Health (Right to)

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Following a newspaper report regarding a destitute woman who died on a busy street four days after giving birth to a baby girl, the Court brought this public interest litigation (PIL) on its own motion. The Court also asked the Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), an ESCR-Net member organization, to file an amicus brief on the status of maternal health for destitute pregnant and lactating women in Delhi, and to suggest appropriate remedies. HRLN’s amicus outlined myriad state failures to implement government schemes providing for food and health services to women and marginalized groups.

In 2007, petitioners brought a case seeking mandamus to enforce obligations of women’s reproductive health rights under Article 20 (2) of the Interim Constitution and international human rights treaties to which Nepal is party. Petitioners argued that despite budgetary allotments by the government, no meaningful or effective programs had been initiated by the State to address the problem of uterine prolapse, as evidenced by the hundreds of thousands of women suffering from the condition. 

The Xákmok Kásek indigenous community, who has originally lived in the Paraguayan Chaco area, filed a petition before the Inter-American Court of Human Rights requesting acknowledgement of their traditional territory. Paraguay sold and split up the land without taking into consideration the indigenous population. The Salazar ranch was founded in the land that had been the home of the Xákmok Kásek community for years.  The community’s ability to survive and to develop its way of life was restricted, and the State failed to fulfill its duty to guarantee the community’s territorial rights.

Colombia's Constitutional Court reviewed a tutela action case (action seeking protection of constitutional rights) which looked into whether the mining operations of the company Drummond had violated the rights to life, to a healthy environment, to privacy and to health of a citizen and his family living near the Pribbenow open-pit mine, located in La Loma, municipality of El Paso, department of Cesar, in the North of Colombia.  Based in the United States, Drummond develops and processes coal in both the US and Colombia.

Diaguita communities and individuals living in the Huasco river's high basin, in the Atacama region of Chile, filed an action to protect constitutional rights against Compañía Minera Nevada SpA (a subsidiary of Canada-based Barrick Gold) and the Comisión de Evaluación Ambiental (Chile's government agency dealing with environmental issues).

In March 2008, Bayer HealthCare LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bayer Corporation, was granted a subject patent by India’s Patent Office, pursuant to the Drugs and Cosmetics Act 1940 (DCA) and Drugs and Cosmetics Rules 1945 (DCR),  for “sorafenib tosylate” (ST), commonly prescribed for treatment of advanced renal cancer.  Bayer HealthCare LLC subsequently assigned its titles to the patented drug in India to Bayer Corporation (“Bayer”).

Representatives of the Sarayaku people (Ecuador), Dejusticia (Colombia), and Fundación Pachamama (Ecuador) , with the support of ESCR-Net, came together at meetings organized by the Enxet-Sanapaná people together with Tierraviva (Paraguay) on September 26-27.  The discussions focused on enforcing decisions by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (IACHR).

IELSUR, ESCR-Net and the NGO Coalition for an OP-ICESCR organized an open public event and workshop on strategic litigation under the OP-ICESCR on August 14-15 in Montevideo.  Leading domestic organizations in Uruguay attended the event.

The petition in this public interest litigation (PIL) case cited data from the States of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Maharashtra, regarding government practices regarding female sterilization, which lacked counseling or informed consent, lacked pre- and post-operative care, and included unhygienic and un-anesthetized operating conditions, sterilization of minors, coercion and cruelty.  The PIL requested the Court to direct the state governments to comply with the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Guidelines on Standards of Female Sterilization, enacted in October 1999 (“the Guidelines”).

Jean Mouisel suffered from chronic lymphatic leukaemia. He was sentenced in 1996 to fifteen years' imprisonment for armed robbery. In 1999, while in prison, his condition deteriorated, requiring chemotherapy. He was transported to the hospital in handcuffs and claimed he was restrained during chemotherapy, though this was not proven. He stopped treatment in June 2000 citing conditions of treatment and aggressive behavior by guards.  A June 28, 2000 medical report, produced by a request of the Ministry of Justice, concluded Mouisel required treatment in a specialized clinic.