The Right to Health and International Humanitarian Law: Parallel Application for Building Peaceful Societies and the Prevention of Armed Conflict
43 Pages Posted: 25 Apr 2015
Date Written: April 23, 2015
Peace and health are mutually reinforcing. They overlap greatly within the wider circle of human well-being. To what extent do international human rights law (IHRL) (the right to health) and IHL oblige states to respect and promote this mutually beneficial relationship, and in particular, to prevent armed conflicts? After engaging with the question about the scope of application of the right to health and IHL in times of peace, the article shows that there are at least two areas where obligations under the right to health and relevant health-related obligations flowing from IHL can contribute to prevent international and non-international armed conflicts from occurring, and thereby to secure peace. First, IHL peacetime obligations can complement state obligations under the right to health to build an effective, integrated health system that provides quality health services to everyone without discrimination. Second, it is shown that in situations where an armed conflict is imminent, state obligations under the right to health encourage states to seek a peaceful solution. Overall, the analysis also highlights how the points of convergence of IHL and IHRL can be used to reinforce the rule of law in the area of health care already in times of peace.
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