Human rights in patient care: a special collection

Tamar Ezer, Judy Overall

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorialpeer-review


This piece introduces the special Public Health Reviews collection on human rights in patient care (HRPC). Work on HRPC dates back to 2007 and an Open Society Foundations initiative in collaboration with partners in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We found that for marginalized groups, health care settings often were places of coercion, punishment, and/or violence rather than of treatment or care. At the same time, health care providers often did not know of their legal obligations and how to incorporate human rights norms in their work. They themselves faced a lack of independence, unsafe working conditions, and sanctions for providing evidence-based care. Laws existed that could potentially address violations, but they were rarely enforced, and most people did not know what they were. HRPC brings human rights principles to health care delivery and addresses the rights of both patients and health care providers. It seeks to translate laws and procedures protecting rights into practical terms, linking national, regional, and international frameworks. The special collection explores various aspects of HRPC, including state responsibility in private health facilities, reproductive health, palliative care, and intersections with public health. It further explores dimensions relevant to particular populations, including Roma, people who use drugs, and transgender persons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number32
JournalPublic Health Reviews
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Community and Home Care
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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