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…

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…

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…

World AIDS Day 2020: Further Shifting the Paradigm to Transform the HIV Response

Courtenay Sprague The “HIV/AIDS pandemic has marked all of our lives, and I suspect we share a sense that it has led us and the world forward in some way,” wrote the late Dr Jonathan Mann, health and human rights luminary, field-builder, and founder of the Health and Human Rights Journal.[1] In 1996, he posed the question, “What are the transformative possibilities of the AIDS pandemic?”[2] Every year December 1…

Housing Evictions, Human Rights, and the Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Patrick Leisure The COVID-19 pandemic has starkly highlighted the magnitude of the eviction crisis facing many tenants in the United States.[1] Troublingly, recent research shows the eviction crisis largely falls along racial lines. One study illustrated that “people of color, particularly black and latinx people, constitute approximately 80% of people facing eviction.”[2] Another revealed that, controlling for education, Black households are more than twice as likely to be evicted than…

Ameliorating COVID-19’s Disproportionate Impact on Black and Hispanic Communities: Proposed Policy Initiatives for the United States

Volume 22/2, December 2020, pp 329 – 332 PDF Audrey Chapman The COVID-19 epidemic has shone a bright light on structural racism in US society and on the inadequacies of a health care system that has significantly disadvantaged racial and ethnic minorities while giving preference to white Americans.[1] Research and disease surveillance have documented the disproportionate impact of the virus on the Black and Hispanic communities. Confirmed COVID-19 cases and…

COVID-19 in Turkmenistan: No Data, No Health Rights

Volume 22/2, December 2020, pp 325 – 328 PDF Aynabat Yaylymova Turkmenistan, with a population of about 6 million, has, as of October 1, 2020, reported no SARS-CoV-2 infections, nor any COVID-19 related deaths.[1] There are no daily updates and barely any testing. However, there are reports of more deaths from acute respiratory illnesses than normal, and the autocratic government, known for endemic corruption, puts these down to dust and…

COVID-19: Urgent Need to Find Alternatives to Prison Sentences in Malawi

Marie Claire Van Hout In May 2020, the World Health Organization joined with other UN agencies in a call for governments to recognise the heightened vulnerability of prisoners to COVID-19 and to act urgently to reduce the risks.[1] Human rights organisations submitted letters to the Southern Africa Development Community and its Member States highlighting the severe deficits in the prison system during COVID-19, and they drew special attention to pregnant…