Charting the History of the Right to Health

John Tobin

in The Right to Health in International Law

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603299
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191731662 | DOI:
Charting the History of the Right to Health

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This chapter aims to reveal some insights into the factors that motivated the adoption of the right to health in international law and the anticipated consequences for states in accepting such a right. It offers a chronological overview of the emergence of the normative expression of the right to health in various international and regional legal instruments, and traces the complex factors that led to the inclusion of the right to health in international law. The discussion reveals that the right to health was not simply seen as a noble aspiration or utopian goal — a perception that characterizes its contemporary understanding. On the contrary it was intimately linked, more so than other socio-economic rights, with maintaining peace and security and was therefore considered to be of significant instrumental value. Connecting the history of the right to health with the history of public health reinforces this understanding of the right to health.

Keywords: right to health; public health; impact of enlightenment; industrial revolution; international legal instruments; regional legal instruments

Chapter.  17686 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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