News

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...
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Universal 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...
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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...
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In parts of Africa and Asia, patients who cannot pay their medical bills are detained and abused by healthcare staff, a new research paper from Chatham House in the UK states. The report lists evidence of "medical detention" of patients, particularly women and babies, in countries  like Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana,  Zimbabwe,...
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Today, December 10th, is International Human Rights Day. On this day, the World Health Organization raises awareness to the issue of discrimination in healthcare settings as an important threat to the right to health:  "The right to health means ending discrimination in all healthcare settings." Discrimination in health care takes many forms. Examples...
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After months of preparation and work, we are happy to inform you about some important changes in the way we work. From a federation of health and human rights organizations, we have changed into a web-based network of individuals and organizations concerned in health and human rights. The new name...
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This year’s World AIDS Day campaign focuses on the right to health. In the lead-up to this day, 1 December, the #myrighttohealth campaign has explored the challenges people around the world face in exercising their right to health. The campaign provides information about the right to health and what impact it has...
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On November 21, a high-level panel at a meeting convened in Geneva will discuss a new WHO report entitled "Women on the Move: Migration, care work and health". Available data shows that a substantial and growing proportion of care work is being undertaken by migrants, the majority of whom are...
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Adolescents face a myriad of threats to their right to health including violence, sexual assault, exploitation, trafficking, and harmful traditional practices. At the same time, they face multiple barriers to health services, including restrictive laws, unavailability of contraception or safe abortions; failure to ensure privacy and confidentiality; judgemental service provision,...
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Iranian-born Swedish resident Dr Ahmadreza Djalali, a medical doctor and lecturer in disaster medicine, has been detained in Tehran’s Evin prison since his arrest on 25 April 2016. While in solitary confinement, he was subjected to intense interrogations, and forced under great emotional and psychological pressure to sign statements. He...
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Health is a human right and healthcare workers are human rights defenders, the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kate Gilmore, said in an interview. Governments should provide healthcare for their citizens and protect professionals who deliver these services.“We see health not only as the absence of disease and not...
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Doctors, medical professionals, and national medical associations should heed the World Medical Association's October 2017 resolution to end forced anal examinations on people accused of homosexual conduct, Human Rights Watch states. The General Assembly of the World Medical Association (WMA) condemned the use of forced anal examinations to seek evidence...
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The World Health Organization recently published the tool Monitoring human rights in contraceptive services and programmes. This tool is intended for use by countries to assist them in strengthening their human rights efforts in contraceptive programming. It uses existing commonly-used indicators to highlight areas where human rights have been promoted, neglected or violated...
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Last week, thousands of NHS (National Health System) workers and activists marched in the cities of London, Newcastle and Manchester to protest against a health policy that has left migrants too scared to access care.  The government’s so-called ‘hostile environment’ policy has been described as discriminatory and inhumane.  This policy, which was...
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The government of Ghana should ensure adequate funding for mental health services in the country, a coalition of Ghanaian and international nongovernmental groups said. This is as a crucial step to eliminating the widespread practice of shackling and other abuses against people with psychosocial disabilities. The coalition includes several mental health and human...
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Last week, WHO issued a statement on a series of recent attacks against health care in Syria. As the result of these attacks on health facilities and personnel in Idlib and Hama provinces on September 19th, several health workers were killed or injured. On that day, several ambulances and hospitals in...
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Last week, on 17 July, the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines took place at the UN headquarters in New York. Sub-titled "Advancing Health-Related SDGs through Policy Coherence", the panel came together during the UN High Political Forum on Sustainable Development. William New of the news service Intellectual Property...
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The United Nations have issued a joint statement this week on the elimination of discrimination in health care settings. Discrimination in hospitals and other health facilities is widespread across the world and takes many forms. It violates the most fundamental human rights protected in international treaties and in national laws and...
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In the report Neither Justice nor Treatment, Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) states that drug courts in the United States struggle to meet medical and human rights standards. According to the researchers, drug courts – designed to reduce incarceration and provide necessary treatment – routinely fail to provide adequate, medically-sound...
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The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has revealed that the right to health care in Malaysian prisons is still lacking. Recently, Suhakam conducted a nationwide survey on the right to health in prison, in which over 6,400 randomly selected individuals (5,482 prisoners, 886 prison staff, and 52 prison medical...
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The new website Medicines Law & Policy, launched recently by leading specialists on access to medicines and intellectual property law, provides policy and legal analysis, best practice models and other information that can be used by governments, non-governmental organisations, product development initiatives, funding agencies, UN agencies and others working to ensure...
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On April 24th, the Turkish medical doctor Serdar Küni was sentenced by a local court to over 4 years of imprisonment. In response, a coalition of organizations led by Physicians for Human Rights, sent a letter to the Regional High Court in Gaziantep (Turkey) and the Turkish Ministry of Justice....
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Voices in the Field project

April 28, 2017

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Two board members of IFHHRO, i.e., secretary of the board Adriaan van Es and chair Robert Simons, were recently interviewed for the interview project Voices in the Field.
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Over 4,000 community health workers in the Indian State of Bihar will be trained in human rights by the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS). This course was an initiative of the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Amnesty International India. The three-month 'Self-Learning Human Rights Certificate Course' aims to...
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Turkey: Medical doctor on trial

March 21, 2017

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The third hearing in the trial of Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı (the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey - HRFT) and two journalists on charges of aiding terrorism was held on March 21, 2017 at the 13th Çağlayan Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul. Along with Dr. Fincancı, the journalists Erol Önderoğlu (Reporters...
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The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, a coalition of more than 200 organizations based in the United States, strongly condemns the new health-care bill proposed by President Trump and his Republican Party, which will replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (also known as Obamacare). The president and...
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Voices in the Field is a new multimedia interview series that shares the stories of experienced professionals in the field of health and highlights the role of human rights in their careers. Voices in the Field, a project of Global Health Law Groningen (The Netherlands) and IFHHRO, aims to capture the accounts...
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In a recent report published by the World Health Organization, the autors highlight the vital role of law reform in advancing the right to health. What are the most effective tools for doing this? This report illustrates how countries have enacted and implemented a wide range of laws and regulations with a...
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Health leaders of 40 countries adopted the "Colombo Statement" in order to address health challenges posed by increasingly mobile populations. The statement was adopted on February 23th, the closing day of the 2nd Global Consultation on Migrant Health, which was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
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IFHHRO is deeply concerned about our colleague Dr Ahmadreza Djalali (45), a resident of Sweden who has been detained in Iran since 25 April 2016. He has been on hunger strike since 26 December 2016 in protest against his detention. This week, Amnesty International initiated an urgent action on his...
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According to Human Rights Watch, asylum seekers with disabilities are not properly identified and do not enjoy equal access to services in reception centres in Greece. The Greek government is operating several reception centres and refugee camps on the Aegean islands and the mainland. Asylum seekers and other migrants with disabilities have particular difficulties...
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The Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) has released a new report on the health situation in Syria. Titled The Failure of UN Security Council Resolution 2286 in Preventing Attacks on Healthcare in Syria, this report documents 172 attacks on medical facilities and personnel from June through December 2016, using first-hand...
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Last week, a few days before Universal Health Coverage Day (12 December), the Health and Human Rights Journal published a special section on Universal Health Coverage (UHC) and Human Rights. In the editorial, guest editor Audrey Chapman explains why UHC can be termed "a practical expression of the right to...
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On the Open Society Foundations website an explanatory article was published recently on the link between drug policies and access to medicines. The organization argues that drug control policies lean too heavily towards limiting access to medicines for which patients have a legitimate and urgent need. Especially access to opioid medicines, such as...
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Medical Doctors in Australia have forced the federal government to back down on controversial laws banning health practitioners from publicly revealing abuse and medical negligence in Australia’s offshore detention centres for refugees. Just days before the federal government was due to respond to a High Court challenge from the local...
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Right to health of refugees

October 12, 2016

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A focal point at this year's World Health Summit, which ended on October 11th, was refugee mental health. This issue is arguably more important now than ever in light of the ongoing refugee crisis, whereby individuals suffering psychological consequences as a result of living in a war-torn region are not receiving...
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Earlier this year, the book Global Health, Human Rights and the Challenge of Neoliberal Policies was published by Cambridge University Press. This book, written by Audrey Chapman, has now been reviewed by the Health and Human Rights Journal. In this book, Chapman presents an in-depth examination of the conflicts between neoliberalism, the dominant...
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The right to health and indigenous peoples with a focus on children and youth - Study of the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous PeoplesIn its resolution 30/4, the Human Rights Council requested the Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples to prepare a study on the right...
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Recently, the report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Access To Medicines was published. Entitled 'Promoting innovation & access to health technologies', this report focuses on the discrepancies between international trade agreements such as the patent system, and international human rights law, which includes the right to health. In an...
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Armed men linked to Mozambique’s main opposition party, the Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO), have raided at least two hospitals and two health clinics over the past month. The attacks on the medical facilities, which involved looting medicine and supplies and destroying medical equipment, threaten access to health care for tens...
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Recently, the Centre for Health Policy at the University of Strathclyde (Scotland, UK) published the report of a participatory action research on the right to health. Titled "What do you mean, I have a right to health?", the report focuses on two main groups of marginalized people in Scotland, namely homeless people...
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Recently, Indian police and paramilitary personnel barged into a hospital in northern Kashmir and allegedly threatened the volunteer groups serving the wounded and their attendants there. The incident took place in Sopore Sub-District Hospital on the night of August 8th 2016.
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Earlier this month, the Government of India suspended the FCRA registration of the internationally well-known Lawyers Collective for 6 months, for alleged violations of FCRA (Foreign Contribution Regulation Act) norms. Senior lawyers Indira Jaising (former member of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women), and Anand Grover (former Special Rapporteur on...
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IFHHRO has signed a letter drafted by our member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) calling for the immediate, unconditional release of Şebnem Korur Fincancı, chair of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey and a forensic expert. Recently, Mrs. Fincancı was detained by the Turkish authorities, along with author Ahmet Nesin and Erol...
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Ireland’s abortion laws subjected a woman to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, according to a landmark decision from the United Nations Human Rights Committee. This ground-breaking ruling marks the first time that, in response to an individual complaint, an international human rights court or committee has recognized that by criminalizing abortion a...
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In November 2015, the UN Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, convened a High-Level Panel on Access to Medicines, which goal would be to "review and assess proposals and recommend solutions for remedying the policy incoherence between the justifiable rights of inventors, international human rights law, trade rules and public health in the...
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Attacks on civilians

June 14, 2016

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Column: Civilians have once again become a military targetCarolien Roelants During a recent meeting, organised by Dutch lobby organisation CIDI (Centre for Information & Documentation Israel), I heard the American lawyer Alan Dershowitz advocate revising the Geneva Conventions regarding the protection of civilians during wartime. Basically his point is that civilians...
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New research from Human Rights Watch shows that drinking water supplies in rural areas are widely contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic, affecting some 20 million people. An estimated 43,000 Bangladeshis die each year from arsenic-induced illnesses like cancer, cardiovascular disease and lung disease.
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In a blog on the Human Rights Watch website, Diederik Lohman of the Health and Human Rights Division expresses his disappointment with the outcomes of the United Nations summit on drugs. He wrote: "While there are signs many countries are stepping back from the destructive 'war on drugs' approach to drugs, it’s hard not...
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The longstanding provider-patient confidentiality relationship is quietly eroding as an alarming number of medical staff across Latin America are reporting women and girls to the police for having abortions. Many countries now require, protect or encourage medical providers to breach their confidentiality duties when they treat women seeking post-abortion care. This...
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At the occasion of the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on drugs, which took place earlier this week, UNAIDS published the report Do no harm – Health, human rights and people who use drugs. The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS is one of several UN bodies that call for...
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Police and other law inforcement agencies throughout the world are increasingly responding to popular protests with so-called crowd-control weapons, which include tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons. These weapons are regularly used to disperse protesters, which has resulted in injuries, disability, and death. The report Lethal in Disguise published by Physicians for Human Rights and the...
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Human Rights Watch recently published a report on the inhuman and unlawful manners in which people with mental health conditions are treated in Indonesia, in institutions, faith-based healing centres and at home. Despite a 1977 ban on shackling - known as pasung - in Indonesia, the practice continues. More than 18,000 people with perceived psychosocial...
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On February 15, a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-supported hospital in Idlib Province in northern Syria was destroyed in an attack. Some 25 people were killed - 9 of them staff members - and 11 wounded, among whom 10 staff members. According to surviving staff, the hospital in Ma’arat Al Numan was hit by...
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IFHHRO has endorsed a statement by the World Psychiatric Association (WPA) concerning the role of care takers (including health-care professionals) in reporting on the condition of refugees in detention centres. According to this statement, medical professionals are compelled by ethical standards and by international humanitarian laws "to take all necessary steps...
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On 21 and 22 February, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and McGill University are organizing an Expert Seminar on the Right to Health and Indigenous Peoples, which will take place in Montreal, Canada. The objective of the Expert Seminar is to inform the Expert Mechanism on the...
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On 21 and 22 February, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and McGill University are organizing an Expert Seminar on the Right to Health and Indigenous Peoples, which will take place in Montreal, Canada. The objective of the Expert Seminar is to inform the Expert Mechanism on the...
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Human Rights Watch recently published an online Q&A (Questions and Answers) list on the human rights implications of TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership). The TPP is an economic and trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim countries.
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Blogs on global health law

December 15, 2015

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The Global Health Law Research Centre of the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, has been running a blog on the links between health issues and the law. The latest blog was added by Marlies Hesselman of the University of Groningen. On the occassion of the United Nations Conference on Climate...
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Since the beginning of the conflict in Syria, Physicians for Human Rights has documented the deaths of almost 700 medical personnel and over 300 attacks on medical facilities. In a new case study published by the organization, the city of Aleppo was singled out to illustrate what a dedicated and resilient...
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The Health and Human Rights Journal is currently running a series of blogs on the United Nations Conference on Climate Change and the right to health. The series was introduced by Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on Climate Change.
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On October 29, 2015, IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights and the Syrian American Medical Society are organizing a vigil or "die-in" in New York to call attention to the crimes affecting health care and medics in Syria. So far, more than 670 medical professionals have been killed in the Syrian crisis; over 95% of...
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Doctors at the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne, Australia, have refused to discharge a female asylum seeker and her child because the immigration department would have sent them back to detention at the expense of their health. The woman was suffering post-traumatic stress disorder and post-natal depression, which also affected her infant child's development. 
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The right to health is closely interlinked with the right to food. In 2002, the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food defined this latter right as follows: "the right to food is the right to have regular, permanent and unrestricted access, either directly or by means of financial purchases, to quantitatively...
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Last week, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights held a hearing on the wrongful imprisonment of Salvadoran women who miscarry. At the hearing, reproductive rights advocates testified in Washington, USA, about the human rights violations women in El Salvador suffer due to the country's severe abortion ban. This law has...
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The Health and Human Rights Journal has posted a summary of the SDG series blogs that appeared in September on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the right to health. The blogs consistently lament the lack of cohesion and lack of rights-based approaches in the goals and targets of the 2030...
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In February 2015, a Regional Dialogue on LGBTI Rights and Health in Asia-Pacific was held in Bangkok, Thailand. It brought together more than 200 representatives of governments, development partners, national human rights institutions, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people and other civil society members. The report, which is...
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The international association DAFOH (Doctors Against Forced Organ Harvesting) is fighting unethical and illegal organ harvesting. Forced organ harvesting, the removal of organs from a donor without obtaining prior free and voluntary consent, is not only a gross violation of medical ethics but also a violation of the rights to life, health and...
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The Millennium Development Goals expire at the end of 2015 and global negotiations are underway to finalise the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals. An article in BMC International Health and Human Rights examines why it appears the right to health, so far, is not gaining direct expression in the post-2015 discussions.
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The report Move or die. Migratory Routes from Sub-Saharan Countries to Europe summarises the information and testimonies collected by IFHHRO member Medici per i Diritti Umani (Doctors for Human Rights - MEDU) during the first six months of activities of the project 'ON TO: Stopping the torture of refugees from Sub-Saharan countries along the migratory route...
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Around the world, human rights violations compromise public health. Sexual violence, unlawful discrimination, land dispossession, police harassment, forced medical interventions, and denial of essential services threaten health and wellbeing. This is especially true for people who are socially marginalized and disempowered. Programmes that improve these communities’ access to justice can play...
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From July 2015, under the new Australian Border Force Act 2015, contracted workers including doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals face a prison sentence of up to two years for blowing the whistle on substandard medical care given to asylum seekers in detention centres. Since several years, Australia has been transferring asylum...
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The Health inequality monitoring eLearning module released by the World Health Organization is an overview of health inequality monitoring, aiming to build theoretical and technical capacity for health inequality monitoring across diverse settings and health topics. 
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Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, our member Physicians for Human Rights - USA (PHR) has documented attacks on medical personnel and facilities in Syria. In a new report, the organisation states that at least 610 medical personnel have been killed in the past four years and that...
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This week, a new e-book appeared called "Doctors who Torture: The Pursuit of Justice". In this book, author Steven Miles, Professor of Medicine and Bioethics of the University of Minnesota, describes the history of "torture doctors" after World War II.
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In support of our longtime collaborator Human Rights Foundation of Turkey (HRFT), IFHHRO recently sent a letter to the President, the Prime Minister and several Ministers of the Republic of Turkey calling for an immediate end to oppression against HRFT. HRFT was sentenced to pay a high administrative fine for...
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On the occasion of World Leprosy Day, 25 January, the International Federation of Anti-Leprosy Associations (ILEP) has raised awareness on the continuous existence of discrimination against people affected by leprosy. According to the organisation, worldwide discrimination still exists, despite the adoption in 2010 of a resolution against it by the UN General Assembly. 
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On Monday, January 26th, the Global Health Law Groningen (GHLG) initiative was launched at a meeting in the city of Groningen in the Netherlands. GHLG is aimed at researching international or 'global' health law as an emerging field of public international law. 
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With the publication of the 4th Global Health Watch report (GHW4), the People's Health Movement also issued some articles about topics covered in the report. One of these is the following article introducing the section on the health workforce crisis.
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In a blog for Open Global Rights, Alicia Ely Yamin argues that the Ebola crisis shows the necessity of a human rights approach to public health. Ms Yamin is Lecturer on Global Health, and Policy Director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University.
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IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) issued a statement last week about the Ebola outbreak in Western Africa. They said that an urgent response to the Ebola outbreak is not just an option, but a legal obligation, and outlined immediate actions states must take, including assuring safe conditions for...
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In May 2014, IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) released the most comprehensive map to date tracking attacks on medical personnel and facilities in Syria over the past three years. PHR's interactive map indicates that government forces have overwhelmingly been responsible for these war crimes.
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Between January 2012 and December 2013, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) studied the effects of violence on health care during armed conflict and other emergencies in 23 countries. Information was collected, through various sources, on 1809 violent incidents that involved the use or threat of violence against health-care personnel, the...
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The guide The Difference it Makes: Putting Human Rights at the Heart of Health and Care aims to take human rights out of the law books and into the world of health-care. This resource published by the British Institute of Human Rights explains the links between human rights, health and...
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One year ago, in March 2013, the Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez presented his thematic report on abusive practices in health-care settings to the Human Rights Council. A new publication released by the Center of Human Rights & Humanitarian Law (Washington College of Law, American University, March 2014) compiles...
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With great concern IFHHRO received the news dat Mr Museveni, the President of Uganda, signed a bill against homosexuality. We also learned that Ugandan medical doctors were involved in a commission that advised in favour of this bill, arguing that homosexuality is learned behaviour and a danger to public health. 
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Access to water and sanitation is intrinsically linked to the right to health: without clean drinking water and hygienic human waste disposal, people are more likely to suffer from infectious diseases. Especially baby's and young children are vulnerable to water-borne diseases. An e-discussion is currently taking place to assist the...
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Over the past few weeks, the violence in Ukraine has increased and many people have been killed or wounded during the fights in the centre of Kiev. So far, IFHHRO has received several reports and communications regarding the deplorable situation in the country.
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In the beginning of January 2014, the parliament of Turkey passed a bill that criminalizes doctors and other health workers who provide first aid in emergency situations without state authorisation.
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The United Nations General Assembly and Human Rights Council should act on the recent report by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health about attacks against health workers and services, the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition states. The report was presented to the General Assembly on October 24, 2013. It describes a...
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In August 2013, a number of notices appeared in hospitals in Gauteng Province, South Africa.  Apparently sent by the Gauteng Department of Health, they urge hospital staff to demand full, up-front payment from patients without permits or refugee documents, or who are asylum seekers. A clear example of a dual...
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According to the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition, a group of human rights, health professionals and other nongovernmental groups, the UN Human Rights Council should strengthen documentation and accountability for the growing number of attacks on health workers.
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The Global Health and Human Rights Database is a free online database of law from around the world relating to health and human rights. This database offers an interactive, searchable, and fully indexed website of case law, national constitutions and international instruments.
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The WHO Department of Reproductive Health and Research has released the report 'Global and regional estimates of violence against women. Prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence'. New WHO estimates have found that physical or sexual violence affects more than one third of all women...
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The Greek government should repeal a regulation that has been used to justify forced HIV testing, Human Rights Watch says. Greece recently reinstated a controversial health regulation that had been used to forcefully test people for HIV. 
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The research report 'Women’s and Children’s Health: Evidence of Impact of Human Rights' demonstrates plausible evidence that a human rights-based approach contributes to health improvements for women and children. The report was compiled by a group of experts led by Flavia Bustreo of the World Health Organization, and Paul Hunt, former UN Special...
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Edited by Jose Zuniga, Stephen Marks and Lawrence Gostin, the new book 'Advancing the Human Right to Health' features writings by experts on health and human rights. According to the publisher, the book brings clarity to many of the complex clinical, ethical, economic, legal, and socio-cultural questions raised by injury,...
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Online campaigning community Avaaz.org urges everyone to sign a petition on access to palliative care. The Prague Charter was drafted recently by the European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC), the International Association for Palliative Care (IAHPC), the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and Human Rights Watch (HRW). These organisations are...
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Since February 2013, over 20 people held in custody in Guantanamo Bay have been in hunger strike. There are reports that the US has sent in doctors and nurses, who assist in forced feeding, a recogniced violation of human rights and a breach of medical ethics.
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Twenty-one medics arrested at a hospital during anti-government protests in Bahrain two years ago have had their convictions annulled. They had been found guilty in November 2012 of misdemeanours after treating protesters injured by police.
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On the website childrenschances.org, global maps can be found that show which countries have created constitutional protections of health. These maps demonstrate whether governments guarantee the rights to health, public health, and/or medical services in their nations’ constitutions.
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On Thursday 28 March, the book Access to Medicines as a Human Right: Implications for Pharmaceutical Industry Responsibility was launched in Toronto, Canada. This interdisciplinary collection focuses on corporate responsibility for the provision of medicines in low- and middle-income countries.
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The Committee on the Rights of the Child has published a General Comment (No. 15) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health (Article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child). The General Comment was adopted during the Committee's 62nd...
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IFHHRO has accepted an invitation to participate in the advisory board of a research project of Groningen University (the Netherlands). The study will focus on the functioning of the OPCAT (Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture) National Preventive Mechanisms in the Netherlands.
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On 5 May 2013, the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights will enter into force. For the first time in history, a Protocol to an international treaty will enable individual complaints on economic, social and cultural rights.
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In the past two years, the Human Rights in Healthcare Programme has produced several interventions in the United Kingdom. The programme recently published a report highlighting the activities of four health organisations with regards to adopting a rights-based approach in their organisations.
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The UNFPA State of World Population Report 2012 focuses on people's human right to family planning. Due to lack of appropriate information and services, a large portion of the world's population cannot choose if and how many children they will have. Also, many women still die carrying their baby or...
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In the past months, state security forces in Yemen have repeatedly attacked hospitals in the southern port city of Aden and removed wounded alleged militants, Human Rights Watch reported.
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In 2009, the Hospice Palliative Care Association of South Africa published the book Legal Aspects of Palliative Care. This book has now been updated with new case studies, more resources, templates for drafting a will and training exercises. 
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The People's Health Assembly, a conference organized by IFHHRO's observer People's Health Movement (PHM), gathered over 800 health activists from over the world in Cape Town, South Africa. At the Assembly, which took place from 6 to 11 July, various issues were discussed in relation to improving the health status...
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On the occasion of the 65th World Health Assembly in May 2012, the inaugural edition of Global Health was published. This issue includes short articles written by leaders in various health-related organisations, including UN agencies, ministries of healh and major NGOs.
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IFHHRO received the sad news that Peter Kandela died on 30 April. He was one of the founders of Physicians for Human Rights UK and in that capacity played an important role in the foundation of IFHHRO.
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There is still very little understanding of the various and multiple legal interfaces between ‘health’ and ‘human rights’, and of the implications of this approach for legal research and practice. To fill this gap, the new book Health and Human Rights in Europe seeks to draw the legal contents and implications...
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Urbanisation leaves hundreds of millions of children in cities and towns excluded from vital services, UNICEF warns in its annual report The State of the World’s Children. The 2012 issue focuses on children living in cities. 
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The British Medical Association has launched an e-lobbying campaign for members to contact Members of Parliament before further debate in March in the House of Commons on the proposed Health and Social Care Bill. Opposition to the reforms among medical royal colleges and faculties is growing. Health workers fear that the bill...
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Amnesty Internation recently urged the Syrian government to allow immediate and unhindered access of humanitarian aid agencies to Homs and other affected areas. The Bab 'Amr district of the city has come under intensive shelling for more than three weeks. Hundreds of people have been killed and many more wounded.
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Hesperian Health Guides, publisher of the well-known book Where There Is No Doctor, is launching a new set of digital tools designed especially for community health workers and trainers. The Hesperian Digital Commons provides free access to health information in 26 languages, and allows health workers to produce their own...
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Recently, IFHHRO published a report written by Natalya Pestova, on the Right to Health in Russia as part of the 'Monitoring the Right to Health' project.
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The Health Sciences Faculty of the University of Cape Town developed a visual teaching tool on health and human rights. This Human Rights Key serves as an infographic to guide students to connect their classroom learning with the reality of local, regional and international health and human rights issues.
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Amnesty International urges the governments of the ASEAN region to remove barriers to women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health which put their lives at risk, in particular discriminatory laws and policies, and attitudes and practices amongst health workers. 
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A military court in Manama, Bahrain, found a group of doctors and other health workers guilty of attempting to topple the government during protests earlier this year, in what Amnesty International said was a travesty of justice.
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The 2011 OHCHR (the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights) report on preventable maternal mortality and morbidity offers a compilation of effective practices to eliminate maternal mortality and morbidity, drawing upon 77 contributions from States and other stakeholders.
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Each year thousands of Palestinians residing in the Gaza Strip are referred by their physicians to hospitals outside of Gaza in order to access necessary, often life-saving, medical services that are unavailable locally. A recent WHO report analyses how the situation in the Gaza Strip affects the Right to Health of the population...
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On June 6, LAHI, the Open Society Foundations’ International Palliative Care Initiative, Human Rights Watch, and the Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance organised a side meeting at the UN Human Rights Council on 'Access to Palliative Care: A Neglected Component of the Right to Health'. Additional sponsors included Brazil and Uruguay missions,...
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Last week, health and human rights specialist Leonard Rubenstein published a blog on the website of Open Society Foundations about the relationship between human rights and medical professionalism in day-to-day clinical practice. The full text can be found here.
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In February 2011, Peter Illiff died, the secretary and one of the founders of ZADHR, IFHHRO's member organisation in Zimbabwe. Recently, an obituary was published in The Lancet (Vol. 378, No. 9787), which we will share below.
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SAVE CONGO is an IFHHRO member based in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Its Executive Director, Mr. Kitwe Mulunda Guy, has been receiving  anonymous phone calls since two weeks, demanding him to immediately stop providing legal aid for victims of torture.
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In the beginning of April a coalition of Ugandan civil society organizations under the umbrella name 'Voices for Health Rights' issued a statement condemning government expenditure on military hardware when the health sector in the country is still underfunded.
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Inside the Salmaneya Hospital, the main hospital in Bahrain, several doctors and other health workers are de facto being held captive. The hospital is being besieged by the army and health workers are not allowed to get in nor leave the hospital.
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HIV testing is an important part of a comprehensive approach to HIV prevention and treatment, if it is provided in a way that respects basic human rights. However, there is growing evidence from several countries that pregnant women are being tested for HIV without their consent, adequate counseling, or links to...
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Press stories in Indian newspapers suggest that Adivasi (aboriginal) tribal people in southern India are soft targets for sterilisation. The government of Kerala is actively organising sterilisation camps. 
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New report PHR on Burma

February 28, 2011

In 2010, doctors and staff from IFHHRO member Physicians for Human Rights (PHR-USA) worked with local human rights activists in Burma to uncover the government's treatment of the isolated and vulnerable population of Chin State.
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HEPS Uganda and the Learning Network for Health & Human Rights (South Africa) co-convened a regional meeting in Kampala, Uganda on 8 October 2010 in the framework of the Regional Network for Equity in Health in East and Southern Africa (EQUINET).
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The Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) in Ghana is piloting human rights education programmes in some selected nurses and midwives training colleges in the country, aimed at reducing the abuse of patients' rights in accessing health care.
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Respecting, protecting and fulfilling the right to health necessarily requires accessible and effective health systems. If a country is to deliver basic health care to its people, it requires a fully functional equitable health system. However, health systems have suffered much neglect in recent decades despite their critical and constructive...
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From 27 to 30 October 2009, IFHHRO, the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey, the Norwegian and Turkish Medical Associations and the World Medical Association hosted a meeting on Health as a Bridge to Peace in the Middle East. The meeting, which is seen as the exploratarory phase of a project with...
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The World Health Organization recently published a report on the human rights aspects of neglected diseases. It was commissioned by the UNICEF/UNDP/World Bank/WHO Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases and written by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health in collaboration with others. Neglected diseases...
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