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HRC41 | Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on Physical and Mental Health

41th Session of the Human Rights Council: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Right of Everyone to the Enjoyment of the Highest Attainable Standard of Physical and Mental Health


Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland

Delivered by Alexander Smith, Health Program Lead, Permanent Delegation to the UN and other International Organizations in Geneva


Check Against Delivery

Mr. President, Excellencies, Distinguished Delegates,

IDLO would like to congratulate the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for his report.

In support of international commitments to the SDGs, IDLO promotes the increasing international awareness of links between SDG 16 on peace, justice, and strong institutions and other SDGs, especially SDG 3 on healthy lives and wellbeing, SDG 5 on gender equality, and SDG 10 on reducing inequalities.

In cooperation with governments, UN agencies, and civil society, we work to ensure that the rule of law is part of the response to the right to health and well-being. Recent work in this area includes a highly successful project in collaboration with UNAIDS, where adolescent girls and young women were engaged as Community Health Advocates with established local NGOs in Tanzania and Uganda. The initiative built capacity of the girls and women to hold service providers accountable for the quality of HIV prevention services and grievance redress mechanisms. To date, about 200 paralegals have been engaged, reaching an estimated total of about 12,000 young women.

Our current work with WHO includes a 5-country capacity development program to improve in-country regulatory responses to non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and promote healthy diets and physical activity.

Recently, IDLO and WHO renewed a cooperation agreement which expands our partnership, jointly promoting the right to health through the rule of law. In addition to our work on NCDs, the new agreement envisages further collaboration to promote Universal Health Coverage and health security, reduce communicable and non-communicable diseases, and foster non-discrimination in access to health services.

Thank you.


The International Development Law Organization (IDLO) enables governments and empowers people to reform laws and strengthen institutions to promote peace, justice, sustainable development and economic opportunity.