Health and Human Rights

“Every woman, every child, every day”

#rights365 Campaign says Human Rights Day is every day

10 DECEMBER 2014 / GENEVA – This year’s #rights365 campaign focuses on the message that human rights are for everyday---not only for the one day set aside by the international community to mark the commitment made in 1948 to respect and protect fundamental freedoms laid out in the ‘Universal Declaration of Human Rights’. “Human Rights Day - for all that we have achieved – is a heartbreaking reminder of the tough reality faced by too many women, adolescents and children around the world every day,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, Assistant Director-General for WHO’s Women’s and Children’s Health Cluster.

190 countries sign Child Rights Convention

Celebrating 25 years of the Convention on the Rights of the Child

20 NOVEMBER 2014 | GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - On 20 November 1989, the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted a landmark – the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The Convention recognises that children are human beings and more than just ‘passive objects of care and charity’ who are entitled to the enjoyment of a distinct set of rights in accordance with their specific needs. The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely and rapidly adopted international treaty of all time, with more than 190 member states having ratified it.

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.


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