Declaration of Human Rights

On December 10, 1948, the United Nations
General Assembly passed a resolution adopting the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights (UDHR). Drafted in the wake of the horrors of World
War II, Article I of the Declaration begins, “All human beings
are born free and equal in dignity and rights.” Twenty-nine articles
follow, each stating basic rights to which every person is entitled.

Covenant on Economic, Social,

and Cultural Rights

The ICESCR begins by setting forth the right
to self-determination and continues to list an array of rights in
a variety of categories. The document recognizes a right to education,
a minimum wage, and healthy working conditions. In addition, the
Covenant asserts the right to own intellectual property and to enjoy
the fruits of scientific progress.

Comment No. 14: The Right to the Highest Attainable

Standard of Health

In 2000, the UN Committee on Economic, Social,
and Cultural Rights issued a commentary to Article 12 of the International
Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, which guarantees
“the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health.” In this comment, the
Committee describes the elements of this right and notes the the close
relationship between health and human rights.

Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

Comprised of 53 articles, the ICCPR sets forth
a list of rights that would generally fall into the categories of
‘civil rights’ and ‘due process’ in the United States. Rights asserted
in the ICCPR include a the rights to free speech, assembly, fair hearings,
and freedom of movement. Article 7 guarantees that no person shall
be subjected to scientific or medical experimentation against his

of Minnesota Human Rights Library

The University of Minnesota has long maintained
an extensive collection of human rights documents, treaties, bibliographies,
and other resources. In addition, the site serves as a gateway, containing
a list of over 3,600 web links.

Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights

Headquartered at the Harvard School of Public
Health, the FXB Center takes an interdisciplinary approach to the
study of health and human rights. Among their many activities and
programs is their journal, Health and Human Rights.