UN Advocacy on Palliative Care as a Human Right

August 22, 2011


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, as well as the African Palliative Care Alliance, HelpAge International, International Association for Hospices and Palliative Care, Pallium India, and UNAIDS.

Despite recognition of access to palliative care, including pain relief, as part of the right to health by Special Rapporteurs and the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, it has been largely neglected in state reports to human rights bodies and UN Resolutions on the right to health. The side meeting highlighted the denial of palliative care to millions of patients worldwide who suffer needlessly when palliative care is inexpensive and can be provided across all care settings. The keynote speaker, the former President of Uruguay, Tabaré Vázquez, and a panel of palliative care experts from Africa, India, and Latin America shared poignant personal experiences and urged action by the Human Rights Council to ensure governments fulfill their responsibility to improve access to palliative care.

For additional information, please see the OSF factsheet on Palliative Care as a Human Right, or contact Tamar Ezer at tezer@sorosny.org or Kiera Hepford at khepford@sorosny.org.

Palliative Care as a Human Right: A Fact Sheet

English (PDF)

Russian (PDF)