Food for a people’s thought

Human rights: Food for a people’s thought
Human Rights Reader  392

THINK OF IT: HUMAN RIGHTS ARE PART AND PARCEL OF THE MANDATE ACTUALLY GIVEN BY THE PEOPLE TO THE STATE. (Right to Food and Nutrition Watch 2015)

Allow me to start this Reader with an homage to the late Urban Jonsson with whom I worked for many years on many human rights issues –not always agreeing, it has to be said. I have quoted him dozens of times in the Readers given his, better-to-none, clear thinking on these issues. Here are a few more of his thoughts:

In human rights (HR), it is not necessarily about ‘blaming and shaming’; it is about bringing the parties to agree on what is required for the progressive realization of specific HR. (Urban Jonsson)

• I am no longer worried about the fact that all HR are the prerogative of individuals, reflecting the liberal origin of the idea about HR. I thus always refer to the emerging collective rights as having the same prerogative as individual rights. (Urban Jonsson)

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Time to Stand Up to Industry

Sitting on the FENSA: WHO engagement with industry
by Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse

Reposted from The Lancet
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(16)31141-2

 When decisions are made that will impact on people’s health, who should be represented at the policy-making table? Is it sufficient to rely upon representatives from national governments, or should other stakeholders participate—and if so, to what purpose? To advise? Make decisions? Or as funders? These questions lie at the heart of a governance debate1 that has been rancorously discussed in relation to WHO for some years. In May, 2016, the World Health Assembly (WHA) reached consensus in a resolution known as FENSA (Framework of engagement with non-State actors): “WHO engages with non-State actors….to encourage [them] to…protect and promote public health”, in which non-State actors are “non-governmental organizations [NGOs], private sector entities, philanthropic foundations and academic institutions”.2

FENSA had a difficult gestation, but is seen by many as a crucial element of WHO reform. Member States were generally supportive of FENSA, but NGOs voiced concern that FENSA will increase “problematic entanglements between WHO and powerful private sector actors”, and were disappointed that it did not “acknowledge the different nature—and thus different roles—public and private sector actors should play in global health governance”.3 By contrast, the private sector International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers and Associations welcomed the framework as giving “an equitable voice to a vibrant community of public and private organizations whose shared goal is to make this world healthier”.4

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