chapter  5
Human rights and health equity
Pages 27

In terms of understanding the links between health and human rights it is useful to distinguish three different, but interacting, components (WHO 2002a). First, human rights violations can directly affect health: for example, torture, slavery, violence against women and children and harmful traditional practices. Secondly, the promotion of human rights, in particular those connected to the social determinants of health, for example rights to education, to food and nutrition, shelter and employment, lead to reduced vulnerability to ill health and promote health. Thirdly, health development can involve promotion or violation of human rights depending on how it affects rights such as the right to participation, freedom from discrimination, right to information and right to privacy. There is a reciprocal impact of health and human rights. The promotion, protection, restriction or violations of human rights have direct and indirect impacts on health and wellbeing, in the short, medium and long term.