Global Community Must Recognize Health As Fundamental Human Right

Project Syndicate: The Right to Health Is Universal
Michel Sidibé, executive director of UNAIDS, and Dainius Puras, U.N. special rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health

“…Health … is a fundamental human right, encompassing both freedoms and entitlements. … Today, we call on world leaders to confront health injustices wherever they see them, and to take action to respect, protect, and uphold the right to health for all people. … Empowering global health citizens will require progress in at least three policy areas: popularizing participation, democratizing data, and eliminating discrimination. … It is clear that ending AIDS will require social — not just medical — breakthroughs. Governments must redouble their efforts to protect individuals against discrimination, and create effective mechanisms for people to seek redress when private or state actors violate their right to health. We call on all health care practitioners and institutions to resist discriminatory laws, policies, or practices. Safeguarding the right to health provides the foundation needed to enable everyone to realize their potential and their dreams. We should demand nothing less” (11/29).