Health and Human Rights

Working Papers

The WHO Working Paper series addresses a range of topical issues in the field of health and human rights. It consists of selected papers, written by researchers and experts, which do not necessarily represent the decisions or the stated policy of the World Health Organization. The papers are posted on the WHO Health & Human Rights website and are thereby accessible to everyone with access to the internet. To receive a hard copy or to have a paper considered for inclusion in the Working Paper series, please contact e-mail:

Working Paper Series No 1

This paper explores key dimensions of how health, human rights and the environment intersect in the context of sustainable development. It has been prepared for WHO by Dinah Shelton, Professor of Law, Notre Dame.

Working Paper Series No 2

In addition to improving health and ensuring equitable financing of health systems, the way health systems interact with individuals can impact on their well-being. WHO has termed this work health system "responsiveness". This paper provides an analysis of the domains of health responsiveness from a human rights perspective. It has been prepared by Lawrence Gostin, Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Professor of Public Health, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Director, Center for Law and the Publics Health and James G. Hodge, Adjunct Professor of Law, Georgetown University Law Center, Assistant Scientist, the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Project Director, Center for Law and the Publics Health together with Nicole Valentine, Health Economist, and Helena Nygren-Krug, Health and Human Rights Adviser, who both work at WHO.

Working Paper Series No 3

This paper explores the obligations of states with regards to non-state actors in the context of the right to health. It has been prepared for WHO by Andrew Clapham, Professor of Public International Law at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva and Mariano Garcia Rubio, research assistant at the Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva.

Working Paper Series No 4

In December 2003, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Paul Hunt, presented a draft working paper to the International Workshop on Intensified Control of Neglected Diseases, held in Berlin. The paper sets out the Special Rapporteur's preliminary observations on neglected diseases, social justice and human rights, and considers questions including: how do neglected diseases impact on human rights? What entitlements do human rights include that are relevant to neglected diseases? What obligations on States, and other actors, do these human rights give rise to?

The working paper will be developed and refined as part of an ongoing project of the Special Rapporteur with the WHO-UNDP-World Bank Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to develop a human rights analysis of neglected diseases. Any comments on the paper may be sent to the Special Rapporteur's attention at For further information about the work of the Special Rapporteur, please consult the website of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights .

Working Paper Series No 5

This paper outlines the legal framework for addressing the human rights issues that people, especially women and girls in developing countries, face in seeking HIV/AIDS-related health care services. It has been prepared for WHO by Gillian Mac Naughton with the support of INTERIGHTS, London.

Working Paper Series No 6

In response to demand for governments to carry out human rights impact assessments prior to adopting and implementing policies, programmes and projects, this paper reviews existing initiatives in the field and proposes a methodology for integrating the right to health into existing impact assessment tools.

Working Paper Series No 7

This paper provides an overview of existing impact assessment approaches and tools related to health and human rights, including gender equality. It represents work in progress and the author, Ilse Worm, welcomes feedback (email: