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Governments’ Obligations to Ensuring the Human Right to Health

Are Governments have specific obligations on ensuring the health rights?

Ottawa, Canada

Answered by A.Tatoyan

Of course, the Human Right to Health is protected by the international law. Below are some excerpts from the key international conventions that guarantee everyone the Human Right to Health.

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for ... health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and the right to security in the event of ... sickness, disability.... Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance… “

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Articles 7, 11, and 12

“The States Parties ... recognize the right of everyone to ... just and favourable conditions of work which ensure ... safe and healthy working conditions....; ... the right to ... an adequate standard of living ...; the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. The steps to be taken ... to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for: ... the reduction of ... infant mortality and for the healthy development of the child; the improvement of all aspects of environmental and industrial hygiene; the prevention, treatment and control of epidemic, endemic, occupational and other diseases; the creation of conditions which would assure to all medical service and medical attention in the event of sickness.”

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, Articles 10, 12, and 14

“States Parties shall ... ensure to [women] ... access to specific educational information to help to ensure the health and well-being of families, including information and advice on family planning.... States Parties shall ... eliminate discrimination against women in ... health care ... to ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women, access to health care services, including those related to family planning....; ensure ... appropriate services in connection with pregnancy.... States Parties shall ... ensure ... that [women in rural areas] ... have access to adequate health care facilities, including information counselling and services in family planning...”

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, Article 5

“States Parties undertake to ... eliminate racial discrimination ... and to guarantee the right of everyone, without distinction as to race, colour, or national or ethnic origin, to equality before the law, ... the right to public health, medical care, social security and social services...”

Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 24

“States Parties recognize the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health and to facilities for the treatment of illness and rehabilitation of health...”


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