooked, and therefore ”a road less travelled,” Hunt describes these rights as a pathway to equality and equity for all.

Hunt is guest editor of the December 2015 issue of Health and Human Rights, which is calling for papers that demonstrate the Evidence of Impact of Human Rights-Based Approaches to Health.  Other guest editors are Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director General of the WHO, and Alicia Ely Yamin, the FXB Center’s policy director.

Watch the full TED talk here.