CFS: Health and Human Rights

Health and Human Rights  is currently seeking articles for future issues. Accepted contributions will be published in the journal’s open access electronic and print versions. Articles are invited for “Critical Concepts” (5,000-7,000 words) and for “Health and Human Rights in Practice” (5000-7,000 words). Upcoming issues will focus on three distinct themes: Participation; Non-discrimination and Equality; and International Assistance and Cooperation (see below for more information on each theme). Please send submissions in Word document format to  

Health and Human Rights is an international journal dedicated to scholarship and praxis that advance health as an issue of fundamental human rights and social justice. It seeks to provide a forum for academics, practitioners, and activists from public health, human rights, and related fields to explore how rights-based approaches to health can be implemented in practice. In so doing, it contributes to fostering a global movement for health and human rights. Praxis implies a steady, mutually-reinforcing interplay between thought and action. Accordingly, each issue of Health and Human Rights includes two synergistic sections. The first, entitled “Critical Concepts,” examines the conceptual foundations of a human rights approach to health through rigorous scholarship. The second, “Health and Human Rights in Practice,” provides a forum to analyze challenges and solutions in implementing rights-based approaches to health.

Issue 11:1 Participation (Submissions due: December 1, 2008; French and Spanish submissions: November 15, 2008) Meaningful participation or agency is key to the true realization of the right to health, as well as with all human rights. However, participation can mean very different things to different actors. Indeed, participation can all too easily be paid lip service in the design of programs that are otherwise entirely centralized. This issue will explore what distinguishes a rights-based understanding of participation in theory and practice. What are disputed or problematic questions relating to community participation from a rights perspective? What is the relationship between participation and access to information and accountability? Practice examples from advocacy organizations as well as programs and projects, which have incorporated participatory strategies or faced challenges relating to this dimension of a rights-based approach, are especially welcome.

Issue 11:2 Non-Discrimination and Equality (Submissions due: February 15, 2009; French and Spanish submissions: January 15, 2008) Non-discrimination is perhaps the most fundamental principle underlying all of human rights. Under international law, health- related rights, as are all human rights, are to be guaranteed ?without discrimination of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status? (International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, Article 2). Related to the emphasis on non-discrimination in human rights is a core notion that all people are equal in dignity and rights and that it is the obligation of the state to ensure that equality. Yet, notions of equality and non-discrimination have yet to be fully developed as they apply to health policy and programming. This issue will critically explore these concepts in theory and practice. For example, what does equality actually mean when we are rolling out or scaling up services, or determining resource allocations in health? What dimensi ons of inequality result in inequity? What are the grounds for advancing substantive, as opposed to formal equality, in respect of preconditions for health and access to care? Further, how is the concept of non-discrimination related to but distinct from development concepts of social exclusion?

Issue 12:1International Assistance and Cooperation (Submissions due: August 1, 2009; French and Spanish submissions: July 1, 2009) The ability of poor countries to realize the right to health, as well as to fulfill other human rights obligations relating to social determinants of health, must be understood within the context of the global political economy. According to Article 2 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: ?Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to take steps, individually and through international assistance and co-operation, especially economic and technical, to the maximum of its available resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full realization of the rights recognized in the present Covenant by all appropriate means, including particularly the adoption of legislative measures? (italics added). Thus, donor countries assume human rights obligations directly and as members of international organizations, such as the World Bank, IMF and regional development banks. UN and international agencies, as well as transnational corporations under certain circumstances, may also have human rights obligations relating to health. This issue will critically explore how these international obligations are being defined and discharged, and existing mechanisms to hold donor states and other actors accountable for their human rights obligations, as well as the challenges to expanding the human rights regime to focus on actors beyond the immediate nation-state in which a violation is occurring.


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