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



Argentina: Lawmakers propose bill to legalize abortion

Women’s reproductive rights are a global issue. Around the world, women in many countries have restricted access to sexual health services including abortion, which goes against a woman’s human right. Developed countries have been meeting the rights of women as a result of mass protest. Argentina and is lawmakers are following these countries to ensure women’s reproductive rights are met.

Argentinean lawmakers belonging to a bipartisan group proposed on 6 March 2018 that women should be able to exercise their “human right to health, by voluntarily interrupting their pregnancy” . The name of this bill is Voluntary Termination Pregnancy. It would give women the right to terminate their pregnancy within the first 14 weeks. The bill also includes that women can terminate their pregnancy if the pregnancy was a result of “violation” (rape), risk to the woman’s life (mental, physical and social) and if there are any foetal abnormalities (severe disability).

Maternal mortality

Written consent from the woman is needed before any termination is performed. For girls aged 13-16, the law states there must be a level of “aptitude and maturity” for consent to be provided. Girls under the age of 13 are required to have a parent or legal guardian present.

This law is much needed as there is a growing issue of illegal (“back street”) abortions in Argentina, where approximately 27% of maternal deaths are due to complications surrounding abortion. This should be considered a high priority issue, as Argentina is among the countries with a medium to high maternal mortality rate.

According to the Argentinean Minister of Health, “the criminalization of abortion that prevails in many countries prevents access to safe procedures, which creates risks to the life and health of the women.” Argentina should be able to provide such services to ensure women who want to have children can do so without any issues and allow those who want to terminate pregnancy to do so in excellent sanitary conditions. This will reduce the number of women dying as a result of being denied their wish to terminate a pregnancy which was unplanned or not wanted due to personal reasons.

Source: http://www.jurist.org/paperchase/2018/03/argentina-lawmakers-unveil-bipartisan-bill-to-legalize-elective-abortion.php



New Topics: Drug control, refugees, transgenders

Lately, we published three new articles in the Topics section on the right to health of several vulnerable population groups: refugees, transgenders, and drug users.

Written by our volunteers Tara Ornstein and Gauri Deoras respectively, these articles shed some light on how societal attitudes, including those of health professionals, lead to diminished access to necessary health services for people from these groups with special health needs.

Go to Topics | Drug control

Go to Topics | Refugees’ health

Go to Topics | Transgenders’ health



Call for abstracts international conference on law and non-communicable diseases

The European Scientific Network on Law and Tobacco (ESNLT), coordinated by our partner the Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre, is calling for abstracts for the international conference Law and Noncommunicable Diseases. Subtitled “The cross-cutting role of law in NCD control and regulating risk factors”, this event will take place on 31 May and 1 June 2018 in Groningen, The Netherlands.

This two-day conference aims to bring together leading scholars, young researchers and practitioners from all over the world to share insights on recent research and developments on the cross-cutting role of law in NCD prevention and regulating NCD-related risk factors.

There are four different tracks:

  • Track 1: Recent developments and tensions in NCD laws
  • Track 2: Scaling up: regulation of all risk factors and lessons learned from tobacco control
  • Track 3: Translational law and policy: the effectiveness of NCD interventions
  • Track 4: Slippery slope and the legitimacy and possible limits of NCD laws

Role of industries

One of the sessions is a workshop on the role of industries in the global increase of chronic diseases such as cancers, heart diseases and diabetes. This will take place on 1 June 2018, from 12.30-18.00h. During this roundtable we question what the appropriate level of engagement should be between the public and private sectors in relation to optimal health as well as how international law could help to achieve this appropriate level of engagement.

Registration for this workshop is free of charge. Please register by sending an email to esnlt@rug.nl with “Registration Workshop 5 (1 June)” as the subject.

Important dates and information

  • Abstract submission  by 7 April 2018
  • Abstract notification by 21 April 2018
  • Registration open by 1 March 2018
  • Limited travel grants are available for early career researchers working on law and tobacco control. NB: Please send a short CV including publications and short motivation letter to esnlt@rug.nl upon registration.
  • Depending on the number of abstracts, we might organize a PhD Seminar on Wednesday 30 May 2018.