Posts Tagged ‘right to health’

Coalition of 187 global organisations issues joint statement re the impact of Covid-19 pandemic on LGBTI

June 11, 2020

Drafted by ILGA World, the International Service for Human Rights (ISHR), COC, OutRight Action International, the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex Rights (RFSL), GATE and ARC International, the statement was submitted to the United Nations Human Rights Council in advance of its 44th session on 22 June 2020.

The statement addresses several issues, including:

  • the right to health;
  • the rise of stigma and discrimination and scapegoating of LGBTI persons;
  • access to housing, water and sanitation;
  • the right to work and impacts on livelihood; and
  • civic space restrictions.

While acknowledging that actions to combat the COVID-19 pandemic are urgent and necessary, signatories of the statement urge UN Member States and stakeholders to ensure that international human rights obligations are complied with, and specific vulnerabilities of LGBTI persons are taken into account, during the implication of such emergency response measures.

Five key recommendations to States and stakeholders are included in the statement, including:

  • ensure accessibility of health care and services to every person, including sexual and reproductive health, without discrimination of any kind;
  • comply with international human rights laws and standards when implementing emergency measures, following requirements of legality, necessity, proportionality and non-discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC);
  • guarantee that shelters are inclusive for all persons regardless of their SOGIESC and implement measures allowing LGBTI persons to report violence and discrimination suffered in a private context, including at homes and shelters;
  • ensure that emergency measures to address the socio-economic impacts of the pandemic, as well as recovery plans, are inclusive to LGBTI persons – especially to trans, older and homeless LGBTI persons; and
  • ensure access to national, regional and international systems of accountability. States and stakeholders should implement lines of action designed to sustain and ensure the continuity of the engagement of civil society and human rights defenders in UN bodies and mechanisms.

In its conclusion, the statement urges authorities ‘to ensure that this public health emergency will neither exacerbate existing misconceptions, prejudices, inequalities or structural barriers, nor lead to increased violence and discrimination against persons with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and sex characteristics.’

See also: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2020/05/18/17-may-was-international-day-against-homophobia-covid-19-makes-things-worse/

https://www.curvemag.com/us/ibahri-signs-joint-statement-on-the-impact-of-covid-19-on-lgbti-persons-human-rights/

Internet shutdowns in times of COVID-19 could cost lives

April 2, 2020

Intentionally shutting down or restricting access to the internet violates multiple rights and can be deadly during a health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic, Human Rights Watch said on 31 March 2020. Governments that are currently imposing an internet shutdown, such as Bangladesh, Ethiopia (it just announced restoring service), India, and Myanmar, should lift them immediately to save lives. During a health crisis, access to timely and accurate information is crucial. People use the internet for updates on health measures, movement restrictions, and relevant news to protect themselves and others.

Human rights in the response to HIV: a UN consultation

June 6, 2019

HIV and AIDS used to be a major and controversial topic. It has now moved a bit to the background but is still most relevant. This also shows some of the good work the UN is doing that many people dont know about:

In accordance with Human Rights Council resolution 38/8, a consultation on human rights in the response to HIV was held in Geneva on 12 and 13 February 2019. It was attended by a wide range of stakeholders, including representatives of Member States and of United Nations agencies, funds and programmes, special procedure mandate holders, experts and members of civil society, including persons living with, presumed to be living with, at risk of or affected by HIV. During the consultation, participants examined best practices, evidence, lessons learned and the challenges faced when removing human rights barriers and the promotion of human rights in the response to HIV in regional and subregional strategies. Participants discussed issues and challenges pertaining to the respect for and the promotion of human rights in the response to HIV, with a focus on regional and subregional strategies and best practices. The full report published on 1 May 2019 can be found in the link below. These are the recommendations made at the consultation.

Recommendations

Participants made a number of recommendations during the consultation, particularly with regard to regional and subregional strategies and best practices:

(a)States should remove structural barriers, including discriminatory laws and policies, and apply human rights-based approaches to the response to HIV, putting people living with HIV at the centre of their policies, programmes and practices. In order not to leave anyone behind, States should increase their efforts to reach the most marginalized women and adolescents, key populations vulnerable to HIV, including gay men and other men who have sex with men, sexworkers, people who use drugs, transgender people, and persons in prisons and other closed settings. Communities should be involved in the design, implementation and delivery of policies, programmes and practices.

(b)States should review their laws in accordance with international human rights law. In order to improve the human rights aspect in the response to HIV, States and their parliaments could collaborate at the regional and subregional levels to develop human rights-based normative content to inspire the domestication of laws at the national level. In order to reach Sustainable Development Goal target 3.3 and to leave no one behind, States should adopt legislation, policies and practices that decriminalize sex work, drug use, same-sex relations, and gender identity and expression, and provide access to gender recognition.

(c)In order to improve the effectiveness of the response to HIV, States should strengthen cooperation at the regional, subregional and global levels to support and invest in programmes and services that promote the right to health and the rights of people living with HIV.

(d)Strengthened accountability is vital to ensure that the rights of people living with HIV, including the right to health, are promoted and respected. States should collaborate with regional human rights mechanisms and engage with them in good faith, and follow up on decisions and sentences made by such bodies with a view to effectively implementing them.

(e)National human rights institutions and civil society have an important role to play in strengthening human rights accountability. The shrinking space for civil society is a key driver in leaving behind people living with HIV, particularly key populations. States should respect, protect and promote civil society space, provide an enabling regulatory and funding environment that allows civil society to work at the national, regional and subregional levels, and repeal laws that create barriers to the activities of civil society bodies. Civil society should be empowered to collect data, address human rights violations, participate in policymaking and decision-making, implementation and monitoring, including on issues relating to HIV and the rights of people living with HIV. In order to improve its effectiveness,civil society could cooperate at the regional level on joint advocacy efforts, including with regional mechanisms.

(f)In the current context of shrinking donor funding for HIV and health programmes, including in newly transitioned middle-income States, programmes aimed at removing barriers to human rights can be affected, particularly with regard to the rights of key populations. The retraction of global health funding in States transitioning to middle-income, without corresponding investment by domesticfunds, can lead to the loss of funding for services and rights programmes and advocacy for key populations, making them even more vulnerable. The Human Rights Council could develop guiding principles for health donors, which would be based on human rightsand should be formulated in coordination with UNAIDS and in consultation with States, key populations, communities and donors.

(g)States should review and adopt legislation, programmes and policies to combat stigma and discrimination, violence and abuseagainst people living with or at risk of HIV, with particular attention to key populations. States should work with United Nations agencies, civil society, communities and key populations to invest in programmes, education and other actions to eliminate HIV-related stigma and discrimination in all areas of life, including through the Global Partnership for Action to Eliminate All Forms of HIV-related Stigma and Discrimination. Regional and subregional networks have an important role to play in raising awareness and eliminating stigma and discrimination.

(h)States should ensure that universal health coverage promotes both the health and rights of all persons, including the most marginalized, such as people living with HIV and key populations, and addresseshuman rights barriers to health. States should ensure that human rights, including the right to health of persons living with HIV, are integrated into discussions on universal health coverage, including in the lead-up to the high-level meeting of the General Assembly on universal health coverage and in its outcome document

UN Human Rights Council

One million $ for Waris Dirie and her fight against FGM

February 17, 2019

Some prizes come with serious money such as the 2019 Sunhak Peace Prize. On 9 February, 2019 PRNewswire reported that Dr. Hak Ja Han Moon, co-founder of the Korean Family Federation for World Peace and Unification (FFWPU) awarded one million dollars (USD) to this year’s Sunhak Peace Prize laureates, Waris Dirie and Akinwumi Ayodeji Adesina, as part of her philanthropic work. The biennial award honors individuals and organizations who have made significant contributions to the peace and welfare of future generations. The award ceremony took place on 9 February 2019 in Seoul, South Korea.

Waris Dirie, model and human rights activist, brought the violence of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) on the world stage by raising FGM as an international human rights issue and assisting in passing a UN resolution banning its practice. The Sunhak Committee acknowledged Waris Dirie’s achievements in advocating for the rights of millions of women and girls in Africa.

Thank you for your recognition. Thank you for everything that comes with it, this beautiful peace prize. It’s all I dreamed [of] as a child. All I wanted was peace and to receive this, this is a great gift to me…You giving me a peace prize, it’s because I believe in peace,” stated Ms. Dirie during the press conference.

As a victim of FGM herself, having been circumcised at the tender age of five in Somalia, she quit a successful career as a supermodel and dedicated the past 25 years to making FGM a recognized worldwide human rights crisis. She served as UN Special Ambassador for the Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation from 1997 to 2003.

Her advocacy focuses on education as the fundamental key to eradicating FGM and empowering women and girls to have the knowledge they need to protect themselves. She emphasizes the fact that until women have equal respect, there cannot be lasting peace. In 2002, she founded the Desert Flower Foundation, an organization aimed at raising awareness of the dangers surrounding FGM. The Foundation raises money for schools and clinics in her native Somalia and supports the Zeitz Foundation, an organization focused on sustainable development and conservation. She also runs FGM reconstruction surgery centers in Europe. In January 2009, she started the PPR Foundation for Women’s Dignity and Rights, an organization founded along with French businessman François-Henri Pinault and his wife, Hollywood actress Salma Hayek.

http://www.familyfed.org/

https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/2019-sunhak-peace-prize-awarded-to-waris-dirie-300792771.html

Sasakawa Yōhei of Japan wins International Gandhi Peace Prize 2018

January 26, 2019

On January 16 2019, the government of India announced that the International Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 would go to Nippon Foundation Chairman Sasakawa Yōhei, for his efforts toward eradicating Hansen’s disease (leprosy) in India and elsewhere around the world.

Nippon Foundation Chairman Sasakawa Yōhei.
Nippon Foundation Chairman Sasakawa Yōhei.

Sasakawa, now 80, has worked for more than half of his life to combat Hansen’s disease and the social stigma associated with it. Serving in recent years as the World Health Organization’s Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, he has focused in particular on India, which has the world’s largest population of sufferers of the disease, making repeated visits to the colonies where they were historically segregated and promoting measures to restore their economic autonomy and combat prejudice against them in society.

Asked for comment, Sasakawa remarked: “It was a tremendous honor to receive word of this recognition in this, the 150th year since the birth of Mahatma Gandhi, who strove during his life to secure proper treatment for Hansen’s disease sufferers.”

For more information on this award and 3 others with Gandhi in their name see: http://www.trueheroesfilms.org/thedigest/awards/gandhi-peace-prize-india.

https://www.nippon.com/en/news/l00245/japan’s-sasakawa-yohei-wins-international-gandhi-peace-prize-for-hansen’s-disease-work.html

World Health Organization reconsidering Mugabe as “goodwill ambassador”

October 22, 2017

he head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, is rethinking his decision to name Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, as a goodwill ambassador.  The move provoked global outrage. WHO member states and activists alike noted that Zimbabwe’s health care system, like many of its public services, has collapsed under Mugabe’s regime. I’m listening. I hear your concerns. Rethinking the approach in light of WHO values. I will issue a statement as soon as possible,” Tedros, a former Ethiopian health minister, tweeted on Saturday night.

The Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, came closest when he said he thought Mugabe’s appointment “was a bad April Fool’s joke”. [see: https://humanrightsdefenders.blog/2015/10/23/mugabe-wins-chinese-peace-prize-this-time-for-real/]

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said it was an embarrassment to give the ambassador role to Mr Mugabe, because his “utter mismanagement of the economy has devastated health services”. The main opposition party in Zimbabwe, MDC, described the appointment as “laughable”…“Mugabe trashed our health delivery system. He and his family go outside of the country for treatment in Singapore after he allowed our public hospitals to collapse.”

The Human Rights Foundation (HRF) also condemned the decision by the World Health Organization (WHO): “The irony of the World Health Organization’s decision to praise Robert Mugabe is staggering. This a strongman infamous for seeking medical attention for himself abroad. His recent visits to Singapore for medical treatment have cost Zimbabwean taxpayers tens of millions of dollars. Mugabe can’t get adequate treatment in his own country because his kleptocratic regime has left Zimbabwe’s hospitals and health industry in a state of ruin,” said HRF president Thor Halvorssen. “Dr. Tedros should nullify Mugabe’s appointment immediately and also issue a strong public condemnation of his repressive rule”.

Sources:

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/oct/21/un-lambasted-after-naming-mugabe-goodwill-ambassador

HRF condemns World Health Organization for appointing Robert Mugabe as “goodwill ambassador”

Health workers under attack: a major new report

May 18, 2014

In a 28-page report, Under Attack: Violence against health workers, patients and facilities, Human Rights Watch and the Coalition “Safeguarding Health in Conflict” highlight recent attacks in countries around the world. Major examples include the targeted killing of more than 70 polio vaccination workers in Pakistan and Nigeria; the arrests of health workers for providing care to protesters in Bahrain and Turkey; the bombing of hospitals and deaths of hundreds of patients and health workers in Syria; and attacks targeting health workers in South Sudan and AfghanistanThe report is released in advance of a meeting from 19-24 May 2014, of health ministers from around the world.

 

Full report: https://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/related_material/HHR0514_brochure_LOWRES.pdf

 

Armenian HRD says: Hospitals charge extra sums from parents

August 1, 2013

Here an example of what an ‘official’ human rights defender (the Armenian Ombudsman with the somewhat confusing title HRD)  can do in the area of social rights:

Armenia’s Human Rights Defender (HRD) issued a statement saying that the HRD has already examined omissions in the State Child Health Certificate Program in his previous annual report. Under the program children under the age of 7 shall receive free medical care. Yet parents, while having the necessary documents for free health care, often have to pay extra money to some doctors. “A year has passed since the problem was raised, but there has been no progress. Moreover, the Defender continues receiving complaints about such violations, especially complaints about Austrian Mother and Child Hospital of Gyumri CJSC. The Defender officially informed the Health Minister about it, but he has not received any definite answer about whether those guilty were held accountable or not. The Human Rights Defender, Karen Andreasian, calls upon citizens to apply to the HRD Staff in case of encountering such a problem.

via HRD: Hospitals charge extra sums from parents – aysor.am – Hot news from Armenia.

 

Indian human rights defender Madhuri Ramakrishnasway arrested on fabricated charges

May 21, 2013

On 16 May 2013, human rights defender and maternal health activist Ms Madhuri Ramakrishnasway was arrested outside the court in Barwani in Madhya Pradesh, in a case brought against her after a protest. Madhuri Ramakrishnasway is a leader of Jagrit Adivasi Dalit Sangathan (JADS), a tribal and Dalit Rights Collective which has been working for fourteen years in Madhya Pradesh. Advocacy organisations often come together under the banner of JADS to hold peaceful protests in order to raise awareness of the extremely poor health care for women in pregnancy and labour. Sit-in protests are now taking place outside police stations in the district in solidarity with the human rights defender.  Read the rest of this entry »

Indonesian activists detained for investigating lack of medical treatment in Tambrauw, Papua

April 18, 2013

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information regarding the detention of two activists by the Sausapor Sub-District Police in Papua, Indonesia. The activists were taken from their house to the police station and were being interrogated in relation to an investigation they conducted regarding the death of villagers in Tambrauw Regency due to the lack of medical treatment. It was reported that the two activists as well as others who were engaged in the investigation were previously followed by police officers.

According to the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Desk of Protestant Church in Tanah Papua GKI-TP, Yohanis Mambrasar and his father, Hans Mambrasar, were taken from their house at Werur Village on 8 April 2013 at 12.20pm by two police officers wearing civilian clothes. The two officers who were identified as Darius Burdam and Sucipto from Sausapor Sub-District Police took the two activists on a black pickup truck to Sausapor Sub-District police where they were interrogated in two separate rooms. He was questioned on the investigation he conducted with his father and other activists regarding the death of Papuans in Tambrauw regency during November 2012 to March 2013, due to the lack of medical treatment. According to Yohanis and information gathered by other activists, the villagers were suffering from various sicknesses including diarrhoea and malnutrition and the lack of medical treatment resulted in the death of the villagers. The two police officers asked Yohanis regarding organisations in Papua which are against the Indonesian government as well as the name of organisations he is working with. Yohanis was later released without any charge on the same day.

Yohanis’ father, Hans Mambrasar, was interrogated separately by four officers wearing civilian clothes, along the same lines as his son. Hans, who is also a priest, was further asked by the police on the source of the funding. Hans was also released by the police without any charge on the same day.

via INDONESIA: Activists are detained by the police for reporting deaths due to lack of medical treatment in Tambrauw, Papua — Asian Human Rights Commission.