UCL Health Humanities Centre


Human Right to Health Conference 14-15 May 2009


In December 2008 The Lancet published a special issue on the human right to health, including a ground-breaking examination of right-to-health indicators in 194 countries. To continue the debate which this started, UCL Centre for Philosophy, Justice and Health, in association with The Lancet, The UCL Institute of Global Health, and the UCL Institute for Human Rights present a conference on the Human Right to Health Conference on May 14th and 15th 2009.

The human right to health naturally brings together three distinct groups with a common interest: health care professionals and health activists, who use the idea of a human right to health in their work; human rights lawyers and political scientists, who have an understanding of human rights law and institutions; and political philosophers who can consider the conceptual and foundational aspects of human rights. The conference assembles all these stakeholders to reflect on how best to take forward and to interpret the human right to health.

Topics to be examined include:
1. The benefits for activists of using a human rights framework: examples, difficulties and prospects.
2. The institutional implications of attaching advocacy to a human rights framework: benefits and costs.
3. The distinctions between a right to health, and a human right to health, and also between a right to health care and a human right to health care.
4. The philosophical analysis of, and possible foundations for, a human right to health.

We have now made some of the papers from the conference available for download -- please see below.

Conference Programme

14 May

09.30 - 10.00 Registration

10.00 – 10.15 Jonathan Wolff (Philosophy, UCL), Introduction

10.15 - 11.00 Gorik Ooms (Institute of Tropical Medicine Antwerp), Global Responsibilities for Global Health Rights: a new paradigm emerging from the fight against AIDS? Download

11.00 - 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 13.00 The Philosophy and Justification of the Human Right to Health: Two Views

John Tasioulas (Philosophy, University of Oxford) What is a Human Right? Download
Saladin Meckled-Garcia (Political Theory and Human Rights, UCL) Health: Human Rights v Social Justice? Download

13.00 – 14.00 Lunch

14 00 – 15.30 The Human Right to Health: benefits and drawbacks for practice in developed countries

Susan Wright, (Director, Médecins du Monde UK), Access to Healthcare - Here and Abroad: Understanding and responding to patterns of migration Download
Peter Hall (Doctors for Human Rights), The culture change in healthcare delivery required to fulfil the right to the highest attainable standard of health.
John Coggon (Law, University of Manchester), For your own good? The individual, the public, and the rights to health and healthcare Download

15.30 – 16.00 Tea

16.00 – 17.30 The Human Right to Health and Global Justice

David McCoy (Senior Clinical Associate, Centre for International Health and Development, UCL, and Managing Editor of the Global Health Watch), How should human rights fit into existing global health advocacy efforts to strengthen health systems? Download
Lisa Forman (Munk Centre for International Studies, University of Toronto), Right to Health Impact Assessment of Trade-Related Intellectual Property Rights: A Legal Framework and Methodology for Policy Reform Download

18.00 Inaugural Lecture by Prof Michael Otsuka (UCL): Risking Life and Limb. (This will be in Cruciform Lecture Theatre One, Cruciform Building, Gower Street)

15 May

0930 – 11.00 Campaigning for the Human Right to Health on a Global Scale

Julian Sheather (Senior Ethics Advisor, BMA), The BMA’s approach to the Human Right to Health Download
Guadalupe Marengo (Director, Demand Dignity Campaign, Amnesty International), Respecting Human Rights Reduces Maternal Mortality:  Amnesty International's Demand Dignity Campaign
Paul Hunt, (University of Essex, UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Right to Health 2002-8)

11.00 – 11.30 Coffee

11.30 – 1.00 Interpreting the Human Right to Health: Two Philosophical Views

George Letsas (Laws, UCL), Moral Foundations of the Legal Right to Health Download
James Wilson (Philosophy and Health, UCL), Progressive realisation, benchmarking and the human right to health Download

1.00 – 2.00 Lunch

2.00 – 3pm Richard Horton, The Lancet, The Existence of Rights

3- 3.30 Tea

3.30 – 5.30 Closing Roundtable discussion: Moving forward with the human right to health

Gunilla Backman (Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency) Download
Rhona MacDonald (The Lancet)
Joseph Raz (Professor of Law, Columbia Law School)
Leif Wenar (Chair of Ethics, King’s College London)

JZ Young Anatomy Lecture Theatre, Anatomy Building, UCL, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT. For maps of UCL campus, see here.

14-15 May 2009.

Attendance at the conference is free. However space is limited, so we advise you to register early. To register, please email Pavlina Pyari, p.pyari@ucl.ac.uk. Please let Pavlina Pyari know whether you have any special dietary requirements, and don't forget to include your institutional affiliation, if any, for the name badges.

Unfortunately we cannot book accommodation for conference delegates, but you can find details of local hotels here and here.

Other queries
The conference is being organised by James Wilson and Jonathan Wolff. For any queries (other than for conference registration), please contact James Wilson.