Health for All: Justice for All – FCGH Manifesto 2012

Towards Health JusticeHealth for All: Justice for All
A Global Campaign for a Framework Convention on Global Health
(The FCGH Manifesto 2012)

• Vast inequalities in health between richer and poorer countries and within countries result in nearly 20 million avoidable deaths every year— and have for the past two decades. This represents 1 in every 3 deaths in the world. This social injustice is an assault on our values and shared humanity.

• These deaths are not sterile statistics. They are human lives extinguished. They are the anguish of a woman who dies in childbirth and her family’s grief, the pain of the sick child who suffers before dying young, the daily risks of the worker with no protection in the workplace, the constant struggle of the family without a toilet, running water, or enough food. And for millions, the cost of a life-saving surgery or medication may be a lifetime of poverty and debt.

• We insist on Health for All and Justice for All. We affirm that everyone has the right to the highest standard of physical and mental health. Achieving this human right demands committed governments, a powerful civil society, universal social protection, solidarity among people all over the world, and resources that exist but are denied to the poor.

The world fails nearly 20 million people every year, and fails billions more people whose lives are shattered by want and deprivation. To address at least a part of this injustice, we are launching a global campaign grounded in the human right to health, where governments assure the conditions in which everyone can be healthy.

Recognizing the strength of existing international law, yet how hard it is to utilize by the people who most need to assert their rights, we are calling for a Framework Convention on Global Health to give true force to international law and extend its reach into the communities where we live, to create the conditions for health and wellbeing for everyone.

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A Framework Convention on Global Health: A Catalyst for Justice

Catalyst fo justiceA Framework Convention on Global Health: a catalyst for justice

by Michel Sidibé & Kent Buse

Growing inequalities in wealth, gender and disability, as well as in other areas, constitute a grave and unconscionable affront to our common humanity. A mere decade ago, people living with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection were suffering the consequences of gross inequity. Treatment was becoming widespread in developed countries, but in the hardest hit, developing country communities, demands for treatment were met with derision and condescension. Africans, they told us, could barely tell time, let alone adhere to complex regimens. Today, more than 6 million Africans receive treatment for HIV infection and acquired immunodefficiency syndrome (AIDS) and global health leaders have begun to look forward to something formerly unimaginable: an AIDS-free generation.1

An unprecedented bottom-up social movement has made this possible.2  Arguing for the human right to health, advocates for patient rights and other advocacy groups campaigned for universal access to treatment, prevention, care and support for people living with HIV. The first high-level United Nations health summit, held in 2001, was devoted to AIDS,3 and successive high-level meetings on HIV/AIDS in 2006 and 2011 have produced political declarations – a form of soft law – setting out ambitious goals.4 Civil society continues to hold world leaders to account, and in 2012 186 countries have reported on progress towards attaining these goals. Such is the power of political mobilization.

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All Aboard The FCGH Express!

All aboardAll Aboard The FCGH Express!

(Posted on imaxi.org 4 Nov. 2016)

Over a year ago, a concept caught our attention and sparked our passions. We heard of the proposed Framework Convention on Global Health  (FCGH), an initiative to develop a legally-binding global health treaty based on the right to health, aimed at closing national and global health inequities. After many frustrating years of activism to advance the right to health, the FCGH idea seemed to be laying tracks in the right(s-based) direction.

We began to study the documents, to exchange e-mails with the welcoming Eric Friedman, point-person of the initiative, and started to mobilise a number of our peers and colleagues. Our interest was not only in the improvements the FCGH could bring to health and well-being, but also in the potential for community participation in the entire process — from drafting, organising and negotiating all the way to advocating for its ratification by individual governments in the future. We saw the development of the FCGH as an opportunity to build a broad-based collaboration between academics, experts and activists, and to practice the meaningful participation of many diverse and marginalised communities in the process. In other words, the practices and process of developing the FCGH excites us.

However, as we learned more, we realised that the initiative had been around for some eight years, circulating amongst a few well-known academics, mostly from prestigious institutions in the US and UK. Although we have been quite involved in global health activism, no one from our communities had ever heard about the FCGH initiative. An innovative idea that could move the world forward seemed to be stuck in the ‘Ivory Towers’.

The FCGH has a very impressive intellectual pedigree, but well-respected academics from elite institutions often have only a theoretical understanding of the realities of living with illness or disabilities while struggling with poverty, inequity or discrimination. Nor have many actually collaborated with any social activists on the ground. Perhaps this explains why, after some eight years, the FCGH initiative has had limited success reaching beyond colleagues working at universities, think-tanks, UN agencies and big NGOs to a broader base of people or organisations, specifically from the communities most in need of ‘health justice’.

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