Respectful Care for Women and Newborns in Crisis Settings: A Human Right

By Caroline Kinsella Maternal and newborn deaths must not be accepted as inevitable consequences of an armed conflict, natural disaster, or disease outbreak. This World Refugee Day, it is crucial that we listen to the displaced women and girls around the world demanding respectful and quality care in humanitarian settings. UNFPA anticipates that In the next three months more than 500 babies will be born to refugee mothers from Ethiopia’s…

Reshaping Global Health Law in the Wake of COVID-19 to Uphold Human Rights

Roojin Habibi, Tim Fish Hodgson, Benjamin Mason Meier, Ian Seiderman, and Steven Hoffman The COVID-19 pandemic unequivocally reveals that human rights, the rule of law, democratic institutions and global solidarity are essential to effective public health emergency preparedness and response. Reiterated throughout discussions in the World Health Assembly (WHA) between 24 and 31 May 2021, there is now clear global consensus on the need to strengthen international legal standards to…

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…

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…

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…

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,…