Access to Health Information

Access to Health Information Under International Human Rights Law

HIFA2015 LogoThis white paper, published December 4, 2012, considers whether and, if so, to what extent states are obligated under international treaty law to provide individuals, lay healthcare providers, professional healthcare providers, and policymakers with appropriate health information. The article concludes that health information is an essential component of many identified and established human rights. States party to treaties such as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights must provide and guarantee access to health information.

Appropriate health information fosters meaningful social and political participation and ensures that individuals achieve and enjoy the rights afforded to them by international human rights law. This article provides the international legal foundation for conducting additional, country-specific research on states’ compliance with their obligations concerning health information and generating concrete recommendations for what states can do to improve the provision of health information.

This paper was written by Professor Molly Land (NYLS) and Dr. Neil Pakenham-Walsh (Global Healthcare Information Network), with inputs from others. To view this paper in its entirety, click here.