Health Workers on the Political Frontlines

Gideon Lasco, Raudah Mohd Yunus, Edward Christopher Dee, and Martin McKee Health workers have been on the clinical front lines of the struggle against COVID-19, enduring conditions they could never have anticipated. But many have also been engaged on the political front lines. In brief interludes between caring for sick and dying patients they have become advocates for health, demanding action on practical concerns, such as inadequate supplies of personal…

The Right to a Healthy Environment is a Powerful Sword for Climate Justice

PDF Timothy Arvan The recent COP26 climate summit in Glasgow took place amid intensifying scrutiny on global leaders for collective failures of ambition and resolve in mobilizing climate action. A pre-COP synthesis report by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Secretariat on the status of states’ nationally determined contributions (NDCs) under the Paris Agreement found that global emissions are on pace to increase 16% by 2030, a…

The Climate Emergency is a Human Rights Issue

PDF Vicente Silva Didier The enjoyment of the right to health across the world is under serious threat because of the adverse effects of climate change. Mounting evidence shows that climate change is leading to a global health catastrophe, hitting the hardest those who already suffer from poverty, discrimination, and structural disadvantages, exacerbating longstanding socioeconomic and gender inequalities.[1] Both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the World Health…

Human Rights, Public Health, and Disability Awareness Training of Police

Gautam Gulati, Brendan D. Kelly, Alan Cusack, Shane Kilcommins, and Colum P. Dunne There are over 10 million people in prisons worldwide and people with disabilities are grossly over-represented among them. The prevalence of intellectual disabilities, for example, amongst incarcerated populations ranges from 7-10% depending on jurisdiction.1 The United States, with just 4% of the planet’s population, houses a quarter of the world’s prisoners, of whom one third have at…

Contradictions Between Pledges, Declarations, and Action at COP26

PDF Stephen Gasteyer World leaders and diplomats who gathered in Glasgow made pledges (often commitments to make future commitments) that demonstrated incremental progress in mitigating climate change, while mollifying powerful economic and political interests.[1] The problem will be in the implementation of commitments—especially the commitments that will necessitate reigning in powerful actors, rather than simply implementing new technologies that emit less carbon.[2] By the end of the COP26 Summit in…

First Responders with a Rights-Based Approach to Mental Health Crises

Tamar Ezer and Denise Tomasini-Joshi The United States, with its inadequate social safety net and lack of community-based mental health resources, has come to rely on the criminal legal system to respond to mental health needs. “The mental health system is largely broken across the country. We’ve tried to paper over it by funding law enforcement.”[1] This has transformed mental health into a law enforcement matter, with people with mental…

Trans-institutionalisation in Ireland: New and Emerging Congregated Settings for People with Disabilities

Gautam Gulati, Alan Cusack, Brendan D. Kelly, Valerie E. Murphy, Shane Kilcommins, and Colum P. Dunne The use of congregated settings to accommodate people with disabilities in Ireland may be in breach of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). The report of the Health Service Executive (Ireland’s public health provider) working group on congregated settings in 2011 called for immediate action to provide community support…

Inequity is an Iniquity: Speaking Up for Aspiring African Researchers

Adelaide M. Lusambili and Constance S. Shumba   The careers of aspiring low- and middle-income country (LMIC) researchers follow a remarkably similar path. Many of these researchers-in-training are able and eager to understand the dynamics of health issues in their own societies. Many want to undertake research to find solutions to the chronic health problems and service deficits that beset their countries. And many possess great insight about the populations…

Kashmir: Public Health and Human Rights Crises

Nida S. Zubairi and Omar J. Baqal COVID-19 continues to take a heavy toll in Kashmir, with over 317,000 cases and 4,343 deaths reported by early July 2021 in a region of around 13 million people. But Kashmiris are concerned not just about COVID-19 and the Indian government’s human rights failings regarding the pandemic in the region; since early June 2021 a large number of paramilitary personnel have been deployed…

Five Years After Security Council’s Resolution to Protect Health Care in Conflict: Still at Zero?

Leonard Rubenstein As far back as the 1980s human rights organizations documented human rights and international humanitarian law violations against patients, health workers, and health facilities in war and political conflict. But global human rights accountability machinery, from UN review committees to domestic and international investigative mechanisms, mostly ignored the abuses until momentum for protection and accountability began to build in the second decade of this century. As a result…