Every country in the world is now party to at least one human rights treaty that addresses health-related rights. Yet, harmful laws, policies and practices routinely interfere with access to health care and increase vulnerability to ill health, particularly for poor, marginalized or criminalized populations. Our work examines the right to health and a healthy environment, the right to be free from discrimination and arbitrary detention, and the right to information, free speech, expression and assembly as critical means of achieving health. We work on infectious diseases, pollution and environmental health, sexual and reproductive health, and non-communicable disease, including access to palliative care for patients suffering with terminal illness. 


Our people

A line of people in face masks

Birgit Schwarz talks to Human Rights Watch senior counsel for business and human rights, Aruna Kashyap, and senior researcher on children’s rights, Margaret Wurth, about the need for more transparency and the equitable allocation of vaccines on the basis of health needs, not money.