Sex Segregation in Sport: A Denial of Rights and Opportunities for Health

Caroline Voyles In April 2019, Caster Semenya, the two-time Olympic champion sprinter from South Africa, lost her appeal with the Court for Arbitration for Sport. The court ruled, with judges voting 2-1, in favor of a cap on testosterone levels for women in elite athletics competition, forcing Semenya to take drugs to artificially lower her testosterone to compete in certain women’s events.1 A number of writers and organizations responding to…

Relationships are Human Rights Determinants in Mental Health

Julie Hannah and Tasneem Sadiq  We are who we are because of other people – Ubuntu saying Relationships matter.  Relationships—the vital connections between individuals, families, communities, and with the natural environment, throughout the course of our lives—are a foundational precondition for our health and well-being.  Access to a psycho-social and social environment that fosters respectful relationships is a human right, as outlined by the UN Special Rapporteur on the right…

Kenyan High Court Threatens the HIV Response

Allan Maleche and Tabitha G. Saoyo The Kenyan High Court has unanimously dismissed a petition challenging two provisions of the Penal Code that are applied to criminalise consensual same-sex sexual acts. On 24 May, Justices Chacha Mwita, John Mativo and Roselyne Aburili held that sections 162 and 165 of the Penal Code are not unconstitutional, do not violate the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Kenyans, and…

Reach the Last Mile First: High-Level Panel on Universal Health Coverage

Meg Davis and David Ruiz Villafranca In exploring what can be learned from the experience of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria in the shift towards Universal Health Coverage (UHC), speakers on a recent high-level panel in Geneva pointed to three key lessons: the importance of embracing health as a human right; the role of the Global Fund’s investments in building stronger health and community systems and…

Stigma and Discrimination Linked to Increasing HIV in Hong Kong

Jason Hung Over the past decade, HIV rates have increased exponentially in Hong Kong. The number of individuals diagnosed has doubled every year between 2006 and 2017, although the rapid increase in HIV diagnosis may be ascribed to the increasing number of individuals seeking HIV testing in Hong Kong. Specifically, the uptake of voluntary counselling and HIV testing (VCT) services among MSM has increased from 43.4% in 2006 to 66.1%…

Drug Price Transparency: Calls Move from South Africa to WHA

Katrina Perehudoff and Jennifer Sellin Over 30 states and 40 business and civil society groups debated strategies for affordable and sustainable medicines prices at last month’s second WHO Fair Pricing Forum—co-sponsored by the government of South Africa. In our last blog post, we asked whether this Forum would achieve a shared commitment and promote (regulatory) actions that dissuade the pharmaceutical industry from seeking excessively high medicine prices. Did the second…

Donors Risk Human Rights Violations When Leaving Middle-Income Countries

Sara L.M. Davis Do health aid donors transitioning out of middle-income countries have any obligations under human rights law? In February, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UNAIDS held a consultation on human rights in the HIV response. I worked with the Free Space Process and PITCH (Partnership to Inspire, Transform and Connect the HIV Response), which together represent dozens of national and regional key…

Contribute to UN Health Rights Report on Role of Medical Education in Strengthening Health Workforce

In his next thematic report to the UN General Assembly, Dainius Puras, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, examines the role medical education in strengthening the health workforce. He is seeking input to the report by 20 May 2019. Acknowledging the global effort being made to address the health workforce crisis, and the considerable volume of literature on this topic, the Special Rapporteur’s report will emphasize broader, systemic,…

Contemporary Transformations Seen in the Use of Human Rights

Tine Destrooper and Sally E. Merry Human rights are increasingly described as in crisis. The rising populist tide that puts nation, religion, and race first poses new kinds of threats to human rights. But are human rights, underpinning the universal order of justice, really on the verge of disappearing? It is certainly the case that many human rights institutions have become more bureaucratic and stodgy and that human rights organizations…

WHO Fair Pricing Forum: Watching for Drug Industry Accountability

Katrina Perehudoff and Jennifer Sellin Expensive medicines are a ubiquitous challenge from which no government is immune. Excessive price hikes are an urgent human rights issue with serious ramifications for public health. One such example is that of Truvada (emtricitabine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate), a breakthrough medicine that can be taken once a day to lower the risk of HIV infection (called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP). In the United States, Truvada costs…