Viewpoints: Human Rights Challenges in the Field

Since we launched our Viewpoint feature in December 2019 to celebrate 25 years of Health and Human Rights, we have published 14 articles from leading health and human rights scholars. Each has reflected on the progress of our field since the launch of the Journal under the editorship of Jonathan Mann in 1994, and offered thoughts on today’s challenges, and those imminent. We encourage readers to share these with their…

How Can We Overcome the Great Procrastination to Respond to the Climate Emergency?

Rachel Hammonds The climate emergency is undermining human rights progress globally, presenting humanity with a complex problem that demands a transformative approach to our fundamental existence, including what we eat, how we live, and how we travel and commute. Five years ago the editorial in this Journal’s issue on Climate Justice and the Right to Health asked if our era will be viewed as the era of the “Great Procrastination”…

Celebrating 25 years: From Aspiration to Reality, An Australian Postscript

Claire E Brolan Congratulations to Health and Human Rights on its 25th anniversary from Queensland, Australia. In 2010 I read Jonathan Mann’s article, “Health and Human Rights: If Not Now, When?”, published in Health and Human Rights in 1997, and republished in the American Journal of Public Health in 2006.1 Therein, Mann identified that in the public health and human rights fields, “we are creating, participating in, and witnessing an…

A Democracy Deficit in Digital Health?

Sara L. M. Davis, Kenechukwu Esom, Rico Gustav, Allan Maleche, and Mike Podmore In 1994, when Health and Human Rights was launched by editor Jonathan Mann, it appeared-in print-in a very different world: one in which the internet had just been created, and could only be accessed through dial-up telephone lines paid for by the minute; cell phones were heavy, clunky, and unaffordable for most. Our thinking about health and…

Impunity: Undermining the Health and Human Rights Consensus

Chris Beyrer Impunity: exemption from punishment or freedom from the injurious consequences of an action. A noun. (Oxford English Dictionary, 2019). There has perhaps always been a greater burden of unpunished human rights violations than punished ones. The newest mechanism for accountability for rights abuses, the International Criminal Court, has to date successfully prosecuted only one charge of the most grievous abuse, genocide, that of the case of the Srebrenica…

Human Rights in Global Health Governance

Benjamin Mason Meier, Margherita Marianna Cinà, and Lawrence O. Gostin Institutions of global health governance are central to the advancement of health and human rights. Over the past 25 years, there has arisen an effort to formalize human rights implementation responsibilities across institutions of global governance, leading to a dramatic reframing in how international human rights law has been understood to influence the policies, programs, and practices of international organizations.…

What Does it Mean to Adopt a Human Rights-based Approach to Drug Policy?

Damon Barrett, Julie Hannah, and Rick Lines The 25th anniversary of Health and Human Rights comes at an interesting time in international drug policy. Not long ago, references to human rights could be, and were, easily vetoed from draft UN drug policy resolutions. At best, human rights were included in declaratory preambles of omnibus resolutions, and largely forgotten in any substantive sense. Drug policy NGOs, for the most part, did…

Human Rights Education Must Become Central to the Health Curriculum

Lawrence O. Gostin, Hanna Huffstetler, and Benjamin Mason Meier The health and human rights movement has united the world to realize health-related human rights. Yet, the current age of populist nationalism has challenged long-held assumptions about the overarching importance of human rights and the rights-based imperative of global solidarity. It is necessary to look to the next generation of leaders to sustain (and reinvigorate) the commitment to universal rights in…

Challenges in Promoting the Interdependence of all Human Rights

Dainius Pūras  I am taking the opportunity presented by this series of reflections on the right to health to comment on my experiences as the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, especially as I am now entering the final year of this mandate. Our understanding of the meaning of the right to health was greatly helped in the year 2000 by General Comment 14, and its resulting analytical…

A Letter to Young and Future Leaders in Struggles for Health Rights and Social Justice

Alicia Ely Yamin Dear Young and Future Leaders in Struggles for Health Rights and Social Justice: The world has changed tremendously in the almost 25 years since I had the privilege of studying under the late Dr. Jonathan Mann at what is now the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and to witness the birth of a movement for health and human rights. You may be inclined to dismiss…