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February 7, 2024

The Right to Health Policy Hub: A New Human Rights Tool for Advocates of Tobacco Control and Food and Nutrition Policy

Yesterday, the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and the Global Health Advocacy Incubator (GHAI) launched the Right to Health Policy Hub, a repository of human rights recommendations to support policy change on non-communicable diseases (NCDs), specifically related to healthy food and nutrition policies and tobacco control. The Right to Health Policy Hub was officially presented at a side event of the World Health Organization (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control Conference of the Parties (WHO FCTC COP10), held this week in Panama. The event, entitled “The FCTC: A Tool to Advance Human Rights,” spotlighted how the Right to Health Policy Hub can be a key resource to advance policy efforts, support advocacy campaigns and become a reference for governments when fulfilling their right to health obligations.

The Right to Health Policy Hub is a database of materials issued by international human rights bodies that support the advancement of public health policies related to tobacco control and food and nutrition. The materials include:

  1. Topic-specific general comments, which are official interpretations of treaty provisions, thematic areas, government’s human rights obligations, specific rights and other issues. These comments have authoritative status as they are issued by human rights treaty bodies and provide valuable guidance to governments, CSOs and many other actors.
  2. Country-specific reports issued by treaty bodies detailing concerns and recommendations for said country. These recommendations shape legal developments around human rights obligations.
  3. Statements, thematic reports and other documents from UN Special Rapporteurs. These documents have global relevancy and play a key role in standard setting and influencing the interpretation of international human rights law.

The main objective of the Right to Health Policy Hub is to serve as a resource to organizations, movements, public health professionals, scholars and advocates to incorporate a human rights lens into their legal, research and advocacy work related to tobacco control and food policy. The Policy Hub offers the unique characteristic of having statements classified into main topics (tobacco control, food policy, other health-related issues), policy areas, human rights at stake and groups affected. This feature allows users to filter relevant information on the database according to their needs and to obtain results that can be downloaded with their full citation. Each result contains links to the official UN document and will recommend other related results so users can enhance their search. The Policy Hub will soon offer relevant factsheets on the key connections of tobacco control and food policy with human rights, and it is expected to be updated frequently and be expanded to other public health issues, that GHAI is actively addressing.

At the launch, Daniel Dorado from Corporate Accountability, who works on food policy and tobacco control expressed: “Tools that facilitate free access to the universe of existing resources regarding the right to health are a fundamental part of human rights advocacy. I find this Policy Hub fascinating and very user-friendly, and I invite everyone to explore it and disseminate it.”

The Right to Health Policy Hub launch represents a key milestone for public health advocacy. It seeks to be a vital human rights tool for multiple audiences, with a user-friendly interface and a simple way to showcase information. However, it is not merely a repository of recommendations; it is a dynamic tool poised to shape the landscape of human rights in public health policies, bridging the divide between human rights aspirations and tangible policy changes. The Policy Hub will allow advocates to champion a healthier, more equitable world where the right to health is not just a principle but a lived reality for all.