The Dynamics of Health as a Human Right; Thoughts of the UNHRC

By ONIKOSI ANUOLUWATOYOSI, THE TIMES OF INDIA

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The UNHRC Debates on Health as a human right 11/02/2016.

Health is a crucial issue in most parts of the world today and it is highly deplorable that most developing countries in the world do not consider health as of paramount importance to be considered a human right. The right to health is a pressing issue that should be considered along sides the right to life, food, work and education. This right is however being greatly ignored by many states: so little money is expended by states on implementing the right to health. There has been a consensus of all the Member States of the United Nations to move access to health care from a second generation to first generation right. The state of India. for instance, has an abysmal health care system and spends the least of its resources on developing the healthcare system. The same goes for countries in Africa and other countries in Asia.

The ongoing deliberations by the United Nations Human Rights council today adopted the topic of health as human rights over the topic of the human rights offenses of multinational corporations. The debates and deliberations are ongoing in the United Nations circle but many states are very reluctant to guarantee health as a fundamental human right and, as such, do not have very clear positions. A glimpse from the debates so far shows that some states are very skeptical about making health a human right due to much financial obligations. However what most of these states fail to realize is that the access to healthcare, if guaranteed, can only help boost the growth and developments of the states. If the citizens are given access to good health care, more citizens would be able to work, fostering growth and development in the state.

The delegate from Saudi Arabia gave a moving presentation about the rate of child mortality, deaths, and poverty all over the globe:

“How many more millions of lives will have to be lost before we consider that this topic is a crucial issue?” the Delegation from Saudi Arabia asked.

The delegation from Saudi Arabia emphasized the importance of health care and the loss of many lives due to the poor health care systems in many countries. Other countries such as Nigeria and India, however, took into consideration the downstream economic effects that guaranteeing the right to health would have on their states as well as many other developing countries.

“The right to health needs an economic foundation to be effective” said the delegate from India.

The delegate from Ireland, however, believes that states must utilize whatever resources they have to guarantee the right to health as a fundamental right.

Although the discussions of the right to health have increased in the past few years, there has not been a binding framework for the minimum obligations of all of the United Nation Member States. It makes one wonder whether the states aren’t interested in reducing the rate of poverty, increasing the working population, and benefiting greatly from the many positive downstream effects that implementing this core right would have on the states and the world in general.

Recognizing and embracing the current United Nations Principle on the Indivisibility and Interdependence of all Human Rights: all human rights, whether they are economic, social, civil, or political, are all interdependent on one another and are indivisible. Hence the right to life embraces the right to health and the right to work and the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.  The right to health is not only linked to the right to life, but the right to live with dignity in an inclusive society. States must therefore live up to their responsibility in caring for their citizens. They must utilize whatever resources they have in providing access to healthcare and ensure that they make a cohesive bill that includes the guarantee of the the right to health in their states.

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