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…

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…

Health and Human Rights in the New American Administration

Benjamin Mason Meier, Lenore Hango, Victoria Matus, and Caitlin R. Williams The Trump Administration has long threatened public health—prioritizing ideology over evidence to eviscerate the institutions underlying health. With populist leadership dividing America, the Administration weakened democratic institutions and violated human rights. This populist neglect of health and human rights has extended globally through nationalism, with President Trump flouting international norms and weakening international organizations. These attacks on public health,…

COVID-19 and the Law: Framing Healthcare Worker Risks as Women’s Rights Violations

Kristin Bergtora Sandvik Today, public health is ‘delivered by women and led by men’, with a glaring absence of women and nurses at the decision making table.[1] Globally, though women only make up 25% of those in healthcare leadership they make up the majority of healthcare workers (70%) and nurses (90%).[2]  This exclusion skews the agendas on health so the gender dimensions of research, diagnosis, treatment, and care are rendered…

The Right to Healthy Environments and Space for Physical Exercise

Tolu Oni, Estelle V. Lambert, and Kent Buse The COVID-19 pandemic has precipitated a global humanitarian crisis, the nature of which has brought health and economic disparities sharply into focus and opened a wide-ranging human rights dialogue. This includes tensions between individual and collective rights to health (quarantine, movement restrictions, and shelter-in-place laws); the balance between the right to health and the right to education (with school closures) or to…