Violence and Injury Prevention

Violence, health and human rights

Various forms of violence have been recognized as human rights issues, including harmful traditional practices, torture, trafficking, violence against women, and violence against children. Less attention is given, however, to the concept that the degree to which human rights are respected, protected and fulfilled directly influences the underlying societal conditions that give rise to violence. Several risk factors shared by multiple types of violence--for example poverty, high unemployment rates, gender inequality, racial discrimination, and weak economic and social safety nets--are closely linked to human rights such as the right to equality and freedom from discrimination, the right to education, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to social security. One of the nine major recommendations of the World report on violence and health is to promote and monitor adherence to international treaties, laws and other mechanisms to protect human rights. While human rights must be promoted and fulfilled for their own sake, and not merely as a means of reducing violence, policy-makers interested in violence prevention must understand that widespread guarantee of human rights will dramatically improve the conditions that make people vulnerable to violence.


  • Carrillo R. Overview of international human rights standards and other agreements and responses of the judicial system to violence against women. International Journal of Gynaecology & Obstetrics. 78 Suppl 1:S15-20, 2002 Sep.
  • Special Focus: Violence, Health and Human Rights, Health and Human Rights, 2003, 6(2).