Health and Human Rights

In only a few countries in g e n d the people who ate

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Unformatted text preview: ssment of children's intellectual and social matuuty. T$e feature of discriminationiisthe irrelevance of the criteria used to qMferentiate h e e n people. , Throaghout h i 3 eopk have attached negative connotations FQ others p they perceive as inferior. T u ,typical characteristics1 hs resulting I & e n cnation k cl& sex (notably, being a woman), race, ahnicity, religioa s d migin, sexual orientation, and disability. Even states that have d welqied ; . fimdiscriminatory laws may not include certain categories of peopk. As a n e m p l e , discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation is prohibibed. In only a few countries. In g e n d , the people who ate dkriminated againscare <those who do not have the same char&Xkri& as the dominant groups in the 66idety. l addition, those who tiiscriminate are often, although not always, h ii a betttrr ~ocioecono&. pasition, whereas the k M i n a t e d against @e:@uaUym i d y and o mnomic+l~ $idvy~aged nd m argi~alhd. hus, c a T J is~iiminationfrequently reinforces societal inequalities, denying equal . opportunitiest o persons such as women, people of color, immigants, homoi: i k mals, and disabled persons. 5 Finally, the groups most discriminated against tend w have d i i i s h e d ciapacities t o claim their rights or to remedy discrimination when i t occurs. .. \' -#> nmin:~numnrr~rawrslsslp The enjoyment and exercise of all human rights affect the health of individa l s . This is especially evident when considering the modern definition of '' health as "a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or i&rmity."4 The right to health is expressed in the International Bill of Human Rights ' - as "the right t o the highest attainable standard of physical and mental * h&lth."s This right imposes a duty upon states to promote and protect the . ' hedfh of individuals and the community, including a responsibility to e and protect health and ensure quality health care. , , . The monitoring of human rights is vital, and enforcement is complex. is . ' p i o n s that routinely violate ra may be least likely to allow open " "" 'repgrting about the state of rights, while citizens of nations w ith full .:" ' * M e s s to legal and other remedies to seek redress may be able to cotnplain more openly about injustices perpetrated by their govern- International Federation o f Red Cross et al. States are required to provide resources for health promotion and disease prevention along with an adequate health care system. Health policy should be directed to the needs of all, avoiding any form of discrimination. In addition, public health is understood to represent such an important public interest that its protection and promotion can be a permissible reason for the restriction of some human rights. Yet restriction of human rights is usually a last resort. Using public health as a reason to restrict human rights requires great care; a list of stringent criteria needs t o be met before-the restriction can be considered just. For example, the restriction,must be prescribed by law and applied in a nondiscriminatory manner and only when no less intrusive means are available to protect the public health. In order to assess if restricting a human right for reasons of public health is "necessary" and "proportional," it is essential that people experienced in human rights law and public health work closely together. REFERENCES Public Health: An Introduction 3. International Federation of Red Cross and Societies and Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights ' 1. Article 1, Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). 2 . Preamble, Universal Declaration of Human Rights. 3 . The International Bill of Human Rights also includes the first Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 4. Preamble to the Constitution of 'the World Health Organization (WHO). 5. See Appendix B, article 12, of the Tnternational Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. public health involves a series of core concepts and a e these central ideas and practices. of public health is the history of infectious illustrious names like Pasteur; Jenner; and " is exemplified by the eradication of smallhat established.andapplied the principles of ogress made against historicalscourges like diphtheria, and tuberculosis. Yet p f l ~ c 1infectious disease control. Public Health can be defined a s 'what we as a society do collectively to ensure the conditions in which people can be healthy" (Institute of . Medicine, 1988, USA). Each part of this definition is important. First, it is clear that public health deals with society: groups of people and actio?s affecting many people. For example, the addition of fluoride to water supplies in order to prevent childhood dental caries is a broad public health measure, affecting everyone who drinks the water....
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This note was uploaded on 03/22/2009 for the course PHIL 163 taught by Professor Wong,d during the Spring '08 term at Duke.

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