Health Rights and Realization; Comment on “Rights Language in the Sustainable Development Agenda: Has Right to Health Discourse and Norms Shaped Health Goals?”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK

Abstract

In their hypothesis published in IJHPM, Lisa Forman and colleagues examined the prominence of the right to health and sexual and reproductive health rights (as well as related language) in four of the key reports that fed into the process of negotiating the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Now that the SDGs have been formally adopted, this comment builds on some of the insights of Forman and colleagues to examine the extent to which those rights have been incorporated in SDGs 3 and 5. I argue that sexual and reproductive health rights are relatively well-covered within the SDGs. In terms of the right to health, however, the picture is much less clear. Some of the elements that make up that right are present and correct, but the SDGs have delivered no coherent vision of how a ‘right to health’ might actually be realized. An important task facing global health and human rights advocates is to continue pushing human rights framings so that progress is made both on meeting the SDGs and on realizing the right to health.

Keywords

Main Subjects


  1. Forman L, Ooms G, Brolan CE. Rights language in the sustainable development agenda: has right to health discourse and norms shaped health goals? Int J Health Policy Manag.  2015;4(12):799-804. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2015.171
  2. UN General Assembly. Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.   http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/RES/70/1&Lang=E. Published  October 21, 2015
  3. Williams C, Blaiklock A. SDG Series: What Might the SDGs Mean for Health and Human Rights? An Introduction to the Series. Health and Human Rights journal blog. September 1, 2015. http://www.hhrjournal.org/2015/09/sdg-series-what-might-the-sdgs-mean-for-health-and-human-rights-an-introduction-to-the-series/
  4. UN General Assembly Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals. Report of the Open Working Group of the General Assembly on Sustainable Development Goals. http://www.un.org/ga/search/view_doc.asp?symbol=A/68/970. Published August 12, 2014.
  5. International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF). Reproductive health and the MDGs.  http://www.ippf.org/news/blogs/reproductive-health-and-mdgs. Published April 12, 2012.
  6. Coates A, Hill PS, Rushton S  Balen J. The Holy See on sexual and reproductive health rights: conservative in position, dynamic in response. Reprod Health Matters. 2014;22(44):114-124. doi:10.1016/S0968-8080(14)44815-8
  7. Brown R. Leaving No One Behind: Human Rights and Accountability are Fundamental to Addressing Disparities and Sexual and Reproductive Health. Health and Human Rights Journal blog. http://www.hhrjournal.org/2015/09/sdg-series-leaving-no-one-behind-human-rights-and-accountability-are-fundamental-to-addressing-disparities-in-sexual-and-reproductive-health/
  8. Ooms G, Latif LA, Waris A,  et al. Is universal health coverage the practical expression of the right to health care? BMC Int Health Hum Rights. 2014;14:3. doi:10.1186/1472-698X-14-3
  9. Ooms G, Brolan C, Eggermont N, et al. Universal health coverage anchored in the right to health. Bull World Health Organ. 2013;91(1):2-2A. doi:10.2471/BLT.12.115808
  10. CESCR General Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Art. 12). Adopted at the Twenty-second Session of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, on August 11, 2000. http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Women/WRGS/Health/GC14.pdf