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.

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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



Climate change and people with disabilities

Last Friday, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on climate change and the rights of persons with disabilities. These people, already affected by social and physical barriers are additionally affected by climate change.
They may be more susceptible to diseases spread by climate change, in case of flooding or other environmental disasters they may be less able to relocate and find safety, etc. This group has been largely absent from the climate change discussion, and this resolution is the first step to engaging those with impairments into the dialogue in order to ensure the realization of their human rights, such as the right to health.

More information: Human Rights Watch website 


Letter to the Special Rapporteur: consider a country visit to Greece

In the past few weeks, IFHHRO Secretary Adriaan van Es worked as a volunteer doctor in the Moria refugee camp on the island of Lesbos, Greece, where thousands of stranded refugees are living in very difficult circumstances. Appalled by the situation he encountered in the camp, he wrote a letter today to the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, Dainius Puras, inviting him to schedule a country visit to Greece, including the camps. The full-text letter can be found below.

16 July 2019

Dear Professor Puras,

Through this message I would like to share with you some of my experiences during my recent volunteer medical relief work for refugees in the Moria refugee camp on the Greek island Lesbos.

My first visit to the Moria camp was very confrontational: built for 3,300 persons, it housed over the double, and in previous months it has housed over 10,000 persons. In my consultation hours I saw many severely traumatized patients, women who were violated many times, in the country of origin, during the flight, and in the country of arrival, and many sick people in need of medical care.

In my assessment, all international and European human rights conventions are grossly violated on a daily basis. I’m sure you are familiar with the above mentioned issues and observations.

Given your position as UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, and remembering your excellent reports and statements, notably your report on the Right to mental health of people on the move (2018), are eminent arguments for a call on you to consider a country visit to Greece including the refugee camps.

In case such a visit would become reality, I am convinced that your findings will include gross violations of the Right to Health, and other rights, and recommendations not only to the Greek authorities, but also to European governments and agencies that are grossly and fundamentally ignoring their responsibility vis a vis the refugee situation in border countries in Europe.

In case you consider such a visit, we are willing to support and help where possible in preparing and pursuing such a country visit.

Kind regards,

Adriaan van Es, MD, secr. IFHHRO


USA: Guidelines for trans care and best practice

When transgender people seek healthcare, they face misunderstandings, harassment from staff, and other potential obstacles. In the 2015 NCTE Transgender Survey, 1 in 4 trans people in the USA reported avoiding medical care, and 1 in 3 reported experiencing healthcare discrimination. Policies like the “Title X gag rule” and the “moral conscience” rule by the U.S. Department of Health and Human services reinforce limited access to care and general discrimination.This past Monday, the American College of Physicians, produced its first guidelines for trans care and best practice; however, there is still a lot of progress to be made. “The fact that I am a trans man and I’m a Black trans man, doesn’t take away from the fact that I still have a uterus”, said Morgan Givens to Rewire.News. “I still have ovaries. I still have all these parts of my body that need to be maintained and cared for. If you are already ignored and now people are giving permission to deny you access to reproductive health care, how does it get better from there?”

Source: For Trans Men Seeking Reproductive Health Care, ‘There Are Barriers Every Step of the Way’, Rewire News, 3 July 2019

Read more about the right to health of transgender people in our Topics section