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Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights$
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Rowan Cruft, S. Matthew Liao, and Massimo Renzo

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780199688623

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: June 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199688623.001.0001

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Do We Have a Human Right to the Political Determinants of Health?

Do We Have a Human Right to the Political Determinants of Health?

(p.502) 28 Do We Have a Human Right to the Political Determinants of Health?
Philosophical Foundations of Human Rights

Kimberley Brownlee

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents a response to Chapter 27’s account of the right to human health. Some factors that centrally affect health are not often explicitly examined in relation to a right to health. These include human-generated threats to physical and mental health such as chronic physical insecurity, fear of attack, and stress as well as actual attacks, abuse, mistreatment, and discrimination, which compound the effects of insecurity and stress. Protection from such threats is among the so-called underlying political determinants of health, which can be divided into two broad categories. The first concerns protecting people from direct or indirect discrimination in their access to health services. The second concerns protecting people from the more general disadvantages, mistreatment, discrimination, abuse, and stress that go with vulnerability and persecution, and which render people more likely either to be injured or unwell or to die early. The chapter explores the nature of these two types of political determinants of health, and considers the reasons for and against including all of them, particularly those of the second type, in an agglomeration of rights comprising the human right to health.

Keywords:   human rights, right to health, discrimination, health service access, political determinants

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