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Right to Information

EXAMPLES OF POTENTIAL VIOLATIONS

  • Government bans publications about drug use or harm reduction, claiming it promotes illegal activity
  • Young people are deliberately denied information about STDs and the use of condoms
  • Roma women lack access to information on sexual and reproductive health
HUMAN RIGHTS STANDARDS AND INTERPRETATIONS

Art 19(2) ICCPR :

Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.

• In the case of Zheludkov v. Ukraine34 it was noted by a member of the HRC that:

“A person’s right to have access to his or her medical records forms part of the right of all individuals to have access to personal information concerning them. The State has not given any reason to justify its refusal to permit such access, and the mere denial of the victim’s request for access to his medical records thus constitutes a violation of the State’s obligation to respect the right of all persons to be ‘treated with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person,’ regardless of whether or not this refusal may have had consequences for the medical treatment of the victim.”35

CESCR GC 14 para 12(b)(iv):

Health care accessibility includes the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas concerning health issues.

CESCR GC 14 para 23:

States Parties should provide a safe and supportive environment for adolescents, that ensures the opportunity to participate in decisions affecting their health, to build life-skills, to acquire appropriate information, to receive counselling and to negotiate the health behaviour choices they make.

Art 17 CRC :36

States Parties recognize the important function performed by the mass media and shall ensure that the child has access to information and material from a diversity of national and international sources, especially those aimed at the promotion of his or her social, spiritual, and moral well-being and physical and mental health.

Art 21 DRC :

States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to ensure that persons with disabilities can exercise the right to freedom of expression and opinion, including the freedom to seek, receive, and impart information and ideas on an equal basis with others and through all forms of communication of their choice, as defined in article 2 of the present Convention, including by: (a) Providing information intended for the general public to persons with disabilities in accessible formats and technologies appropriate to different kinds of disabilities in a timely manner and without additional cost.

Principle 7 WMA Declaration on the Rights of the Patients:

a. The patient has the right to receive information about himself/herself recorded in any of his/her medical records, and to be fully informed about his/her health status including the medical facts about his/her condition. However, confidential information in the patient’s records about a third party should not be given to the patient without the consent of that third party.

b. Exceptionally, information may be withheld from the patient when there is good reason to believe that this information would create a serious hazard to his/her life or health.

c. Information should be given in a way appropriate to the patient’s culture and in such a way that the patient can understand.

d. The patient has the right not to be informed on his/her explicit request, unless required for the protection of another person’s life.

e. The patient has the right to choose who, if anyone, should be informed on his/her behalf.

Principle 5 IAPO Declaration on Patient-Centred Healthcare :37

Accurate, relevant, and comprehensive information is essential to enable patients and carers to make informed decisions about healthcare treatment and living with their condition. Information must be presented in an appropriate format according to health literacy principles considering the individual’s condition, language, age, understanding, abilities, and culture.

Note: Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health Information

The provision of appropriate and timely information with respect to sexual and reproductive health is particularly crucial. UN treaty bodies have urged States to improve access in light of increasing teenage abortions38 and sexually transmitted diseases including HIV/AIDS,39 with such information also extending to children40 and to people in areas with prevalent alcohol and tobacco use.41

...


34. UN Human Rights Commission (HRC). Zheludkov v. Ukraine, Communication No. 726/1996, (CC PR/C/76/D/726/1996). Views adopted 29 October 2002.
35. Individual Opinion by Ms. Cecilia Medina Quiroga (concurring).
36. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), General Comment 4 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Adolescent Health and Development in the Context of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (CRC/GC/2003/4).
37. International Alliance of Patients’ Organizations (IAPO). IAPO Policy Statement on Health Literacy. http://www.patientsorganizations.org/showarticle.pl?id=126&n=962 Accessed November 6, 2009.
38. UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Lithuania, 2004. (E/C.12/1/Add.96). UN Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Concluding Observations of the Committee on Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Costa Rica, 2003. (A/58/38(SUPP) See also UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: China, 2005. (E/C.12/1/Add.107).
39. UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights: Chile, 2004. (E/C.12/Add.105). See also CESCR, Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights: Cameroon, 1999. (E/C.12/Add.40). See also CEDAW, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: Ethiopia, 2004. (A/59/38(SUPP)).
40. UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC), Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Mozambique, 2002. (CRC/C/15/Add.172). See also CRC, Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child: Indonesia, 2004. (CRC/C/15/Add.203).
41. UN Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), Concluding Observations of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Ukraine, 2001. (E/C.12/1/Add.65).

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Content

Preface

Acknowledgments


Chapter 1 - Introduction

 

Chapter 2 - International Framework for Human Rights in Patient Care

 

Chapter 3 - Regional Framework for Human Rights in Patient Care

 

Chapter 4 - International and Regional Procedures

 

Chapter 5 - Country Specific Notes

 

Chapter 6 - National Patients’ Rights

 

Chapter 7 - National Provider Rights and Responsibilities

 

Chapter 8 - National Procedures and Appendixes

 

Glossary

 

pdf Download the Guide (1.7 MB)

 
 

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