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The Universal Periodic Review: a valuable new procedure for the right to health?

Bueno De Mesquita, Judith (2019) 'The Universal Periodic Review: a valuable new procedure for the right to health?' Health and Human Rights, 21 (2). pp. 263-277. ISSN 1079-0969

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The right to health has been cast in increasingly broad terms in international human rights law, as not only a right to healthcare but also to the underlying and social determinants of health. Drawing on this conception, we undertook an empirical review of how the right to health featured in the first two cycles of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, looking at the quantity of recommendations on the right to health, the distribution of these recommendations between different health issues and the types of action required. A significant proportion of recommendations were relevant to the right to health, but some health issues were neglected, and recommendations were often very vague. Our findings contrast with existing research that had found limited attention to the right to health in UPR recommendations. We argue that existing studies, in their objective to distinguish attention to specific but overlapping rights, cast the right to health in unduly narrow terms. Such methodological choices have significant practical implications, including a seeming reluctance of health stakeholders to engage in the Universal Periodic Review, perhaps because of perceptions of a neglect of health in UN human rights bodies. However, there are initiatives underway to strengthen participation in the UPR. By showing that health is firmly on the agenda, our analysis provides an incentive for health stakeholders to engage in a process that is widely and publicly discussed. This can in itself be important to address the shortcomings noted above – it should help put a broader range of health issues on the table, and support more operational recommendations. It should also help support the implementation of the UPR recommendations.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Health; Human Rights; Universal Periodic Review
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities
Faculty of Humanities > Law, School of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Jun 2019 13:46
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:01

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