Health and Human Rights' Past: Patinating Law's Contribution

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This article argues that to be able to look forward, lawyers within the health and human rights movement need to do more looking back. It is prompted by a simple question: do we have a history of health and human rights law and lawyering? Finding nothing that qualifies, the article asks how we might fill that gap. Focusing on international human rights law, it prescribes histories of health and human rights law “favorites,” notably the international human right to health and human rights-based approaches to health. It also prescribes histories of neglect: histories exploring the low levels of attention to certain issues, such as the right to science, that seem directly relevant to health and human rights. The article emphasizes that neither of these history projects should be a search for origins or an opportunity to pitch linear “onwards and upwards” accounts of health and human rights law. The prescription is for histories that are open to the ebb and flow of particular international human rights law norms and approaches as they have come into being and crisscrossed the United Nations and beyond.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-214
Number of pages10
JournalHealth and Human Rights Journal
Issue number2
Early online date21 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 09 Dec 2019

Bibliographical note

Part of special section edited by Lawrence O Gostin and Benjamin Mason Meier


Dive into the research topics of 'Health and Human Rights' Past: Patinating Law's Contribution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this