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Foundations of Global Health & Human Rights

Edited by Lawrence O. Gostin and Benjamin Mason Meier

Publication Date - July 2020

ISBN: 9780197528303

488 pages
7 x 10 inches

In Stock

Human rights are essential to global health, yet rising threats in an increasingly divided world are challenging the progressive evolution of health-related human rights.


Human rights are essential to global health, yet rising threats in an increasingly divided world are challenging the progressive evolution of health-related human rights. It is necessary to empower a new generation of scholars, advocates, and practitioners to sustain the global commitment to universal rights in public health. Looking to the next generation to face the struggles ahead, this book provides a detailed understanding of the evolving relationship between global health and human rights, laying a human rights foundation for the advancement of transformative health policies, programs, and practices.

International human rights law has been repeatedly shown to advance health and wellbeing - empowering communities and fostering accountability for realizing the highest attainable standard of health. This book provides a compelling examination of international human rights as essential for advancing public health. It demonstrates how human rights strengthens human autonomy and dignity, while placing clear responsibilities on government to safeguard the public's health and safety.

Bringing together leading academics in the field of health and human rights, this volume: (1) explains the norms and principles that define the field, (2) examines the methods and tools for implementing human rights to promote health, (3) applies essential human rights to leading public health threats, and (4) analyzes rising human rights challenges in a rapidly globalizing world. This foundational text shows why interdisciplinary scholarship and action are essential for health-related human rights, placing human rights at the center of public health and securing a future of global health with justice.


  • Brings together leading health and human rights scholars and practitioners from across disciplines and the globe
  • Explores how different political actors and organizations have developed and implemented human rights in health policy
  • Includes case studies complementing the theoretical analysis of the chapters by highlighting the practical application of human rights in global health
  • Provides a foundational text to introduce students and practitioners to the field of Health and Human Rights

About the Author(s)

Lawrence O. Gostin is University Professor (Georgetown University's highest academic rank), Founding O'Neill Chair in Global Health Law, and Director of the O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law. Professor Gostin is the Director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, and serves on expert WHO advisory committees. He is a Member of the National Academy of Medicine/National Academy of Sciences, Council on Foreign Relations, and Hastings Center.

Benjamin Mason Meier is an Associate Professor of Global Health Policy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Scholar at Georgetown Law School's O'Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law, and a consultant to international organizations, national governments, and nongovernmental organizations. Dr. Meier's interdisciplinary research-at the intersection of global health, international law, and public policy-examines the development, evolution, and application of human rights in global health.


"This book is an essential overview for students of health and human rights, who can quickly acquire a flavor of the field and understanding of essential tools and dilemmas." -- Patty Skuster, Human Rights Review

"This edited book pioneers the interdisciplinary field of international human rights law and global health governance. It argues that global governance regimes have created and built a legal framework where health-related rights are explicit, protected and are advocated for by individuals and communities across the world." -- Sabine I. Franklin, University of Westminster, Medicine, Conflict and Survival

Table of Contents

    Foreword: Human Rights are Central to Global Health
    Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

    Introduction: Global Health & Human Rights
    Lawrence O. Gostin & Benjamin Mason Meier

    I. The Human Rights Movement: International Norms and Principles
    Chapter 1. The Birth and Development of Human Rights for Health
    Benjamin Mason Meier, Thérèse Murphy & Lawrence O. Gostin
    Chapter 2. Global Health Law: Legal Foundations for Social Justice in Public Health
    Lawrence O. Gostin, Matiangai V. S. Sirleaf & Eric A. Friedman
    Chapter 3. The Right to Health and Health-Related Human Rights
    John Tobin & Damon Barrett
    Chapter 4. The Rights-Based Approach to Health
    Flavia Bustreo & Curtis F.J. Doebbler

    II. Bringing Rights Home: Tools for Human Rights Implementation and Accountability
    Chapter 5. Translating International Law into Domestic Law, Policy, and Practice
    Gillian MacNaughton & Angela Duger
    Chapter 6. Human Rights Advocacy in Global Health
    Joseph J. Amon & Eric A. Friedman
    Chapter 7. Monitoring and Review to Assess Human Rights Implementation
    Benjamin Mason Meier, Hanna Huffstetler & Judith Bueno de Mesquita
    Chapter 8. Justiciability of Human Rights for Health
    Colleen M. Flood & Bryan Thomas
    Chapter 9. Advancing Human Rights through Global Health Governance
    Benjamin Mason Meier, Margherita Marianna Cinà & Lawrence O. Gostin

    III. Contemporary Applications: Healthy People, Healthy Populations
    Chapter 10. Communicable Diseases, Health Security, and Human Rights: From AIDS to Ebola
    Sharifah Sekalala & John Harrington
    Chapter 11. Human Rights and Non-Communicable Diseases: Controlling Tobacco and Promoting Healthy Diets
    Brigit Toebes & David Patterson
    Chapter 12. The Emergence of "New" Health- Related Human Rights: Recognizing the Human Rights to Water and Sanitation
    Benjamin Mason Meier & Inga T. Winkler
    Chapter 13. Chronic Illness: Disability and Mental Health
    Oliver Lewis & Soumitra Pathare
    Chapter 14. Equity in Health: Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights
    Terry McGovern & Aziza Ahmed

    IV. New Challenges: Human Rights to Advance Public Health in a Globalizing Era
    Chapter 15. Health and Human Rights through Global Development: The Right to Development, Rights-Based Approach to Development, and Sustainable Development Goals
    Stephen P. Marks & Alice Han
    Chapter 16. International Trade, Public Health, and Human Rights
    Chuang-Feng Wu & Chien-Huei Wu
    Chapter 17. Health & Human Rights in Conflict and Emergencies
    Dabney P. Evans, Edward L. Queen & Lara S. Martin
    Chapter 18. Human Subjects in Globalized Health Research
    Andrés Constantin & Roberto Andorno
    Chapter 19. The Environment, a Changing Climate, and Planetary Health
    Alexandra Phelan
    Chapter 20. Global Health & Human Rights in the Age of Populism
    Lawrence O. Gostin, Andrés Constantin & Benjamin Mason Meier