Right to health

The right to health refers as much to the absence of disease as the right to live in conditions of good physical, mental and social health. So, the right to health should not include the right to be healthy without the possibility of a range of facilities, goods, services and necessary conditions to achieve the highest possible level of heath.

The International Pact of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (PISDESC) recognizes the right to health through article 12 as “the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health”. The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) has interpreted health as an inclusive right that not only includes a timely and appropriate attention to health, but also other factors such as the access to drinking water, adequate supply of food, adequate housing, healthy work conditions, a healthy environment and access to education on issues related to sexual and reproductive health. Another important aspect noted by the CESCR is the necessity that the population participates in the whole process of making decisions about issues related to their health. 

The standard international principles on the right to health are the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), article 12 and its development in General Comment 14. Similarity, various provisions adopted by the World Health Organization also apply. In the regional field there are the European Social Charter‘s Part I, Article 11, the Protocol of San Salvador articles 11, 15(3) (b) and 17- and the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights