The work of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights recognised for its exceptional contribution

The Medal of Distinction has been presented only twice before – to the World Health Organisation on its 60th Anniversary and posthumously to Sir Joseph Rotblat, a scientist who campaigned for a nuclear-free world and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

The Medal of Distinction: International Association for Humanitarian Medicine - © OHCHRThe International Association for Humanitarian Medicine – Brock Chisholm (IAHM) aligns itself with the constitution of the World Health Organisation, declaring that the enjoyment of the highest level of health attainable is one of the fundamental rights of every human being. 

At a presentation ceremony at OHCHR headquarters in Geneva, the President and Founder of IAHM, Professor William Gunn, spoke of the respect of his organisation for the idea and ideals of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the work of OHCHR.

Accepting the Medal on behalf of the Office, High Commissioner, Navi Pillay paid tribute to the Association.

“There are many people who deny that health is a human rights issue but OHCHR will continue working to have health recognized as a fundamental human right,” Ms Pillay said,

IAHM is a professional, non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded to support human rights and the principles of humanitarian medicine. To this end its major focus is the delivery of health in developing countries.

The Association has established the World Open Hospital, a network of doctors and hospitals who supply their services voluntarily to patients who are unable to be treated in their own countries. It also advocates for health initiatives, including lobbying universities to include a human rights component in their medical training.

April 2009