Healthcare workers as human rights defenders

October 26, 2017


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 only a question of access to services, but in fact the right to be human is a manner that you have your physical and mental integrity upheld,” Gilmore said in an interview with UN News. Similarly, healthcare workers are part of the “machinery of human rights defence,” yet are increasingly being targeted for doing their jobs.

“In conflict settings, there has been a marked spike in the targeting of hospitals, of doctors, of ambulances and of nurses,” she said. “But in other settings, too. In non-conflict settings, health workers who work with communities that are subjected to terrible bigotry, those working with those suffering leprosy, historically health workers providing services to those living with HIV and AIDS, workers whose priority is sexual and reproductive health.”

Source: UN News Centre, 24 October 2017

Listen: part of UN News interview with Kate Gilmore