Health and Human Rights

WHO Constitution: "the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being..."

"The world needs a global health guardian, a custodian of values, a protector and defender of health, including the right to health." Dr Margaret Chan, Director-General, WHO.

Every country in the world is now party to at least one human rights treaty that addresses health-related rights. This includes the right to health as well as other rights that relate to conditions necessary for health.

The role of the Health and Human Rights Team is to:

  • Strengthen the capacity of WHO and its Member States to integrate a human rights-based approach to health.

  • Advance the right to health in international law and international development processes.

  • Advocate for health-related human rights.

Health and Human Rights Linkages

Promoting and protecting health and respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights are inextricably linked.


Three students explore the key components of the right to health by reviewing international legal instruments and discussing how these apply in practice to the everyday lives of people around the world.

We… "call upon all parts of the United Nations to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with their mandates." - World Summit Outcome, GA res. 60/1 2005


Gender, Equity and Human Rights