Doctors in India Need Human Rights Training to Advocate for Prison Reform  

Shivam Singh, Farhad R. Udwadia, and J. Wesley Boyd It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails. A nation should not be judged by how it treats its highest citizens, but its lowest ones. Nelson Mandela Conditions inside Indian prisons are poor at best and abhorrent at worst. Many of these prisons are overcrowded breeding grounds for HIV and TB and…

Drug Company Practices: Is COVID-19 a New Dawn for Human Rights Norms or Business as Usual?

Katrina Perehudoff and Tessa Jolan Jager Drug company decisions about COVID-19 products reveal insights about the changing contours of responsible and rights-based corporate conduct in a health crisis. Those holding the intellectual property (IP) rights to COVID-19 medicines can prevent others from manufacturing, selling, or using their product while it is under protection. In the last two decades drug company strategies ranged from staunchly defending their proprietary rights (for example,…

Applying a Human Rights Lens to the Work of the Biden Task Force on Separated Families

Jennifer McQuaid and Randi Mandelbaum Lawyers, psychologists, primary health physicians, and human rights professionals are watching as the Biden and Harris Inter Agency Task Force, created by Executive Order on February 2, 2021, and led by the Commissioner of the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS), begins to make amends for the effects of the government’s Zero Tolerance Policy which forcibly separated nearly 6,000 children from their parents.[1] While…

A Time for Optimism? Biden’s LGBTQ Support Provides Hope, but Highlights Persistent Social Exclusion

Caroline Voyles and Randall Sell Pete Buttigieg’s historic appointment as the first openly LGBTQ cabinet member in the United States and Dr. Rachel Levine’s potential to become the first openly transgender person to receive Senate confirmation of a presidential pick do indeed raise hope. However, LGBTQ people are underrepresented in the Biden administration, and in elected and appointed government positions in general. There are only two openly LGBTQ members of the Senate, nine…

PERSPECTIVE Safe Abortion in Women’s Hands: Autonomy and a Human Rights Approach to COVID-19 and Beyond

Andrés López Cabello and Ana Cecilia Gaitán Introduction While SARS-CoV-2 containment measures transformed all spheres of social interaction, the COVID-19 pandemic has subjected national health systems to unforeseen strain, leading to their virtual collapse in many countries. The international health crisis has exacerbated social inequalities, with a disproportionate impact on traditionally neglected people; unfortunately, its socioeconomic impacts are likely only to deepen in the future.[1] Sexual and reproductive health and…

The Human Right to Vaccines: Preventing Discrimination Against the Unvaccinated

A. Kayum Ahmed As the roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines gains momentum, a dystopian society of the “unvaccinated”—a class of people denied affordable and equitable access to effective COVID-19 vaccines—could likely emerge. This new class of people includes prisoners, Palestinians, and those affected by armed conflict. And because future supplies of COVID-19 vaccines have already been purchased by wealthy countries, the unvaccinated class will include a large part of the Global…

Early COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Must Include Incarcerated People

Ira Memaj and Robert Fullilove Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, public health researchers warned state officials about the pandemic’s impact on vulnerable populations, including those incarcerated. Prisons and jails across the United States have become the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, with an infection rate five times higher than the general population and mortality rates that are three times higher. At the time of writing, 2359 incarcerated people…

The Value of Human Rights for Vaccine Prioritization at the National Level

Sharifah Sekalala Now that several viable COVID-19 vaccines have been developed, the end of the pandemic may be in sight, at least for the 14% of the world’s population fortunate enough to live in countries that have pre-ordered vaccines. For the rest of the world’s population in low- or middle-income countries, there are still serious questions about access to the vaccines with the United Nations (UN) estimating that most people…

International Human Rights Process Finally Achieves Equal Treatment for Foreign Teachers in Korea: The Case of L.G. v. Republic of Korea

Benjamin K. Wagner The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD), the monitoring body of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), gave its opinion in May 2015 on a case brought by a New Zealand national living and working in the Republic of Korea as a teacher of English as a foreign language.[1] The CERD found that the South Korean…

A Time for Optimism? Securing Individual Choice for Intersex Genital Surgeries in the United States

Hans Lindahl Forced genital surgeries on intersex children remain a commonly overlooked health and human rights struggle. Skirting individual consent, invasive procedures such as clitoral reduction and vaginoplasty can still be offered to parents—if justified by the judgement of a specialist that a child’s anatomy looks “too atypical.” The surgeries, which impact fertility and sexual function, are usually performed when a child is under two years old. This practice of…