Sign-On: Letter to Dr. Tedros

Tedros towards FCGHThere is a new Director General at the World Health Organization (WHO), Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. During the recent WHO election process, Dr. Tedros had often mentioned that helping the poor and marginalised is his primary concern, and that adequate health care for all is essential.

There is also a new NGO in formation, the FCGH Alliance, dedicated to advancing the development of an international treaty based on the right to health, the Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH).

Below is a letter to Dr. Tedros requesting his support to advance this proposed global treaty, which would make it legally-binding on governments to assure that everyone’s right to health is realised, sooner rather than later. If you agree with the letter, please add your name and/or civil society organization to the list of signatures by clicking here. Help us to inform Dr. Tedros that a broad  group of people from civil society want real (legally-binding) change – not just nice sound-bites about those already left out and behind.
Thanks in advance.

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Dear Director-General Tedros,

Congratulations on your appointment to be the next WHO Director-General. As you assume the sacred global trust as head of the World Health Organization, no doubt you feel the mighty responsibility of your office, with its tremendous potential for bringing better health to the world’s people – and above all, to the poor, marginalized, left behind, discriminated against – people to whom you have long voiced great commitment. We were heartened to hear you state so powerfully upon your appointment that WHO must “put the right to health at the core of its functions, and be the global vanguard to champion them.”

One powerful tool to do just that is a proposed Framework Convention on Global Health (FCGH), which would be a global treaty based on the right to health and aimed at national and global health equity. It could help put the right to health not only at the core of WHO’s functions, but also at the core of the global policy agenda. We call upon you to use your legal and moral authority to initiate a WHO process towards this treaty, with its transformative promise.

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WHO Candidates’ Weak Words

Caution Weak WordsThe 1948 Constitution of the World Health Organization positions the WHO as the ‘guardian’ of everyone’s right to health, which makes the forthcoming election of its next Director General to be of great importance to those who strive for human rights and health justice. This is why we have been closely following the election process, and studying the final three Candidate’s positions. As the WHO process is nearing its conclusion, we are deeply dismayed by the weak words on rights and shallow slogans coming from the next Director General of WHO.

In a few weeks, a new Director General (DG) of the World Health Organization (WHO) will be elected by the representatives of the 193 governments, known as Member States, that govern this UN agency. Although we believe that a human rights-based approach (HRBA) should be the framework of all of the World Health Organization (WHO) policies and programmes, many of the Member States do not share this view on rights. This may explain why after 70 years of the WHO’s mandate to progressively realize the right to health, it has failed to do so. It also may explain why the candidates will not risk losing the potential support of these regressive Member States by proposing real actions and reforms that would advance the right to health, including steps that would make the WHO more accountable to those they serve, the folks on the ground waiting for health justice.

Unfortunately, the billions of people that are most impacted by the policies of the WHO do not have any say in this election process. Only Member States have a vote on the candidates, as well as on every other aspect of WHO policies.

A key element of the human rights-based approach is the participation of affected communities and their civil society organizations in decisions on policies, which would enable the public to be more equal partners in public health development. The WHO is missing this crucial element, and after 70 years, must change.

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