Health and Human Rights

Launch of the Technical Guidance on the application of a human rights based approach to reduce and eliminate preventable under-5 child mortality and morbidity

September 18, Geneva – The Technical Guidance on the application of a human rights based approach to reduce and eliminate preventable mortality and morbidity of children under 5 years of age was launched at a high-level side event to the Human Rights Council. The Guidance was created to assist States and non-state actors in applying a human rights based approach in their efforts to reduce and eliminate preventable child mortality and morbidity.

Human rights, health policy-making and programming – A call for case study proposals

Member States have committed WHO to mainstream gender, equity and human rights and to establish an accountability mechanism to monitor the effectiveness of the mainstreaming process. Mainstreaming means that all health policy-making and programming by Member States and the Secretariat should integrate gender, equity and human rights. In order to contribute to the development of the accountability mechanisms with respect to human rights, a call for case study proposals is made.


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

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 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

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