Health and Human Rights

Publication Series

The following publications have been posted in Adobe PDF format and require the free Adobe Acrobat Reader to read them.

The WHO Health and Human Rights Publication Series aims to clarify the relationship between human rights and specific health topics.

Issue No. 1 "25 Questions and Answers on Health and Human Rights” lays the foundation for the rest of the series by suggesting answers to key questions which come to mind in exploring the linkages between health and human rights.

Issue No. 2 "WHO's Contribution to the World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance: Health and Freedom from Discrimination" considers the linkages between racial discrimination and health.

Issue No.3 “The Right to Water" has been replaced by Factsheet No. 35 'Right to Water'. The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat) and the WHO have issued a fact sheet on the Right to Water. This fact sheet starts by explaining what the right to water is, illustrates what it means for specific individuals and groups, and then elaborates upon State obligations with respect to the right. It concludes with an overview of national, regional and international accountability and monitoring mechanisms.

Issue No.4 "International Migration, Health and Human Rights" draws attention to important human rights issues that migration poses for health policy-makers internationally, such as the health implications of forced migration as well as detaining and screening migrants at the borders.

Issue No 5 "Human Rights, Health and Poverty Reduction Strategies" is intended to provide a tool for health policy-makers to design, implement and monitor a poverty reduction strategy through a human rights-based approach.


"The Right to Health" Cartoon has been developed in recognition of the fact that improving awareness and understanding of the right to health is an essential prerequisite to operationalizing this right.

"HIV Stand Up for Human Rights" cartoon launched by the United Nations Office for the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Joint Programme for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the World Health Organization (WHO), is designed to empower young people to promote human rights in relation to HIV/AIDS, to raise awareness of the key linkages between HIV/AIDS and human rights, to demystify the disease and to combat the myths and taboos associated with HIV and AIDS.

New publication on "Human Rights and Gender Equality in Health Sector Strategies : How to Assess Policy Coherence"

This tool, developed in collaboration between WHO, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) is designed to support countries to strengthen national health strategies by applying human rights and gender equality commitments and obligations. The tool poses critical questions to identify gaps and opportunities in the review or reform of health sector strategies.