• Promoting and protecting health and respecting, protecting and fulfilling human rights are inextricably linked, and every country in the world is now party to at least one human rights treaty that addresses health-related rights and the conditions necessary for health. The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights recognizes that “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family.” Download the complete brochure.

  • A US military veteran prepares to take his medication at Central Union Mission, in Washington, DC, which provides shelter for homeless men, on November 28, 2011.
    (New York) –The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) should expand treatment, overdose prevention, and housing programs to aid the unprecedented numbers of veterans affected by drug dependency, suicide, and overdose, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. An estimated more than one million US veterans take prescription opioids for pain, and nearly half of them use the drugs chronically, for more than 90 days.

  • Health Under AttackOver the past few years, the frequency and severity of attacks on health workers, patients, hospitals and clinics throughout the world have increased.

    In Pakistan and Nigeria, more than 70 polio vaccination workers have been killed. In Bahrain and Turkey, health workers have been arrested for providing care to individuals protesting government policies. In Syria, hundreds of patients and health workers have been arbitrarily arrested, killed and tortured, and hospitals and health clinics have been targeted and bombed.

    In 2012 and 2013 alone, the International Committee of the Red Cross identified 1,809 specific incidents in 23 countries in which violence was used against patients, health workers, ambulances or medical facilities.

    This report describes recent examples of attacks on health in order to raise attention to this issue among the global health community, the human rights community, and those responsible for the attacks. The escalating level of attacks targeted against health care must be recognized as a critical human rights issue. Global and national human rights institutions should take action to ensure that practical steps are taken to protect health workers and facilities, and protect access to health care for all who need it.

    Download the Report (PDF)