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…

Fault Lines of Refugee Exclusion: Statelessness, Gender, and COVID-19 in South Asia

Roshni Chakraborty and Jacqueline Bhabha Abstract Despite widespread recognition of the right to a nationality, statelessness and its attendant vulnerabilities continue to characterize the lives of millions in South Asia. During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, when states turned inward to protect their own citizens, refugees and de facto stateless persons found themselves excluded from humanitarian services and health care and were denied the ability to claim rights. Stateless…

Advancing Women’s and Children’s Health: The Value of the Framework Convention on Global Health

Arachu Castro, Eric A. Friedman, Luiz Galvao, Martin Hevia, and Helia Molina Historically, women in most parts of the world have been subject to deep discrimination which also harms children’s health in multiple ways. In this blog we argue that the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), a proposed global treaty with human rights and equity as overriding goals and principles, could help address these harms. The FCGH is especially…

Constitutional Rights in South Africa Protect Against Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination

Tanya Calitz Finally, after a long year with the ever-present threat of the COVID-19 virus, there is a glimpse of light at the end of a very dark tunnel, presenting itself as a vaccine. The COVID-19 vaccine roll-out plan is well underway in South Africa, albeit with some fits and starts, but most healthcare workers have now received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The question that arises is whether receiving the…

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…