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Everyone is entitled to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health. The right to health requires a number of essential elements: availability, accessibility, acceptability, quality, participation, and accountability. Protecting the right to health also means upholding many other rights that are determinants of health—from safe food and drinking water, to adequate sanitation, healthy working conditions and beyond. This requires a holistic approach from governments and societies to set effective health policies that leave no one behind. Human rights considerations, such as those related to investments in the minimum core obligations related to the right to health, have too often been missing from work related to development and economics.

Our work

UN Human Rights provides technical assistance and advice to governments and other stakeholders on essential interventions in health-related law and policy. We promote the integration of right to health standards in UN policy, tools and programmes. We help stakeholders frame their health principles in human rights terms. We also promote a “right to health” based approach to COVID-19, climate action, migration, reducing maternal and child mortality, and other topics. UN Human Rights collaborates with WHO, UNFPA and other UN entities related to the right to health.

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Learn more about our work on COVID-19

Who else is involved

Special Rapporteur on the right to health

The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health was established in 2002 and was most recently renewed by the Human Rights Council in October 2019. The Special Rapporteur monitors the situation of the right to health throughout the world, identifying trends and promoting the full realization of the right to health through dialogue with States and relevant actors.

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Special Rapporteur on leprosy

The Human Rights Council established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on leprosy in 2017 and extended it for another three years in 2020. The Special Rapporteur works on the elimination of discrimination against persons affected by leprosy and their family members.

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Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

This body of 18 independent experts monitors implementation of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights by its States parties. They do this by examining the reports by States parties on how the rights are being implemented, and by addressing concerns and recommendations to States.

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