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The International Human Right to Health: What Does This Mean for Our Nation and World?


Eleanor D. Kinney


Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law


Indiana Law Review, Vol. 34, P. 1457, 2001

Abstract:     
This article offers some ideas about how the international human right to health, established in a variety of sources of international human rights law and general international law, creates a right to health care in the nations of the world. The article addresses the formidable question of the content of the international human right to health. It concludes that the international human right to health requires nation states to take affirmative steps to assure that their residents have access to population-based public health protection measures and also affordable health care services consistent with the nation's economic resources and cultural mores.

This article lays out the sources of international law that establish a human right to health for all people. These include international human rights treaties and customary international law. Second, the article suggests ideas for the implementation of a right to health throughout the world. Third, are offered observations about the potential impact of full recognition of the international human right to health on the people of all nations, including the United States.

The article suggests three approaches to the implementation of the international human right to health: (1) define universal outcome measures that measure compliance with the core state obligations of the human right to health; (2) establish systematic reporting to responsible international bodies to monitor progress on implementation and compliance with international human rights obligations, and (3) highlight civil rights violations, such as discrimination against protected groups, that inhibit access to health care services. These three approaches are realistic given the economic, social and cultural differences among the nations of the world. While these approaches are not comprehensive, they can do much to advance recognition and implementation of the international human right to health throughout the world.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 19

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Date posted: January 9, 2002  

Suggested Citation

Kinney, Eleanor D., The International Human Right to Health: What Does This Mean for Our Nation and World?. Indiana Law Review, Vol. 34, P. 1457, 2001. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=296394 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.296394

Contact Information

Eleanor D. Kinney (Contact Author)
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law ( email )
530 West New York Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202
United States
2741912 (Phone)
HOME PAGE: http://indylaw.indiana.edu/people/profile.cfm?Id=17

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