2000 Other Health-related issues

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Recommendation #14 par. 3 and par. 4 (2000)

Text of the recommendation

3. The right to health is closely related to and dependent upon the realization of other human rights, as contained in the International Bill of Rights, including the rights to food, housing, work, education, human dignity, life, non-discrimination, equality, the prohibition against torture, privacy, access to information, and the freedoms of association, assembly and movement. These and other rights and freedoms address integral components of the right to health. 4. In drafting article 12 of the Covenant, the Third Committee of the United Nations General Assembly did not adopt the definition of health contained in the preamble to the Constitution of WHO, which conceptualizes health as “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. However, the reference in article 12.1 of the Covenant to “the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” is not confined to the right to health care. On the contrary, the drafting history and the express wording of article 12.2 acknowledge that the right to health embraces a wide range of socio‑economic factors that promote conditions in which people can lead a healthy life, and extends to the underlying determinants of health, such as food and nutrition, housing, access to safe and potable water and adequate sanitation, safe and healthy working conditions, and a healthy environment.


Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment No. 14 - The right to the highest attainable standard of health, E/C.12/2000/4, (2000). Par. 3 - 4. Available at: https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/15/treatybodyexternal/Download.aspx?symbolno=E%2fC.12%2f2000%2f4&Lang=en