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Overview of the mandate

By its resolution 2002/31, the Commission on Human Rights decided to appoint, for a period of three years, a Special Rapporteur to focus on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as reflected in article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR), article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and article 12 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), as well as on the right to non-discrimination as reflected in article 5 (e) (iv) of the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD).

The Special Rapporteur is requested to:

(a) gather, request, receive and exchange right to health information from all relevant sources;

(b) dialogue and discuss possible areas of cooperation with all relevant actors, including Governments, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and programmes, in particular the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and international financial institutions;

(c) report on the status, throughout the world, of the right to health, including laws, policies, good practices and obstacles;

(d) make recommendations on appropriate measures that promote and protect the right to health.

The Special Rapporteur is further asked to apply a gender perspective and to pay special attention to the needs of children in the realization of the right to health, to take into account the relevant provisions, inter alia, of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action, and to bear in mind in particular General Comment No. 14 of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and General Recommendation No. 24 (Women and health) of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.

In addition, the Commission on Human Rights issued the following resolutions regarding the right to health and the mandate of the Special Rapporteur:

Session

Symbol

Title

Documents

61st

E/CN.4/RES/2005/24

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S

60th

E/CN.4/RES/2004/27

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S

59th

E/CN.4/RES/2003/28

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S

58th

E/CN.4/RES/2002/31

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S

Other resolutions of the Commission on Human Rights bearing upon right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health:

Session

Symbol

Title

Documents

58th

E/CN.4/RES/2002/32

Access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS

E F S

57th

E/CN.4/RES/2001/71

Human Rights and bioethics

E F S

57th

E/CN.4/RES/2001/33

Access to medication in the context of pandemics such as HIV/AIDS

E F S

The Commission on Human Rights was replaced by the Human Rights Council by the General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006. The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food was endorsed and extended by the Human Rights Council by its resolution 6/29 of 14 December 2007.

The scope of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health as established by resolution 6/29 consists of the following elements:

  • To gather, request, receive and exchange information from all relevant sources, including Governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations, on the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, as well as policies designed to achieve the health-related Millennium Development Goals;
  • To develop a regular initiate dialogue and discuss possible areas of cooperation with all relevant actors, including Governments, relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies and programmes, in particular the World Health Organization and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, as well as non-governmental organizations and international financial institutions;
  • To report on the status, throughout the world, of the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and on developments relating to this right, including on laws, policies and good practices most beneficial to its enjoyment and obstacles encountered domestically and internationally to its implementation;
  • To make recommendations on appropriate measures to promote and protect the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, with a view to supporting States’ efforts to enhance public health; ;
  • To submit an annual report to the Human Rights Council and an interim report to the General Assembly on its activities, findings, conclusions and recommendations.

The Human Rights Council further encourages the Special Rapporteur:

  • To continue to explore how efforts to realize the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health can reinforce poverty reduction strategies;
  • To continue the analysis of the human rights dimensions of the issues of neglected diseases and diseases particularly affecting developing countries, and also the national and international dimensions of those issues;
  • To continue to pay particular attention to the identification of good practices for the effective operationalization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
  • To continue to apply a gender perspective in her/his work and to pay special attention to the needs of children and other vulnerable and marginalized groups in the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
  • To pay due attention to the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of the realization of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
  • To continue to pay attention to sexual and reproductive health as an integral element of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health;
  • To continue to avoid in her/his work any duplication or overlapping with the work, competence and mandate of other international bodies active in health issues;
  • To submit proposals that could help the realization of the health-related Millennium Development Goals.

Resolutions and Decisions of the Human Rights Council

Session

Symbol

Title

Documents

6th

A/HRC/RES/6/29

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S A C R

 

2nd

A/HRC/DEC/2/108

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S A C R

1st

A/HRC/DEC/1/102

Extension by the Human Rights Council of all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities of the Commission on Human Rights

E F S A C R

Resolutions of the General Assembly

Session

Symbol

Title

Documents

60th

A/RES/60/251

Human Rights Council

E F S A C R

58th

A/RES/58/173

The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

E F S A C R