Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Khoo, S.
Irish Forum for Global Health Conference 29-30 November 2010
The Right to Health and the Right to Development: conceptual, legal and activist foundations
DCU Dublin
Poster Presentation
Optional Fields
29-NOV-10
30-NOV-10
The health rights of the poor provide a fundamental field of convergence between human rights in practice and rights-based approaches to development.  While the right to health is at the forefront of rights and development practice, the right to development remains highly contested and is less well understood or accepted. The Introduction presents three main concerns that comprise a common agenda for development and rights: recovering indivisibility, democratizing development and humanising rights. It suggests that there is utility in using the Right to Development to bridge Right to Health and ‘development’ concerns, when it is understood as an ‘umbrella concept and programme’ (Rosas 2001) and a processual ‘vector of all the different rights and freedoms (Sengupta 2002: 868). The broader discussion recalls the findings and recommendations of the Working Group on the Right to Development. Salama finds that, despite the current “institutional weaknesses andsubstantive complexities,” the RTD survives thanks to the “increasingly positive role” of the global partnerships for development. But in order to further develop its “institutional engineering…we need to rediscover the RTD as a guarantor of the indivisibility of all human rights.” (Salama, 2008: 117). This contribution is part of a set of three papers examining the ‘immediate action areas’ for the Right to Development: food, health and education’, with an overall objective of exploring in depth the common ground between these three action areas. The discussion gives a sense of the widening definition and scope of the Right to Health, but focuses specifically on the issues of participation, information/education and how the right to health can be claimed, especially by the poor in developing countries.  Section 2 examines normative foundations, concepts and criteria and reviews the legal framework and instruments, essentially Art 25 (1) UDHR pertaining to the right to a standard of living adequate for health and well-being and Art 12 (1) ICECSR, the ‘principal framework for understanding obligations’ for the right to health (Gruskin & Tarantola 2002). Art 12 (1) states the right of everyone to the ‘highest attainable standard of physical and mental health’, while Art. 12 (2) outlines steps needed to achieve full realisation of the right. CESCR General Comment 14 on the R2H (2000) provides clarification on the substantive issues arising from implementation of Article 12, highlighting the key criteria of availability (which includes underlying determinants and essential drugs policies), acceptability (which includes non-discrimination, economic accessibility and information), acceptability and quality.  Section 3 of the paper discusses the role of the WHO as the specialized agency with the global remit relevant to realizing the right to health and strategies for mobilizing of the right to health. This section discusses policy, advocacy and monitoring functions and the role of summit meetings, the Alma Ata Declaration (1978) and Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion (1986). It comments briefly on the role of data and monitoring and more broadly discusses the rise of global public health as a specific issue for global governance.  The final section of this paper, Section 4, reviews and comments upon the central role of civil society networks such as the People’s Health Movement and Health Action International in advocating, and giving substance to, the concept of the right to health while highlighting obstacles and conflicts between markets and needs. This section examines the current state of justiciability of the right to health, and looks at the use of assessment and monitoring to provide the means for accountability and policy engagement at country level, as well as a template for globally coordinated civic movement for health rights. 
Publication Themes