• 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.

  • Health workers remove the body of Prince Nyentee, a 29-year-old man whom local residents said died of Ebola virus in Monrovia, Liberia, on September 11, 2014.
    West African governments should ensure rights protections as a crucial element in controlling the unprecedented Ebola epidemic ravaging the region. Human Rights Watch expressed its sympathy to the families, friends, and colleagues of those who have died as a result of the Ebola outbreak, and recognized the courage of many health workers and others in caring for the sick.

  • 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)

     

Reports

Health

  • Oct 28, 2014
    Mexico, like much of the developing world, is facing a growing public health challenge – more people will be dying from chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes that often cause extreme pain. In 2009, Mexico passed a progressive law granting patients given less than six months to live access to palliative care, which focuses on treating pain and other symptoms. Palliative care is relatively low costAnchor – medicines such as morphine costs pennies per dose, although training staff can be more costly – and it can allow people to re-engage with life and pass away with dignity. Despite this law, little changed for Mexico’s terminally ill – at least at first. Associate Health Director Diederik Lohman talks about how Mexico came to embrace the necessity of pain relief, his work on palliative care around the world, and how it can give the terminally ill an opportunity for joy and meaning at the end of life.
  • Oct 27, 2014
    After a three-year legal battle to clear her name, the Oktyabrski District Court of Krasnoyarsk, a Siberian city 4,000 kilometers east of Moscow, on October 21 dropped charges of illegal drug trafficking and document forgery against Dr. Khorinyak, and a friend of the bed-ridden patient who took the medicine to him.
  • Oct 24, 2014
    (Mexico City) – Tens of thousands of patients with terminal illnesses in Mexico suffer unnecessarily from severe pain and other symptoms because they cannot access adequate end-of-life care, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.
  • Oct 22, 2014
  • Oct 10, 2014
    When I visited the small-scale — or “galamsey” — gold mines in the Ashanti Region earlier this year, I met “Kwame,” a quiet but self-assured 12-year-old. He dropped out of primary school about a year ago to help his mother feed his five younger siblings.
  • Oct 8, 2014
  • Oct 8, 2014
    The World Bank, international donors, and the government of Haiti should include an emphasis on water and sanitation in schools at the October 9, 2014 donors’ conference, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to a vice president at the World Bank. The conference in Washington, DC, is intended to galvanize greater financial commitments for clean water and improved sanitation and health in Haiti.
  • Oct 6, 2014

    (Geneva) – More than 8,200 people with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities in Croatia remain in segregated institutions and psychiatric hospitals with little control over decisions that affect their lives, Human Rights Watch said today. This week, the United Nations will review Croatia’s efforts to put into effect the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

  • Sep 23, 2014
    Governments should make an urgent commitment to protect people from the harmful effects of mercury by signing and ratifying the new Minamata Convention on Mercury. The Minamata Convention, adopted in October 2013, obliges governments to reduce mercury use and emissions globally and is an important tool to protect the right to health.
  • Sep 19, 2014
    Human Rights Watch regrets that the UPR indicates there has been no progress by the Equatorial Guinea government since its 2009 review. The many and serious concerns and valuable recommendations offered during this review closely correspond to recommendations that the government previously committed to address.