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Right to health: UN expert appeals for ‘Healthvision’ in Azerbaijan during Eurovision song contest

BAKU (23 May 2012) – The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Anand Grover, urged* the Government of Azerbaijan to increase health expenditure up to international standards. At the end of his eight-day mission to the country, he said that the increase in health expenditure was necessary xto ensure the country’s considerable wealth is utilised towards improving the health of its people.

“When the Government is determined it can achieve results,” said Mr. Grover, expressing his joy to be in Azerbaijan during the Eurovision song contest and acknowledging the authorities’ efforts towards this year’s celebration of the international event. “This is an opportune time to pause and think whether the Government’s investment on people’s health is sufficient to realize the right to health for all”.

“The people of Azerbaijan deserve nothing less,” the UN expert said referring to the lyrics of the Azerbaijani entry in the Eurovision song contest, ‘When the music dies’, “The time has come for Azerbaijan to show the same determination and embrace a Healthvision before the music dies.”

The Special Rapporteur visited Azerbaijan from 16 to 23 May 2012 at the invitation of the Government, to assess issues related to the realization of the right to health in the country, including specific human rights dimensions of health financing, tuberculosis (TB), and health care in prisons and detention centres.

Mr. Grover, who is charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor the implementation of the right to health, met with Government officials and representatives of international organizations and civil society. He also visited health facilities, prisons and prison hospitals, and specialized clinics for people suffering from tuberculosis (TB) and multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB).

The Special Rapporteur is an independent expert appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to help States, and others, promote and protect the right to the highest attainable standard of health (right to health). Anand Grover (India) is co-founder and Director of the Lawyers Collective HIV/AIDS Unit and the Senior Counsel in India. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Health/Pages/SRRightHealthIndex.aspx

(*) Read the full end-of-mission statement by the Special Rapporteur: www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=12181&LangID=E

OHCHR Country page – Azerbaijan: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/ENACARegion/Pages/AZIndex.aspx

For press inquiries and additional information, please contact Jamshid Gaziyev (+ 41 794444917 / srhealth@ohchr.org), or in Baku, Kamran Baghirov (+994 124970869 / kamran.baghirov@ohchr.un-az.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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