NEW HHRJ SERIES: Calling for blogs on SDGs, Accountability, and the Right to Health

Robust accountability processes and mechanisms are an essential component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In our recent SDG SERIES, contributors repeatedly called for human rights to underpin these processes and mechanisms. In response, the Health and Human Rights Journal is now calling for contributions for a new series of blogs on “SDGs, Accountability, and the Right to Health.” Contributions may explore practical and procedural interpretations arising from an…

Mary Robinson Introduces the COP21 SERIES: Climate change, COP21, and the right to health

Introduction by Mary Robinson I am delighted to welcome and launch this Health and Human Rights Journal series on climate change, COP21 and the right to health. The initiative is timely; on Monday October 19, 2015, climate negotiators will reconvene in Bonn, Germany, for the final five days of negotiations before the Conference of Parties (COP21) begins in Paris on November 30. This is an incredibly important year; 2015 could…

Ensuring Rights while Protecting Health: The Importance of Using a Human Rights Approach in Implementing Public Health Responses to COVID-19

Sophia A. Zweig,* Alexander J. Zapf,* Chris Beyrer, Debarati Guha-Sapir, and Rohini J. Haar Abstract In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, governments around the world have implemented public health policies that limit individual freedoms in order to control disease transmission. While such limitations on liberties are sometimes necessary for pandemic control, many of these policies have been overly broad or have neglected to consider the costs for populations already susceptible…

Who Deserves Health Care in a Global Pandemic?

Monica Gagnon, Rebecca Cheff, and Lisa Forman Abstract The COVID-19 pandemic provides an opportunity for reflection on universal health coverage. We look at the case of the province of Ontario, Canada, which expanded health care entitlement during the pandemic to people not normally eligible for coverage, regardless of their citizenship or immigration status. We use the concept of health-related deservingness to examine why certain groups of people are deemed undeserving…

A Global Review of Provisions on Emergency Care in National Constitutions

Taylor W. Burkholder, Madeline Ross, Lily Vartanyan, and Harveen Bergquist Abstract National constitutions are important tools for the realization of the right to health, and constitutional law linking health and human rights has been associated with improved access to health resources. Meanwhile, emergency care is a lifesaving service delivery platform with the potential to address much of the death and disability in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Yet even where…

First Responders with a Rights-Based Approach to Mental Health Crises

Tamar Ezer and Denise Tomasini-Joshi The United States, with its inadequate social safety net and lack of community-based mental health resources, has come to rely on the criminal legal system to respond to mental health needs. “The mental health system is largely broken across the country. We’ve tried to paper over it by funding law enforcement.”[1] This has transformed mental health into a law enforcement matter, with people with mental…

A Healthy Environment Becomes a Human Right 

News UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has called on states to take bold actions to give prompt and real effect to the right to a healthy environment, following a UN Human Rights Council’s landmark decision to recognise a clean, healthy, and sustainable environment as a human right. The Human Rights Council also increased its focus on the human rights impacts of climate change by establishing a Special…

Johnson & Johnson, Vaccine Apartheid, and Human Rights

A. Kayum Ahmed, Achal Prabhala, Julia Greenberg, Ames Dhai, and Usuf Chikte Johnson & Johnson’s (J&J) decision to export COVID-19 vaccines manufactured in South Africa and India to Europe, ahead of supplying both countries or their respective continents, contradicts the company’s publicly declared commitment to widening access to health care and to human rights. Given that less than 2% of Africans and about 15% of Indians are fully vaccinated, compared…

Applying Human Rights and Reducing Coercion in Psychiatry following Service User-Led Education: A Qualitative Study

Susanna Every-Palmer, Leah Kininmonth, Giles Newton-Howes, and Sarah Gordon Abstract Despite the imperatives to reduce coercive practices such as substitute decision-making, seclusion, and restraint, the psychiatric profession has struggled to realize these aspirations. Education delivered by people with lived experience of mental distress can help facilitate change. We introduced a service user-led academic program for psychiatry residents focused on promoting human rights and reducing coercive practices in mental health care.…

Charting the Rights of Community Health Workers in India: The Next Frontier of Universal Health Coverage

Janani Shanthosh, Andrea Durbach, and Rohina Joshi Abstract Community health workers (CHWs) have the capacity to bring essential health services to under-resourced communities. Globally, CHWs have made significant contributions to poverty alleviation, increased food security, and reductions in health inequalities. India’s one million accredited social health activists (ASHAs), the largest cohort of CHWs in the world, have been credited with increasing the rate of institutional deliveries and the uptake of…

Trans-institutionalisation in Ireland: New and Emerging Congregated Settings for People with Disabilities

Gautam Gulati, Alan Cusack, Brendan D. Kelly, Valerie E. Murphy, Shane Kilcommins, and Colum P. Dunne The use of congregated settings to accommodate people with disabilities in Ireland may be in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The report of the Health Service Executive (Ireland’s public health provider) working group on congregated settings in 2011 called for immediate action to provide community support…

Inequity is an Iniquity: Speaking Up for Aspiring African Researchers

Adelaide M. Lusambili and Constance S. Shumba   The careers of aspiring low- and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers follow a remarkably similar path. Many of these researchers-in-training are able and eager to understand the dynamics of health issues in their own societies. Many want to undertake research to find solutions to the chronic health problems and service deficits that beset their countries. And many possess great insight about the populations…