PHM-Exch> Agreement signed between WHO and UN Human Rights agency to advance work on health and human rights

Claudio Schuftan cschuftan at
Wed Nov 29 07:22:57 PST 2017

From: rajat khosla rajat.khosla at [ESCR-Right-to-Health] <
ESCR-Right-to-Health-noreply at>

21 NOVEMBER 2017 | Geneva - Today marked a significant milestone for health
and human rights as WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and
High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein signed an
agreement to deepen collaboration between their agencies. The agreement –
formally called a Framework for Cooperation – responds to the
recommendations of the High Level Working Group for the Health and Human
Rights of Women, Children and Adolescents.

The Working Group on the Health and Human Rights of Women, Children and
Adolescents, co-chaired by H.E. Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland
and Ms. Hina Jilani of the Elders, was established by WHO and OHCHR to
identify practical recommendations to better operationalize human rights to
achieve the targets in the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and
Adolescents’ Health (2016-2030).

The Working Group launched its seminal report at the World Health Assembly
in May and the Human Rights Council in June of this year – the first report
of its kind to be formally considered by both bodies. The report makes the
case that health and human rights are intrinsically linked – that health
cannot be improved if rights are not upheld, and rights cannot be realized
without the pre-condition of good health. The report makes an emphatic call
for strong political will and leadership at the highest levels to realize
human rights to health and through health.

“This is a landmark moment,” said High Commissioner Zeid at the signing.
“It is also a testament to the strong working relationship that already
exists between WHO and OHCHR, and has great potential to move this
important work ahead where it matters most – in countries.”

The WHO-OHCHR Framework of Cooperation spells out several ways in which the
two agencies will strengthen their collaboration, including building
capacity at country level to implement rights-based approaches, and
strengthening the way in which health issues are considered by existing
human rights mechanisms. The initial term of the Framework of Cooperation
is four years, and both agencies will review progress annually.

At the signing, WHO Director-General Dr Tedros noted that, “a human
rights-based approach to health is essential to achieving my top priority
as DG – universal health coverage. No one should get sick and die just
because they are poor, or because they cannot access the health services
they need.”

Starting tomorrow, Member States will gather in Geneva for a special
session of WHO Executive Board to discuss the organization’s Global
Programme of Work (GPW) for 2019-2023. In the GPW, WHO commits to promoting
the implementation of gender equality, equity and rights-based approach to
health that enhance participation, build resilience, and empower
communities to realize their right to health.

"This Framework of Cooperation – a first for WHO and OHCHR – is a bold step
towards strengthening our cooperation, and advancing the right to health
for all people. I look forward to the fruit that it will bear,” said Dr
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