On Human Rights Day, Recognize Good Health As ‘A Right For Every Citizen, Not A Privilege’

The Lancet: Remembering the right to health
Editorial Board

“Dec. 10 marks Human Rights Day. … The International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights is the most pertinent [of two landmark international covenants on human rights]. Article 12 calls for countries to recognize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. … [W]orldwide, failure to invest in health systems, tackle the social determinations of health, and address harmful policies and practices frequently increases the risk of ill health, especially for poor, marginalized populations. In the lead-up to the 50th anniversary of the Covenant and the start of the new era of the Sustainable Development Goals, countries should remember what the document enshrines and what the right to health actually means. Good health — and the conditions that support it — are a right for every citizen, not a privilege” (12/12).