Neglected diseases: a human rights analysis


In recent years, there has been a growing interest in neglected diseases as a public health issue. However, there has been less attention given to the links between neglected diseases and human rights. Neglected diseases are more likely to occur where human rights, such as the rights to health, education and housing are not guaranteed. Neglected diseases also often result in violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, including equality and non-discrimination. This review authored by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health aims to introduce and explore some of these connections.

Addressing the human rights issues that cause or are a consequence of neglected diseases has an important role to play in helping to prevent and treat these diseases, as well as in ensuring the dignity and well-being of those afflicted. This report aims to equip practitioners with an understanding of human rights, how human rights abuses cause and result from neglected diseases, and it signals how a human rights approach can contribute to the fight against neglected diseases.


World Health Organization, Geneva. ISBN 978 92 4 156342 0. Social, Economic and Behavioural Research. Special Topics No.6. 64 pp.

Neglected diseases: a human rights analysis

Published 1 January 2007