About the Right to Health

Central to IFHHRO’s work is the concept of the Right to Health. IFHHRO believes that health professionals and their associations have an important role to play in the monitoring and promotion of this right.

The Right to Health is short for ‘the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’, a phrase coined by the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) to ensure all people equal access to health care and health-related services (e.g., clean drinking water), within the limits of a State’s capacity.

General Comment No. 14

In May 2000, CESCR published General Comment No. 14, which provided a detailed description of the obligations of States to secure the Right to Health, as well as criteria for monitoring this right.

General Comment No. 14 strengthens the basic principle that the accessibility, availability and affordability of health care of good quality is an inalienable right for all. In the 21st Century, the Right to Health is a right, not just a service and not a charity, commodity or a privilege. Absence of available, accessible and affordable health care and underlying preconditions of health is thus not an absence of service, but a violation of a basic human right.

Accountability

Recognizing that there is a Right to Health implies that governments have obligations, both with regard to medical services and to other aspects of life that determine health, such as clean drinking water and adequate sanitation, or protection against environmental and occupational hazards. It also implies that individuals and groups can hold their governments accountable for not taking progressive measures to comply with these obligations.

Since 2002, there is a UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, who oversees the progress made by governments in realizing the Right to Health.

Read more about the Right to Health on our Wiki pages

Latest News

  • Voices in the Field: new interview series

    ifhhroVoices in the Field is a new multimedia interview series that shares the stories of experienced professionals in the field of health and highlights the role of human rights in their careers. Voices in the Field, a project of Global Health Law Groningen (The Netherlands) and IFHHRO, aims to capture the accounts of individuals from diverse backgrounds, including professors, lawyers, doctors, nurses, researchers and policymakers.

     
  • Turkey: Medical doctors on trial

    arrestThe third hearing in the trial of Dr. Şebnem Korur Fincancı (the President of the Human Rights Foundation of Turkey - HRFT) and two journalists on charges of aiding terrorism was held today (March 21, 2017) at the 13th Çağlayan Heavy Penal Court in Istanbul. Along with Dr. Fincancı, the journalists Erol Önderoğlu (Reporters without Borders Turkey Representative) and Ahmet Nesin (a journalist/writer) had been arrested on June 20, 2016 for defending freedom of the press, and were released ten days later.