UN Special Adivser focuses on health on Human Rights Day

10 DECEMBER 2012 | GENEVA – On the occasion of the UN Human Right Day, celebrated on Monday 10 December, WHO welcomed Professor Paul Hunt, United Nations’ Special Adviser and former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, who spoke about how human-rights based approaches, including the right to participation, are crucial in areas such as women’s and children’s health and mental health. This year’s Human Rights Day campaign focused on inclusion and the right to participate in public life and Professor Hunt spoke that day at a luncheon seminar at the World Health Organization on the “Human Rights Based Approach to Maternal and Child Health: Evidence of a health impact?”

Interview with Prof Hunt

Professor Hunt explained how “applying a human rights approach does not bring magic solutions […but] is one way to understand what’s going on and what action may bring solutions closer. This approach is particularly valuable with its insistence on accountability, which is often neglected in the health sector”. Professor Hunt added that “[t]he human rights approach […] offers many different ways of improving health.” He highlighted on-going work by WHO and partners in the area of human rights based approaches to maternal and child mortality as well as how a rights-based approach can help health professionals to achieve their professional objectives.