Advancing the Right to Health in the AIDS Response: An Evolving Movement and an Uncertain Future

Benjamin Mason Meier, Rebekah Thomas, and Kent Buse The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) is focusing its 2017 World AIDS Day campaign on the right to health. This groundbreaking campaign, My Health, My Right, provides an opportunity to reflect on the advancements of the right to health in the AIDS response and the challenges for human rights in the years to come. Celebrated on December 1st each year,…

Patent Fighters: Taking on Big Pharma

Fran Quigley It was at a street protest for access to medicines when Priti Krishtel and Tahir Amin realized that they needed to go beyond street protests. Krishtel and Amin were both young lawyers who had walked away from lucrative law firm jobs, Krishtel in Los Angeles and Amin in London, to travel to India, seeking to make a difference in the lives of the sick and the poor. When…

Rural-Urban Migrants in China: Mental Health Challenges and Denial of Rights

Jason Hung Devised in 1950s, hukou is a residency registration system that controls internal rural-urban migration within China. Then in 1978 the Chinese Communist Party started a series of socioeconomic reforms, including the establishment of “special economic zones” in urban and coastal regions. Urbanization in coastal regions began to contribute to vast income disparity between urban and rural areas. For example, in 1983 rural incomes were 55% of urban incomes,…

WHO Focus on Human Rights: Will it Extend to Neglected Tropical Diseases?

Joseph J. Amon When Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was elected as WHO Director-General earlier this year, there was a sense among people working on Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) that there may be new attention, and resources, for efforts at eliminating NTDs. The diverse group of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases collectively identified as “neglected tropical diseases” are understood as both a cause and a consequence of poverty, causing physical and…

In the Name of Ujaama, Let Human Rights Activists Return to their Families

Allan Maleche A protest march is taking place in Johannesburg, South Africa, on Tuesday 24 October, calling for the release of human rights activists and lawyers who are being held in jail in Tanzania, unlawfully. Sibongile Ndashe and 12 other persons have become the latest victims of a crackdown on “homosexuality”, unleashed by and condoned by John Magufuli’s government in Tanzania. Their crime? Having convened and attended a consultation in…

What Price is the Philippines Human Rights Commission Budget Reprieve?

Red Thaddeus D. Miguel “I don’t care about human rights, believe me.” So said Philippine President Rodrigo R. Duterte (pictured left) whose “war on drugs” has not slowed down despite risks of weakening the government. According to the Philippine National Police, 3,850 Filipinos have been killed in these police operations in the 15 months to September 2017. This is on top of 1,398 confirmed drug related homicides recorded to March…

Ignoring Social Rights Results in Human Tragedies – Paul Hunt

Carmel Williams The first UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health has published a report on ‘social rights’ and the need to frame social issues in human rights language. Professor Paul Hunt says the cost of ignoring social rights is having tragic outcomes. Focusing on the United Kingdom, these outcomes include “vicious austerity programmes” targeting vulnerable groups, increased suicides and deaths associated with welfare reforms, increased mortality rates, and…

Neglected Tools: Access to Medicines for NTDs in Canada and the United States

Adam Houston and Catherine-Marie Blais The recent approval by the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) of benznidazole to treat Chagas disease in children highlights some of the frequently overlooked barriers to treating neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) outside their traditional settings. While long recognized as a serious issue in Latin America, it is only recently that Chagas has received much attention in the United States and Canada. In the United…

Chile Celebrates its First Steps Towards Fulfilling Abortion Rights

Lidia Casas and Lieta Vivaldi Despite its recognition for the democratic institutions that had been built before and since the Pinochet dictatorship, Chile was until Monday among a small and disgraced club of nations that treated women as less than full equals by criminalizing abortion under all circumstances. After historic legislation introduced by President Michelle Bachelet was approved, the Constitutional Tribunal approved the exceptions to the criminalization of abortion. As…

To Heal Humankind: The Right to Health in History

Book Review by Fran Quigley Although I have not met Adam Gaffney, I feel indebted to him. Through his new book, To Heal Humankind: The Right to Health in History (Routledge), Gaffney, a physician and instructor at Harvard Medical School and active member of Physicians for a National Health Program, has given me a big boost in my work as an activist and teacher. The book provided me with cautionary…