Health and Human Rights

Building upon this central core of documensa large

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Unformatted text preview: s to the Covenants accept certain procedures and responsibilities, including periodic submission of reports on'their compliance with the-substantive provisions of the texts. Building upon this central core of documen~s,a large number oft additional declarations and conventions have been adopted at the i ncem~tibnal and regional levels, focusing upon either specific populations'(such as the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of' Racial Discrimination, entered into force in 1969; the Convention on the&Eli&atibn of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, 1981; t he Coavention o n the Rights of the Child, 1989); or issues ( such4asthe Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Mann et. al. Health and Human Rights entered into g ore in 1987; the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Int~lerance nd of Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief, 1981). a ,Singe 1948, the promotion and protection of human rights have received W eased mention from communities and nations around the world. While there are few legal sanctions to compel states to meet their h u m a ~ights r .obligations, states are increasingly monitored for their compliance with h w rights norms by other states, nongovernmental organizations, the media, and private individuals. The growing legitimacy of-thehuman rights framework lies in the increasing application of human rights standards by a steadily widening range of actors in the world community. The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize for human rights work to Amnesty International and to Ms. b o b e r t a Menchu symbolizes this extraordinary level of contemporary interest and concern with human rights. Since the late 1940s, human rights advocacy and related chdlenges have n gradually extended the boundaries of the human rights movement i four related ways. First, the initial advocacy focus on civil and politicai rights and certain econamic and social rights is expanding to include concerns about the environment and global socioeconomicdevelopment. For example, although the right to a "social and international order in which (human rights) can be fully realized" (UDHR, rticle 28) invokes broad p6litical issues at the A global level, attention to this core concept as a righthas grown only in recent years. Second, while the groundingpf human rights thinking and practice in law (at national and international levels) remains fundamental, wider social involvement and participation in human rights struggles is increasingly broadening the language and uses of human rights concepts. Thiid, whiie human rights law primarily focuses on the relationship between individuals and states, awareness is increasing that other societal institutions and systems, such as transnational business, may strongly influence the capacity for realization of rights, yet they may elude staR control. For example, exploitation of natural resources by business interests may seriously harm trghts of local residents, yet the governmental capacity to protect human rights may be extremely limited, or at best indirect, through .regulation of business practices and laws that offer the opportunity for redress. In addition, certain individual acts, such as rape, have not been a traditional concern of human rights law, except when resulting from systematic state policy (as alleged in Bosnia). Howevel; it is increasingly evident that state policies impacting on the status and role of women may contribute importa+,.even if indirectly, to a societal context that increases women's vdnerability to rape, even though the actual act may be individual, not mte-sponsored. pinally, the. twin challenges of human rights promotion ,(hopefully , p~ventisgights violations; analogous to health promotion to prevent r discage) qnd protection-(emphqsizingaccountability and redress for violat o s analogous to medical care once disease has occurred)have often been in; approached separately. Initially, the United Nations system highlighted promotion of rights, and'the nongovernmental human rights movement tended to stress protection of rights, often in response to horrific and systematic rights violations. More recently, both intergovernmental and nongavemmental agencies have recognized and responded to the fundamental interdependence of rights promotion and protection. In summary, despite tremendous controversy, especially regarding the philosophical and cultural context of human rights as currently defined, a vocabulary and set of human rights norms are increasingly becoming part of community, national, life. A PROVISIONAL FRAMEWORK: LINKAGES BEWEEN HEAUH AND HUMAN RlQHCS The goal of linking health and human rights is to contribute to advancing human well-being beyond what could be achieved through an isolated health- or human rights-based approach. This chapter proposes a-three-part framework for considering linkages between health and human rights; all are interconnected, and each has sybstantial practical consequenc...
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