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Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, A/HRC/29/33, 2 April 2015

III.     Overview of the work of the mandate (2003–2014)

26.     Previous mandate holders have also looked into the negative impact of the criminalization of consensual same-sex conduct, of sexual orientation and gender identity, of sex work and of HIV transmission (see A/HRC/14/20). Such work has shown that punitive policies and criminalization are not effective and act as a barrier to access health services, fuel social stigma and exclusion and lead to poor health outcomes.

31.     The Special Rapporteur concurs with his predecessors that a comprehensive right-to-health approach is necessary, which includes decriminalization of sexual orientation and gender identities, certain behaviours and health status, as well as the establishment of conducive legal and administrative frameworks with emphasis on human rights education, meaningful participation and empowerment of the groups targeted, and serious efforts to reduce stigma and discrimination in society as a whole.

IV.      The way forward: context, challenges and opportunities

A.      The policy approach to the right to health

43.     For example, such a retrogressive tendency has been observed in the area of sexual and reproductive health and rights, and with regard to discrimination against groups in vulnerable situations, including children, documented and undocumented migrants, persons with disabilities and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender persons. In his reports and through his other activities, the Special Rapporteur will highlight the need and importance of applying the principle of the interdependence and indivisibility of human rights, and will underline how essential this is for the full realization of the right to health.

46.     There are good health practices worldwide that emerge when culturally and socially appropriate programmes are used, involving and empowering individuals, families and communities. These practices challenge traditional barriers between health, education, social welfare and other sectors. For example, effective programmes can be developed to enable community support for preventing violence, particularly violence against women and domestic violence. Community-based initiatives and neighbourhood prevention activities can also be designed to provide education for first-time parents, focusing on child-parent relationships. Support to family planning activities can be put in place to prevent early or unwanted pregnancies through the provision of comprehensive sexuality education and information, and by providing access to a varied range of contraception methods.

Link to full text of the report: Report-SRHealth-2015-eng