Human Rights Treaties Are an Important Part of the “International Health Instrumentariam”; Comment on “The Legal Strength of International Health Instruments - What It Brings to Global Health Governance?”

Document Type: Commentary

Author

Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada

Abstract

In their commentary, Haik Nikogosian and Ilona Kickbusch argue for the necessity of new binding international legal instruments for health to address complex health determinants and offer a cogent analysis of the implications of such treaties for future global health governance. Yet in doing so they pay no attention to the existing instrumentarium of international legally binding treaties relevant to health, in the form of human rights treaties. International human rights law has entrenched individual entitlements and state obligations in relation to individual and public health through iterative human rights treaties since 1946. These treaties offer normative specificity, institutional monitoring and the possibility of enforcement and accountability. If we are to build a new ‘international health instrumentariam’ we should not ignore existing and important tools that can assist in this endeavor.

Keywords

Main Subjects


  1. Nikogosian H, Kickbusch I. The Legal Strength of International Health Instruments - What It Brings to Global Health Governance? Int J Health Policy Manag. 2016;5(12):683-685. doi:10.15171/ijhpm.2016.122
  2. Constitution of the World Health Organization. Am J Public Health Nations Health. 1946;36(11):1315-1323.
  3. Universal Declaration of Human Rights. http://undocs.org/A/810. Published 1948.
  4. International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CESCR.aspx. Published 1966.
  5. International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CERD.aspx. Published 1966.
  6. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  http://www.un.org/womenwatch/daw/cedaw/text/econvention.htm. Published 1979.
  7. Convention on the Rights of the Child. http://undocs.org/A/44/49. Published 1989.
  8. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. http://www.un.org/disabilities/documents/convention/convoptprot-e.pdf. Published 2006.
  9. General Comment No. 14 (2000): The Right to the Highest Attainable Standard of Health (Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights). 2000. http://undocs.org/E/C.12/2000/4. Published 2000.
  10. Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. http://undocs.org/A/RES/63/117. Published 2008.
  11. Sandra Lovelace v. Canada. 1984. Communication No. 24/1977, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/OP/1.
  12. Alyne Da Silva Pimentel Teixeira v. Brazil. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/docs/CEDAW-C-49-D-17-2008_en.pdf. Published 2011.
  13. Ibañez XA, Dekanosidze T. The State’s obligation to regulate and monitor private health care facilities: the Alyne da Silva Pimentel and the Dzebniauri cases. Public Health Rev. 2017;38(1):17. doi:10.1186/s40985-017-0063-6
  14. Press release: Brazil Takes Step to Implement Historic United Nations Ruling in Maternal Death Case. Center for Reproductive Rights website. https://www.reproductiverights.org/press-room/Brazil-Takes-Step-to-Implement-Historic-United-Nations-Ruling-in-Maternal-Death-Case%20. Accessed August 30, 2017. Published November 3, 2014.
  15. Heymann J, Cassola A, Raub A, Mishra L. Constitutional rights to health, public health and medical care: the status of health protections in 191 countries. Glob Public Health. 2013;8(6):639-653. doi:10.1080/17441692.2013.810765
  16. Yamin AE, Gloppen S, eds. Can Courts Bring More Justice to Health? Cambridge: Harvard University Press; 2011.
  17. Gross A, Flood C. The Right to Health in a Globalized World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press; 2014.
  18. WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). WHO website. http://www.who.int/fctc/text_download/en/. Published 2003. 
  19. Cabrera OA, Gostin LO. Human rights and the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: mutually reinforcing systems. Int J Law Context. 2011;7(3):285-303. doi:10.1017/S1744552311000139
  20. Allyn T. Trade, Human Rights and the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control: Just What the Doctor Ordered?. In: Cottier T, Pauwelyn J, Bürgi E, eds. Human Rights and International Trade. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2005:322-333.