Upcoming Issues

DSC_0813

All issues publish general papers in addition to Special Sections.
June 2018

Special Section on Neglected Tropical Diseases and Human Rights

Special Section on The Right to Health and Judicial Enforcement of Health Rights: Focus on Latin America

December 2018

Special Section: Deepening the Relationship between Human Rights and the Social Determinants of Health: A Focus on Indivisibility and Power

Neglected Tropical Diseases and Human Rights

June 2018

The diverse group of bacterial, viral, and parasitic diseases collectively identified as “neglected tropical diseases” (NTDs) are understood as both a cause and a consequence of poverty, causing physical and intellectual impairments, preventing children from attending school, and reducing economic productivity. NTDs can also be severely stigmatizing, isolating individuals from personal and social relationships, including, historically, with Hansen’s disease (leprosy), forcibly exiling individuals.

Recognition of the underinvestment in NTDs relative to their significant health, economic, and social impacts, has led to increased global attention and commitment to their control and elimination. In May 2013, the World Health Assembly adopted a resolution calling on Member States to intensify efforts to address NTDs with the goal of reaching previously established targets for the elimination or eradication of 11 NTDs. The resolution also called for the integration of NTD efforts into primary health services and universal access to preventive chemotherapy and treatment. NTDs were subsequently included in the Sustainable Development Goal #3 which called for an end of the “epidemics of AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and NTDs” by 2030.

The World Health Organization has described a rights-based approach to NTDs, emphasizing the human rights principles of participation, nondiscrimination, and accountability.[1] In addition, Paul Hunt, the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health from 2002 – 2008 addressed issues related to NTDs on country visits and in several reports to the Commission on Human Rights. Key issues raised by these reports included the importance of community participation; the obligations for governments, international organizations and the private sector (including pharmaceutical companies); and the need for transparency and accountability in NTD programs. Nonetheless, few NTD programs have adopted explicit human rights approaches and few human rights scholars have engaged with the issue of NTDs and human rights.

Publication Details

The special section will be edited by Joseph Amon, Vice President for NTDs at Helen Keller International, David Addiss, Senior Science and Strategy Advisor at the Task Force for Global Health, and Alvaro Bermejo, Executive Director for Survive and Thrive at Children’s Investment Fund Foundation.

Health and Human Rights Journal is a peer-reviewed, open access journal under the editorship of Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer. It is published twice yearly by Harvard University Press, with new issues released in June and December. There are no publication fees unless authors can use open access publication grants.

Paper Topics

Potential paper topics will focus specifically on NTDs and the right to health. Topics might include:

  • Specific case studies where rights-based approaches were used, including, for example, NTD program efforts to ensure community participation, or gender-based NTD efforts
  • Strengthening health systems to improve their capacity to respond to the human rights entitlements of people living with NTDs
  • Human rights based accountability mechanisms related to NTDs
  • Human rights informed advocacy efforts to expand NTD programs
  • Examination of NTD-related stigma and discrimination
  • Conducting NTD programs in conflict regions
  • Addressing disability associated with NTD morbidity

Papers will demonstrate strong methodological approaches, high writing quality, and robust rights-based analysis.

Submission are now closed

Questions about this special section can be directed to Joseph Amon at jamon@hki.org, David Addiss at daddiss@taskforce.org, Alvaro Bermejo at abermejo@ciff.org or Carmel Williams, Executive Editor, Health and Human Rights Journal at HHRsubmissions@hsph.harvard.edu

[1] http://www.who.int/gender-equity-rights/knowledge/ntd-information-sheet/en/

 

The Right to Health and Judicial Enforcement of Health Rights: Focus on Latin America

June 2018

Most Latin American countries have recognized the right to health in their domestic law (often in the constitution) or through international treaties (often both). Out of the current 21 countries that have ratified the new complaint mechanism of the UN Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) five are from Latin America (another four have already signed it). Latin America is also the region of the world with the highest levels of right-to-health litigation.

The definition of the content of the right to health has long been a source of contention, as has the role of courts in enforcing those contours. Depending on how it is defined, some argue it may come into conflict with other ideas in global health, such as efforts to achieve Universal Health Coverage, as well as equity in prioritizing health interventions due to the limited nature of health resources.

‘Judicialization’ of health rights in Latin America has provoked intense scholarship conflicting reactions from scholars in different fields over the past 10-15 years. Some have criticized it for at times, worsening the already pronounced health inequities in the region. Others have argued that it offers an important means of state accountability and can work in favor of the most disadvantaged when done appropriately.

This Special Section will examine the advances in research methodologies and understandings that have been developed in studying the impacts of judicialization over the last decade, as well as normative issues relating to the implications of a right to health for health systems, including priority-setting processes.

Publication Details

The special section will be edited by Octavio Ferraz, Reader in Transnational Law at King’s College London and Alicia Ely Yamin, Visiting Professor of Law, at Georgetown University, Adjunct Lecturer on Law and Global Health at the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, and Program Director of the Health and Human Rights Initiative at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

Health and Human Rights Journal is a peer-reviewed, open access journal under the editorship of Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer. It is published twice yearly by Harvard University Press, with new issues released in June and December. There are no publication fees unless authors can use open access publication grants.

Paper Topics

Potential paper topics of special interest will focus on some aspect of the following topics:

  • Research methodologies and assessments of impacts, including and beyond health outcomes
  • Interpretations of the right to health and the role of priority-setting in the pursuit of the full realization of health-related rights
  • Experiences with structuring judicial remedies for health rights.

Papers may consider case studies from the region and/or discuss theoretical frameworks and concepts, with particular emphasis on their relevance for issues faced in the region.

Submissions are now closed

Questions about this special section can be directed to Carmel Williams, Executive Editor, Health and Human Rights Journal at HHRsubmissions@hsph.harvard.edu

 

Deepening the Relationship between Human Rights and the Social Determinants of Health: A Focus on Indivisibility and Power

December 2018

Guest Editors: Lisa Forman, Kristi Heather Kenyon, and Claire E. Brolan

The link between human rights and the social determinants of health was made explicit in the seminal 2009 report of the WHO Commission on the Social Determinants of Health (CSDH) that defined the imperative to work in this field as a matter of social justice, the absence of which was “killing people on a grand scale.” This tantalizing link to human rights prompted the Health and Human Rights Journal special issue in 2010 exploring convergences and disjunctures between different approaches to the social determinants of health, particularly social medicine, social epidemiology, and human rights. Since that time, there have been global policy initiatives from the 2011 Rio Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health to the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to advance the social determinants of health globally and do so in discourse explicitly and implicitly rooted in human rights and the right to health.

Yet beyond rhetorical convergence, how far have we advanced in understanding the intersections between human rights and the social determinants of health, eight years since the CSDH and seven years since this first special issue? This special section of the Journal call for papers to deepen exploration of the relationship in theory and practice between human rights and the social determinants of health. This special section will build on ideas coming out of a rich discussion among leading scholars and practitioners in this field at an international conference held in May 2017 at the University of Toronto, opened by a special keynote address on health and human rights by Professor Amartya Sen, generously sponsored by the Lupina Foundation, the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Canada Research Chair Program. Drawing from Professor Sen’s capabilities approach which considers the societal conditions in which individuals can become active agents of change rather than ‘passive recipients of dispensed benefits,’ participants identified two key areas that are particularly in need of deeper scholarly and practitioner engagement, and which we are using to anchor this special issue:

  1. How can we advance understanding and implementation of the indivisibility of human rights in relation to the social determinants of health, theoretically and practically? And what does this mean for work on the social determinants of health?
  • How do we move beyond calling for access to health and related services, to working for policy on the social determinants of health to realize the fuller vision of dignity and equal worth underpinning human rights, with health understood not simply as the absence of disease but as physical, mental, emotional, social and cultural wellbeing? Could this full vision of human rights provide an alternative conceptualization of the social determinants of health: not simply of what we provide but how, through process-oriented, agency-based empowerment that broadens the scope of health interventions?
  • How does social science research on the social determinants of health in areas beyond social medicine and social epidemiology, such as intersectionality, anthropology, sociology, communications, and political science, help build the concept of the indivisibility of human rights into a richer operational concept in relation to the social determinants of health?
  • How can we build an evidence base to buttress the interdependence of human rights and the social determinants of health? How can we move beyond legal rhetoric to concrete evidence showing how systematic attention to rights can promote population health? Moreover, which disciplines and institutions get to decide what constitutes such evidence?
  1. How can we better respond to the social, political, economic, and cultural power imbalances that constitute some of structural determinants of health?
  • How can the human rights community better focus on the structural drivers of health, including neoliberal policies that impact realization of the right to health and systematically enacted power differentials around race, gender, sexuality, disability, and ethnicity.
  • How can human rights practitioners and health workers be more attentive to the way power consciously and unconsciously shapes both the definition and realization of human rights and the social determinants of health?
  • How does power influence the full vision of human rights as incorporating social, economic, civil, and cultural domains?

In sum, we invite papers that expand on the theoretical and evidence-based links between human rights and the social determinants of health, and that deepen our understanding of the constitutive role of power in the broader determination of health. We particularly encourage interdisciplinary contributions. Papers investigating other underexplored aspects of the relationship between human rights and the social determinants of health will also be considered for inclusion.

Submission Details

Papers must be submitted by 3 April 2018

Papers have a maximum word length of 7,000 words, including references.

Author guidelines are available on the website: http://www.hhrjournal.org/submissions/author-guidelines/.

Questions about this special section can be directed to Lisa Forman, at lisa.forman@utoronto.ca, or Carmel Williams, Executive Editor, Health and Human Rights Journal at HHRsubmissions@hsph.harvard.edu

Photo by Angela Duger