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The area of ‘health and human rights’ is a new and emerging field under international and European human rights law and health law. Taking a ‘health and human rights approach’ means using international, European and national human rights law in relation to a wide range of health issues, including access to healthcare, health data protection, the quality of pharmaceutical drugs, as well as medical-ethical issues such as abortion and euthanasia.
Human rights law can play an important role in promoting and protecting health, both nationally and internationally. It gives an international legal and moral dimension to existing health-related approaches, and as such it can enrich other health-related disciplines, including medical law, health law, bio-law, bio-ethics, public health and social medicine.
There is, however, still very little understanding of the various and multiple legal interfaces between ‘health’ and ‘human rights’, and of the implications of this approach for legal research and practice. To fill this gap, this volume seeks to draw the legal contents and implications of this new area of the law. Its focus is on Europe, as the European context raises specific questions, not only from a legal and a political perspective, but also in terms of health issues and health outcomes.
The book first discusses how the European institutions (the Council of Europe and the European Union) deal with health and human rights. Subsequently it describes the meaning of the most important human rights involved in this area, and it addresses a variety of themes and approaches that engage with health and human rights links, including patient rights, reproductive health, and issues surrounding death and dying. Lastly, it discusses the position of a number of vulnerable groups, in particular disabled persons, the elderly, and children.
The book brings together contributions from human rights and health law experts from four different countries in Northern Europe. The authors have engaged in a prolific dialogue about the issues involved and they have made an interesting attempt to unify the spheres of human rights law and health law. This has resulted in a number of truly interconnected chapters that together give a solid overview of the legal perspectives of ‘health and human rights’.
This volume is of interest for lecturers in law who seek to teach a course in health and human rights, and their students. It creates clarity for those who wish to undertake further study in this area. Further, it can guide practitioners through their health-related cases, while law and policy makers in Europe and elsewhere can learn more about the human rights and comparative legal dimensions of the health issues that they engage with.