FCGH – Establishing International Benchmarks for Accountability and Justiciability

FCGH – Establishing International Benchmarks for Accountability and Justiciability for the Right to Health

The distinction of Human Rights into two genres, to wit: Primary (‘Fundamental rights’) and Secondary (‘Economic, Social and Cultural {ECOSOC} rights‘), though basically theoretical, assumes a life of its own in jurisdictions where this dichotomy is entrenched as law or in a territory’s constitution. Fundamental Rights refer to such rights as the Right to Life, Freedom of Movement, Freedom of Association and mostly ‘political rights’; whilst ECOSOC rights refer to such rights as the right to education, housing and good environment, amongst others.

In most countries, Primary rights are justiciable (remedies for their violations can be secured through judicial processes); on the converse, Secondary rights are often non-justiciable (States cannot be compelled to provide these rights or ensure their enjoyment).

The right to health is often times classified as Secondary rights, and in some jurisdictions for some health issues, as tertiary. In a number of states, however, the right to Health is rendered non-justiciable. These rights are regarded as rights the state will accord its citizens whensoever the authorities consider their states have sufficient resources to accommodate such.

With the advent of increasingly invasive and modern technologies, the world has fast evolved into a global village where it takes mere hours for the most egregious of health situations to be transmitted and/or replicated from one corner of the globe to the other. It thus becomes imperative, for the health and safety of all wherever, that global minimum standards in accountability and justifiability for health rights be mutually agreed upon and enforced by all members of the international community.

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Hope Springs Anew for the FCGH and Right to Health

The Framework Convention on Global Health Alliance: Hope Springs Anew for the FCGH and Right to Health

By Eric Friedman

It is always spring for human rights. Old ideas embedded in fundamental values do not lose the boundless hope and energy of their birth. In a country that holds its first democratic election or peaceful transition of power, democracy is more than an idea and practice that has existed for centuries, but a new reality worthy of celebration as though a birth in the family, for it may be the new birth of a nation. Human rights are not only principles laid out nearly seven decades ago in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, with roots far deeper, but a constant struggle and promise — today’s cause, today’s hope.

And so it is with the proposed treaty on the right to health, the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), first proposed a decade ago. While we have seen significant improvements in global health in the ensuing years, the needs that it would address – health equity, accountability, participation, national and global governance for health, health financing – remain every bit as pressing today, fundamental to securing health justice and a healthy future. And like a country that has just experienced its first peaceful transition of power to a new government, or people exercising newfound freedoms, the FCGH is experiencing a rebirth.

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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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