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Health and Human Rights

Health and Human Rights - I PART I Human Rights and Public...

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I PART I Human Rights and Public Health In exploring the connection between health and human rights, we propose three relationships, each of which focuses on an important aspect of this crit- ical linkage. These relationships are outlined in broad terms in the first arti- cle in this section, "Health and Human Rights," the inaugural article of the journal Health and Human Rights. This article provides a framework and basis for considering the health and human rights nexus explored through- out this reader. The first relationship, which can be diagrammed simply as H -> HR concerns the potential impacts of health policies, programs, and practices on human rights. As described in Part 11, recognition of the complementarity of public health goals and human rights norms can lead to more effective health policies and programs. The challenge is to negotiate the optimal balance between promoting and protecting public health and promoting and protecting human rights. The second relationship, which can be diagrammed equally simply as H <- HR, expresses the idea that violations or lack of fulfillment of any and all human rights have negative effects on physical, mental, and social well-being (health). This is true in peacetime and, of course, in times of conflict and extreme political repression. The articles in Part I11 explore this relationship. The third relationship, which can be diagrammed as H <-> HR, con- veys the idea of inextricable connection. The central idea of the health and human rights movement is that health and human rights act in synergy. Promoting and protecting health requires explicit and concrete efforts to promote and protect human rights and dignity, and greater fulfillment of human rights necessitates sound attention to health and to its societal determinants.
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PART 1: HUMAN RIGHTS AND PUBLIC HEALTH As an entry to the world of health and human rights thinking and action, the chapters in this section also include a primer on public health and one on human rights. These chapters are drawn from a manual intended for use by people in the fields of public health and human rights in order to provide agfficient knowledge of each field to facilitate a practical working relation; ?ship between them. Since this reader is intended for people interested in one or both of these domains, we hope that even those already familiar with either public health or human rights will read these introductory chapters, which set the stage for consideration of the complex and fascinating health and human rights paradigm. Health and Human Rights 1. Jonathan M. Mann, Lawrence Gostin, Sofia Gruskin, Troyen Brennan, Zita Lauarini, and Harvey Fineberg Health and human rights have rarely been linked in an explicit mannel: With few exceptions, notably involving access to health care, discussions about health have not included human rights considerations. Similarly, except when obvious damage to health is the primary manifestation of a human rights abuse, such as with torture, health perspectives have' been generally absent from human rights discourse.
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