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Asia Pac J Public Health. 2012 Sep;24(5):851-5. doi: 10.1177/1010539512462501.

Globalization of public health law and ethics.

Author information

1
Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, Yonsei University, 50 Yonsei-Ro, Seodaemun-Gu, Seoul, Korea. msohn53@gmail.com

Abstract

The Constitution of the World Health Organization (1946) states that the "enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health is one of the fundamental rights of every human being without distinction of race, religion, political belief, economic or social position." The international legal framework for this right was laid by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) and reaffirmed in the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (1966) and the Declaration of Alma-Ata (1978). In recent years, the framework has been developed on 10 key elements: national and international human rights, laws, norms, and standards; resource constraints and progressive realization; obligations of immediate effect; freedoms and entitlements; available, accessible, acceptable, and good quality; respect, protect, and fulfill; non-discrimination, equality, and vulnerability; active and informed participation; international assistance and cooperation; and monitoring and accountability. Whereas public health law plays an essential role in the protection and promotion of the right to health, the emergence of SARS (2003) highlighted the urgent need to reform national public health laws and international obligations relating to public health in order to meet the new realities of a globalized world, leading to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (2003) and the revision of the WHO International Health Regulations (2005). The Asian Institute for Bioethics and Health Law, in conjunction with the Republic of Korea's Ministry of Health and Welfare and the WHO International Digest of Health Legislation, conducted a comparative legal analysis of national public health laws in various countries through a project entitled Domestic Profiles of Public/Population Health Legislation (2006), which underscored the importance of recognizing the political and social contexts of distinct legal cultures, including Western, Asian, Islamic, and African.

PMID:
23093515
DOI:
10.1177/1010539512462501
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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