Health & Human Rights

In order to exercise a range of rights, individuals need a basic standard of health.  In many parts of the world, people suffer from debilitating diseases, widespread malnutrition, and deplorable public hygiene.  Although these issues can be readily addressed with enough support, too many governments show little concern about maintaining decent standards of health for all their citizens.

External Resources

US: Abortion Access is a Human Right

Reproductive rights, including the right to access abortion, are grounded in internationally recognized human rights.

Read More

Respect Rights in Monkeypox Response

(New York) – Governments should work with affected communities to promote accurate, non-stigmatizing information about monkeypox and make testing and treatment widely accessible, Human Rights Watch said today. As hundreds of cases are reported in Europe and North America, health authorities should draw on lessons from effective management in Africa, and prioritize global availability of vaccines, tests, and treatments.

Read More

Expiring Assistance Threatens Affordable Health Care in the US

Unless Congress acts soon, federal subsidies that help millions of people in the United States afford private health insurance purchased through a government-operated marketplace will expire at the end of this year.

Read More

‘CARE Court’ is No Solution for Unhoused People in California

In March, Gov. Gavin Newsom unveiled a proposed framework to force some people living with mental health conditions to undergo treatment under court order. On Wednesday the California Senate passed a bill to enact this framework and create the deceptively named Community Assistance Recovery and Empowerment (CARE) Court. There is nothing empowering about involuntary treatment.

Read More

North Korea Acknowledges Health Crisis amid Covid-19 Outbreak

North Korean officials have made an unprecedented admission regarding the country’s Covid-19 health crisis after reporting a Covid-19 case for the very first time. In a rare instance of allowing government-run media to report negative news, officials announced that an unspecified “fever” was spreading “explosively” in the country, infecting more than 1.2 million people and killing 50.

Read More

Afghans Dying from Lack of Medicine

“We just buried Mom. Can you believe it? She was too young to die. I can’t take her place for my younger siblings.” These are the painful words of my 17-year-old cousin, Sima, who had just lost her mother a few hours before we spoke. My Aunt Bibi was only 40 years old.

Read More

New Covid-19 Death Count Should Prompt Stronger Action

Nearly 15 million people have died either directly or indirectly from Covid-19 in the past two years, new data from the World Health Organization shows. Human rights failures underly this devastating death toll. Authorities have the knowledge, technology, and tools to prevent infections and deaths, but widespread policy failures are prolonging the pandemic and exacerbating its effects.

Read More

UN: Make Reporting on Covid-19 in Prisons Mandatory

Many countries around the world are not monitoring and reporting on Covid-19 infection, death, and mitigation efforts in detention settings, health and human rights experts said in a new statement.

Read More

Cameroon Needs to Protect Prisoners from Cholera Outbreak

At least six inmates in Cameroon’s second largest jail, the “New Bell” prison in Douala, have died since March from the country’s cholera outbreak. The latest victim, 30-year-old political prisoner Rodrigue Ndagueho Koufet, died on April 7.

Read More

China: Treatment for Non-Covid Illnesses Denied

The Chinese government should respect the right to health and other basic rights in its response to the Covid-19 surge in the country, Human Rights Watch said today.

Read More

More Effort Needed for Meaningful Outcome at WTO on Covid-19

A newly leaked text reveals that negotiations between the European Union, United States, South Africa, and India at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on an intellectual property waiver for Covid-19 related products require more work to achieve a meaningful outcome, Human Rights Watch said today.

Read More

Covid-19 Pandemic’s Human Rights Failures Persist

Governments should redouble efforts to uphold their legal obligation to ensure the highest attainable standard of health for people everywhere.

Read More

Covid-19 Vaccine Access is a Right, Not a Privilege

As we enter another year of this wretched pandemic that has killed more than 6 million the divide between the vaccine haves and have-nots is not only huge, it’s growing.

Read More

A Generation of Children Impacted by Covid-19 School Closures

Cataclysm. Inordinate suffering. Widespread disruption. Intergenerational loss. This is only a snapshot of the terms used by experts to describe the fragile situation of education systems around the globe as we enter the Covid-19 pandemic’s third year.

Read More

After 2 Years of Covid, We’re Still Failing Older People

Two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, governments around the world are still failing to protect the rights of older people. From ageist comments by public figures to persistent staffing shortages and use of chemical restraints in care homes, the protection of older people’s rights has been put under the spotlight like never before -- and comes up lacking.

Read More