Fact Sheet No. 31

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

World Health Organization

The Right to Health – Fact Sheet No. 31


Some groups or individuals, such as children, women, persons with disabilities or persons living with HIV/AIDS, face specific hurdles in relation to the right to health. These can result from biological or socio-economic factors, discrimination and stigma, or, generally, a combination of these. Considering health as a human right requires specific attention to different individuals and groups of individuals in society, in particular those living in vulnerable situations. Similarly, States should adopt positive measures to ensure that specific individuals and groups are not discriminated against. For instance, they should disaggregate their health laws and policies and tailor them to those most in need of assistance rather than passively allowing seemingly neutral laws and policies to benefit mainly the majority groups.


B. Children and adolescents


Governments and health professionals should treat all children and adolescents in a non-discriminatory manner. This means that they should pay particular attention to the needs and rights of specific groups, such as children belonging to minorities or indigenous communities, intersex children15 and, generally, young girls and adolescent girls, who in many contexts are prevented from accessing a wide range of services, including health care.



15 Intersex children are born with internal and external sex organs that are neither exclusively male nor exclusively female.

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