IFHHRO | Medical Human Rights Network promotes health-related human rights, including the right to health. Our focus is on the important role of health professionals.

We believe that there lies a huge potential in the health professions that could be mobilized for the promotion and protection of human rights.

Featured Topic

IFHHRO’s online Human Rights for Health Workers training manual: training sessions in four languages


Steps for Change

How to use human rights to address problems in your own healthcare institution


Voices in the Field

Experienced professionals in the field of health on the role of human rights in their careers



New issue of the Health and Human Rights Journal

The December issue of the Health and Human Rights Journal is now available online (full access). There are two special sections: 1) Roma and the Right to Health, and 2) HIV and Human Rights. You can either access the PDF of the full issue here or browse through the contents below.

Special Section on Romani People and the Right to Health

in collaboration with the FXB Center for Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, USA.

FOREWORD: Romani Global Diaspora: Implementation of the Right to Health
Rita Izsák-Ndiaye

EDITORIAL: The Critical Role of Research in Advancing Romani’s Right to Health
Jacqueline Bhabha, Margareta Matache, and Teresa Sorde Marti

Justice Delayed: The Right to Effective Remedy for Victims of Coercive Sterilization in the Czech Republic
Claude Cahn

Intersectional Discrimination of Romani Women Forcibly Sterilized in the Former Czechoslovakia and Czech Republic
Gwendolyn Albert and Marek Szilvasi

The Influence of Ethnicity and Displacement on Quality of Antenatal Care: The Case of Roma, Ashkali, and Balkan Egyptian Communities in Kosovo
Kristefer Stojanovski, Alaka Holla, Ilir Hoxha, Elizabeth Howell, and Teresa Janevic

Securing a Right to Health: “Integration Villages” and Medical Citizenship of Roma People in France
Daniel Manson

Inconvenient Human Rights: Water and Sanitation in Sweden’s Informal Roma Settlements
Martha F. Davis and Natasha Ryan

Doubling Syndemics: Ethnographic Accounts of the Health Situation of Homeless Romanian Roma in Copenhagen
Camilla Ida Ravnbøl

Dedicated Caravan Sites for French Gens du Voyage: Public Health Policy or Construction of Health and Environmental Inequalities?
Lise Foisneau

The Impact of Legal Advocacy Strategies to Advance Roma Health: The Case of Macedonia
Alphia Abdikeeva and Alina Covaci

Special Section on HIV and Human Rights

in collaboration with UNAIDS, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, Geneva, Switzerland

FOREWORD: Harnessing the Power and the Promise of Human Rights to End AIDS by 2030
Michel Sidibé

EDITORIAL: Learning from the Past: Confronting Legal, Social, and Structural Barriers to the HIV Response
Luisa Cabal and Patrick Eba

PERSPECTIVE Human Rights in the Fourth Decade of the HIV/AIDS Response: An Inspiring Legacy and Urgent Imperative
Jamie Enoch and Peter Piot

At the Nexus: How HIV-Related Immigration Policies Affect Foreign Nationals and Citizens in South Korea
Jessica M. Keralis

HIV, Sex Work, and Law Enforcement in China
Tingting Shen and Joanne Csete

PERSPECTIVE: Associations Between Police Harassment and HIV Vulnerabilities Among Men Who Have Sex with Men and Transgender Women in Jamaica
Carmen H. Logie, Ashley Lacombe-Duncan, Kathleen S. Kenny, Kandasi Levermore, Nicolette Jones, Annecka Marshall, and Peter A. Newman

In Women’s Eyes: Key Barriers to Women’s Access to HIV Treatment and a Rights-Based Approach to Their Sustained Well-Being
Luisa Orza, Emily Bass, Emma Bell, E. Tyler Crone, Nazneen Damji, Sophie Dilmitis, Liz Tremlett, Nasra Aidarus, Jacqui Stevenson, Souhaila Bensaid, Calorine Kenkem, Gracia Violeta Ross, Elena Kudravtseva, and Alice Welbourn

Neglected Population, Neglected Right: Children Living with HIV and the Right to Science
Michael I. Scanlon, Gillian MacNaughton, and Courtenay Sprague

Human Rights and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria: How Does a Large Funder of Basic Health Services Meet the Challenge of Rights-Based Programs?
Ralf Jürgens, Joanne Csete, Hyeyoung Lim, Susan Timberlake, and Matthew Smith

No More Broken Promises: Challenges and Opportunities for Key Populations in Demanding More Transparency, Accountability, and Participation in the Global Response Against the HIV and AIDS Epidemic
Tomás A. Chang Pico, Jillian Clare Kohler, Julia Hoffmann, and Lucy Mungala

A Reporting System to Protect the Human Rights of People Living with HIV and Key Populations
R. Taylor Williamson, Vivian Fiscian, Ryan Ubuntu Olson, Fred Nana Poku, and Joseph Whittal

As the HIV Epidemic Among Young Women Grows, Can We Look to the SDGs to Reverse the Trend?
Terry McGovern, Johanna Fine, Carolyn Crisp, and Emily Battistini

Where Public Health Meets Human Rights: Integrating Human Rights into the Validation of the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV and Syphilis
Eszter Kismödi, Karusa Kiragu, Olga Sawicki, Sally Smith, Sophie Brion, Aditi Sharma, Lilian Mworeko, and Alexandrina Iovita

General Papers

Medical Students’ Attitudes toward Torture, Revisited
Krista Dubin, Andrew R. Milewski, Joseph Shin, and Thomas P. Kalman

Global Survey of National Constitutions: Mapping Constitutional Commitments to Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
Lucia Berro Pizzarossa and Katrina Perehudoff

The Cholera Epidemic in Zimbabwe, 2008-2009; A Review and Critique of the Evidence
C. Nicholas Cuneo, Richard Sollom, and Chris Beyrer

Letters to the Editor

LETTER TO THE EDITOR The Rule of Law as a Social Determinant of Health
O. B. K. Dingake

LETTER TO THE EDITOR Refusal to Treat Patients Does Not Work in Any Country—Even If Misleadingly Labeled “Conscientious Objection”
Christian Fiala and Joyce H. Arthur

LETTER TO THE EDITOR RESPONSE Much to Debate about Conscientious Objection
Wendy Chavkin, Laurel Swerdlow, and Jocelyn Fifield


Universal Health Coverage as a means to promote the right to health

universal health coverage dayUniversal Health Coverage Day, commemorated each year on 12 December, is the anniversary of the first unanimous United Nations resolution calling for countries to provide affordable, quality health care to every person, everywhere. This resolution on Universal Health Care was passed in December 2012. Universal Health Coverage (UHC) is an important means to promote the human right to health.

UHC has been included in the Sustainable Development Goals adopted by the United Nations. It means everyone can access the quality health services they need without financial hardship.

All people, including the poorest and most vulnerable, should be able to access a full range of essential health services, including prevention, treatment, hospital care and pain control. The way this can be achieved is when costs are shared among the entire population, e.g., through an affordable health insurance scheme.

According to the WHO, more than 100 low- and middle-income countries  have taken steps to deliver UHC. These countries represent three quarters of the world’s population.

Source: News item website WHO


Medical ethics in times of conflict

Medical ethics has a key role in discussing the effects of conflicts and other violent human rights abuses, John Chisholm and Julian Sheather of the British Medical Association argue in a recent Comment in the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics

Recent history has seen a closer relationship and interdependency between medicine and the State. This has led, at times, to tension between professional obligations and State interests. Many would prefer medical ethics to step aside from sectarian politics and focus on the doctor-patient relationship and the objective and neutral medical sciences that underpin it. However, given the role that social inequities play in health outcomes, doctors have been obliged to speak out against such inequities or even against State practices which directly contribute to poor health. For those committed to the impartial practice of medicine, and to the promotion of human wellbeing, silence during times of conflict is seldom an option.

Where, for example, doctors are seeing patients who have sustained injuries as a result of state responses to civil unrest, the documentation and reporting of those injuries is a core part of the medical response. If doctors cannot speak out, if they cannot draw attention to the health-related impacts of conflicts, they risk the loss of professional independence. Paradoxically, it is the ability of doctors to speak out that best serves their neutrality. By contrast, any attempt to restrict the freedom of doctors to raise concerns threatens the principle of neutrality, risking the co-option of medical care into non-medical purposes. In our view vocal medical comment on the health impacts of conflict and of violence is a far better guarantee of the independence of the profession – and of the wellbeing of patients – than an imposed or self-imposed silence.”


Access the comment Medical ethics in times of conflict – why silence is not an option. John Chisholm & Julian Sheather, Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 7 November 2017