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.

Training materials

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



Ukraine: Brutal attacks on healthcare facilities in violation of Geneva Conventions

Perilous Medicine_Len RubensteinIFHHRO | Medical Human Rights Network is deeply concerned about the war in Ukraine, and the brutal attacks by Russian military forces. The World Health Organization has confirmed several attacks on healthcare centres in Ukraine and is investigating other, the agency’s chief said on Sunday. The attacks caused multiple deaths and injuries, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added in a Twitter message. “Attacks on healthcare facilities or workers breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law,” he said. (Source: Reuters).

The gruesome reality of attacks on healthcare facilities fits in a long history of violations of the Geneva Conventions. Former PHR Director and IFHHRO Advisor Len Rubenstein recently conducted an extensive study on this topic, published in the book: Perilous Medicine, The Struggle to Protect Health Care from the Violence of War.  Adriaan van Es, our Secretary, wrote a review about this important book for the Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, which appeared today.




Israel: criminalization of Palestinian human rights organizations

Our partner Physicians for Human Rights-Israel (PHRI) has issued a statement in solidarity with Palestinian human rights organizations that have recently been criminalized by the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The decree outlaws six prominent Palestinian human rights organizations. PHR-Israel is calling upon health organizations and individuals around the world to express their support for a statement condemning this political decision that aims at silencing Palestinian organizations.

One of the outlawed organizations is Addameer, which defends the rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, and challenges the use of torture and the practice of force-feeding of inmates on hunger strike. According to PHRIs website, the doctors’ organization and Addameer work in close coordination to promote the right to health of Palestinian inmates in Israeli prisons, including their right to ethical healthcare.

Read PHRIs statement here. If you wish to indicate your support, please fill out this form before the 31st of October.


The human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment

On 8 October 2021, the Human Rights Council recognized that having a clean and healthy environment is a basic human right.  Resolution 48/13 on the “human right to a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment” was adopted by the Council during its 48th regular session. Another resolution (48/14) prepares the way for the establishment of a Special Rapporteur on the human rights impacts of climate change.

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, said: “The Human Rights Council’s decisive action in recognising the human right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment is about protecting people and planet – the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat. It is also about protecting the natural systems which are basic preconditions to the lives and livelihoods of all people, wherever they live.”

A short article written by our volunteer Tara Ornstein for our Topics section shows how the environment, health and human rights are interlinked, and highlights what health workers can do to protect the environment, as well as their patients.

Go to the article