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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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



Belarus: Physicians detained

IFHHRO has sent a letter to the President of the World Medical Association (WMA), requesting the global association of doctors to take appropriate action in support of detained physicians in Belarus.

Over 60 medical specialists have been arrested and detained in the midst of the serious repressive measures by the dictatorial regime of President Lukaschenko. As the letter states: “The detentions are […] a violation of the Right to Health, various WMA declarations and the Geneva Conventions that stress the immunity of medical services including in internal conflicts and unrest.”

Read the letter


New Special Rapporteur on the right to health

Tlaleng MofokengIFHHRO welcomes the appointment of Mrs. Tlaleng Mofokeng (South Africa) as the new Special Rapporteur on the right to health. Ms. Mofokeng is well-known internationally for her work on sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as gender equality.

The Health and Human Rights Journal recently published an interview with her, in which she talks about her career and her vision on the mandate of the Special Rapporteur. When asked about her priorities, she said: “I’m trying to move away from having a hierarchy of illnesses, where some are more important than others. And that’s why I want to prioritize the theme of vulnerability and restoration of dignity, because then it doesn’t matter whether you’re talking about HIV or TB or malaria. If we are driven by that vision, then I can support you in whatever you are doing.”

With regards to vulnerability, she stresses that: “we are not inherently vulnerable; it’s situations of injustice that make us vulnerable. To correct that, we have to be committed to ending systems of oppression that create those situations. You can only do that through justice—social justice, reproductive justice, economic justice. And the framework to get to justice is human rights.”

Interview in the Health and Human Rights Journal

Short profile on the OHCHR website


Israel: Substandard prison health care

IFHHRO partner Physicians for Human Rights – Israel (PHRI) recently published the English translation of an important report (originally in Hebrew) on prison health care in Israel, titled ‘Health remanded to custody. The Future of the Prison Health Care System in Israel’.

The report’s executive summary highlights that “morbidity among prison inmates (prisoners and detainees) is significantly higher than in the general population. Many inmates belong to socio-economically disadvantaged groups characterized by unhealthy lifestyles and a high rate of drug and alcohol abuse. In addition, living conditions in prison, which include overcrowding, a lack of physical space and restrictions imposed on the inmates’ daily routine, result in a sedentary lifestyle, heightened stress, poor nutrition and smoking.”

Health care for inmates is provided by the healthcare system of the Israel Prison Service (IPS), which operates independently of the Israeli public health system and the Ministry of Health and is not subject to effective external control and oversight.

PHRI emphasizes  that “the services provided to inmates are of poor quality and fail to meet the professional and ethical standards of the community health care system. Not only is the continued existence of a separate – and inferior – health care system for inmates morally wrong and not only does it violate the principle of equality, it is not cost-effective, as it will likely overburden the public health system which, once inmates are released from prison and rejoin society, will have to treat patients who did not receive optimal care.”

PHRI therefore calls for a system of prison health care that falls under public health services and the Ministry of Health.

Download the report (PDF)