Human rights and humanitarian assistance: helping health professionals lead the way in Haiti and beyond

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“As health providers increasingly engage in humanitarian relief we, willingly or not, become subject to global scrutiny for the human rights impacts of our actions. Public health emergencies often take place in areas of sociopolitical violence, where gross violations of basic human rights occur, and medical relief workers inevitably must address the consequences. Even when crises are ignited by natural disasters — such as the earthquake in Haiti — human rights come into focus relative not only to what has happened but what is done about it. By bearing the responsibility of delivering effective health care, providers are well-positioned to promote and protect human rights. A human rights-based paradigm can support efforts to provide needed services, build infrastructure, and make decisions that duly consider the needs of vulnerable groups.”

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Authors: Helen Ouyang, Sofia Gruskin
Published By: Medicine, Conflict and Survival
Date: November 20, 2010
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