Hey AMSA party people,

Since only one person has replied that they could not make the Mon 12/16
11:30am time, how about if we have our next AMSA meeting at that time.  I'll
work on getting a room.  We have finalized the Human Rights Day talks to
finish up our splendid week of WAD and HR Day activities.  A big thanks and
congratulations to all who helped kick this off as an annual event.  Below
is a description of the talks.

MONDAY, Dec 9th
Drug Rights Over Patient Rights?

Universities' Role in Ensuring Access to Essential Medicines in
Resource-Poor Settings

Universities Allied for Access to Essential Medicines (UAEM) will talk about
efforts to change U of MN and nation-wide university patent policies to
create an ethical clause to ensure access to essential medicines in
resource-poor settings

12:15 pm in MOOS TOWER 2-650. LUNCH WILL BE SERVED**

Nancy Pearson, MSW, LISW, from the Centers for Victims of Torture will talk
about the human rights situation for refugees worldwide, and then focus on
local refugees, including current threats to the human rights of Somalis and
the MAHR/CVT/PHR MN Asylum Network as an example of how healthcare providers
have stepped forward to defend human rights for immigrants seeking political
asylum.  She has worked with torture survivors from many countries as a
social worker at CVT and with women torture survivors in the Phillipines and
in Guinea.


A few of us are meeting with CVT next Friday to establish a local student
chapter of Physicians for Human Rights, which was previously our Global
Health/Human rights focus area.  One of the first activities we will be
doing is to create an AIDS quilt to be sent and presented along with AIDS
quilts from around the country in Washington DC.  Mike Broton has all the
materials that national PHR sent.  We are looking for folks to help create
the quilt.  Please let us know if you are interested in being a part of the
new PHR student chapter.

Below is an article about health as a human right and how the concept came
into being and how some are trying to week to ensure the right to health for

Peace out and don't strain your back like I did yesterday.


> From today's Lancet:
> Volume 360, Number 9348     07 December 2002
> Health and human rights
> The right to health: from the margins to the mainstream
> On the eve of Human Rights Day, it is timely to reflect on how the right
> to health has been advanced during the past year. At the national level,
> several important developments have occurred, not least the South African
> litigation about access to HIV/AIDS drugs. At the global level, the most
> striking development was the decision of the UN to establish a new
> mechanism for the promotion and protection of the international right to
> health.
> Since the mid-1990s, medical organisations--including the British Medical
> Association, World Medical Association, Physicians for Human Rights, and
> the International Federation of Health and Human Rights
> Organisations--have campaigned for the establishment of a UN special
> rapporteur on the right to health. Initially, the idea was that the
> rapporteur would focus on the need to protect the independence and
> integrity of health professionals, in the same way as there are human
> rights procedures for the protection of judges and lawyers. But, in recent
> years, the proposal was expanded to encompass the promotion and protection
> of the right to health.
> Early this year, Brazil urged the UN Commission on Human Rights, which
> consists of state representatives, to establish a special rapporteur on
> the right to health. The Brazilian resolution was passed in April, 2002,
> with no member voting against. Later, as the proposal worked its way
> through the UN system, the USA and Australia voted against. Nevertheless,
> the special rapporteur role was established.
> In September, I was appointed special rapporteur. Although nominated by
> New Zealand, I serve in my personal capacity as an independent expert. The
> rapporteur's mandate is vast and vague: to gather right-to-health
> information from all sources, to identify areas of cooperation, to report
> on the status of the right to health throughout the world, and to make
> policy and legislative recommendations. I am expected to undertake two
> country missions every year. All this on a part-time basis--and supported
> by one UN researcher.
> With my first report due in the New Year, I am consulting with states,
> civil society organisations, UN specialised agencies, and international
> financial institutions, such as the World Bank and International Monetary
> Fund (IMF). The basic challenge is to promote and protect the
> international right to health. This requires different approaches for
> different constituencies. Whereas one approach might assist a developing
> state, a different approach may be needed for a developed state. What
> might resonate with an association of health professionals might not work
> with the World Bank and IMF. And then there is the important question of
> how to approach the private sector.
> For many years, the right to health has been one of the poor relations in
> the UN human rights system. Since its inception, the UN has focused its
> attention on classic civil and political rights, such as the right to a
> fair trial and freedom of expression. Another bundle of human rights--eg,
> the rights to education, housing, and health--has attracted little UN
> attention. Now, however, the UN is beginning to redress its historical
> neglect of these rights.
> In 2000, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights--the
> main UN human rights treaty body on the right to health--set out what it
> understands the right to health means to dispel common myths. "The right
> to health", it said, "is not to be understood as a right to be healthy".
> Crucially, the committee interpreted the right to health "as an inclusive
> right extending not only to timely and appropriate health care but also to
> the underlying determinants of health, such as access to safe and potable
> water and adequate sanitation". Thus, the right to health contains
> freedoms, such as the right to be free from non-consensual medical
> treatment, and entitlements--the right to a system of health protection.
> For its part, WHO is increasingly using the language of human rights. The
> right to health was enshrined in WHO's constitution over 50 years ago. But
> it was not until the late 1990s that WHO began to consider systematically
> how the right to health affects health policies and programmes. In July,
> 2002, WHO launched its health and human rights publication series; the
> first volume is a non-technical primer: 25 Questions and Answers on Health
> and Human Rights.
> Since its inception, UNAIDS has produced accessible material on human
> rights, including HIV/AIDS and Human Rights: Young People in Action. In
> July, 2002, UNAIDS again underlined the relation between human rights and
> HIV/AIDS in its Report on the Global HIV/AIDS Epidemic.
> Thus, the UN human rights system, WHO, and other members of the UN family
> are beginning to treat seriously the international right to health. These
> organisations are taking the right to health from the margins to the
> mainstream and the decision to appoint a special rapporteur is the latest
> evidence of this trend. Nobody can be sure of the implications of the
> renewed international interest in the right to health. But I suspect the
> implications are long-term and, at least for some countries, far-reaching.
> Paul Hunt
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Human Rights Centre, University of Essex, Colchester CO4 3SQ, UK
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> (e-mail:[log in to unmask])
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
> "Do not inflict, nor suffer Inequity..."
> - Muhammad PBUH
> --------------------------------------------------------------------------
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