Sept. 13, 2016 – Collaboration between nations could make for stronger international protections of health as a human right, Alfonso López de la Osa Escribano, a health law scholar, said at a lecture last week at the University of Houston Law Center.
The lecture, "Health Protection and Human Rights: an introduction to International Health Law," was hosted by the Center for U.S. and Mexican Law, in collaboration with the student Health Law Organization.
"More than ever, we need to approach health protection from a perspective of solidarity and community, beyond nationalist and border perspectives," López de la Osa Escribano said. "Diseases do not respect frontiers as we have recently seen with the Ebola or Zika viruses. We have to work together and international health law can be of help in doing that."
López de la Osa Escribano said he is hopeful that discussing health law as it relates to human rights will create a special system of legal protection of health on a global scale.
Citing the 1950 European Convention of Human Rights and the 2000 Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union, López de la Osa Escribano said health is not considered a first-category human right, and is regarded as a second-category human right.
A first-category human right is considered something inherent to human beings like equality, freedom, security and resistance to oppression. Second-category human rights are more economic in nature, and involve a person's right to education and employment.
"Any human right has limits, and those are more obvious in second category human rights," López de la Osa Escribano said. "We should work on avoiding such differences by protecting the essence of health's protection as a human right."
López de la Osa Escribano is an affiliate scholar at the UHLC Center for U.S. and Mexican Law. He will teach Comparative Health Law in the Spring 2017 semester. The course will focus on the analysis of the health foreign legal systems and topics comparing them to the structure and notions existing in the U.S.