Seminar on Non-communicable Diseases and Human Rights

Seminar on Non-communicable Diseases and Human Rights

On 20 February 2017, a representative of CLAN and NCD Child attended a Seminar on Non-communicable Diseases and Human Rights hosted by the UN Interagency Taskforce (UNIATF) on NCDs and the WHO Global Coordination Mechanisms on NCDs (WHO-GCM).


The half-day seminar involved presentations and discussions focusing on NCDs, human rights, and development, with a view to facilitating the development of more specific guidance for UN agencies with regards the integration of human rights within NCD responses. 

Participants acknowledged that the topic of human rights was the primary overarching principle and the meeting was intended to explore the role of human rights in the formulation of strategies for the prevention and control of NCDs.

Panelists included former Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter; Senior Human Rights and Law Adviser, Patrick Eba; Assistant Professor of Preventative Medicine at Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, Laura Ferguson; Harvard Medical School Center for Palliative Care, Dr Eric Krakauer; and Advocacy Manager from the NCD Alliance, Alena Matzke. Dr. Nick Banatvala from the WHO acted as the moderator.  

For CLAN and NCD Child, the seminar provided a unique opportunity to focus attention on the importance of a rights-based approach to NCDs, health, and development for children and adolescents. An individual’s right to health, as held in international law, recognises that all children should be fully prepared to live an individual life in society and be brought up in the spirit of happiness, love, understanding, peace, dignity, tolerance, freedom, equality and solidarity.  Too often however, children and families living with NCDs – and particularly those in low- and middle-income countries – are not aware of their rights to health and life.

Helping children understand their human rights

Over the course of the last year, CLAN has worked towards developing a series of child-friendly human rights flyers that can be used as tools to further empower children, adolescents and their families living with NCDs in low and middle-income countries. The flyers cover a range of conditions (to date Diabetes, Childhood Cancer and CAH) and have been translated into several languages (French, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesian) to help individuals learn more about their human rights with regards to the support and protection they may expect from their respective governments.

Coincidentally, 20 February was also the World Day of Social Justice, and CLAN chose this exact date to launch our latest Child-Friendly Rights Flyer on Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH). Throughout the seminar our representative highlighted CLAN and NCD Child’s collaborative work calling attention to the range of international partners and community groups that helped launch CLAN’s Child-Friendly Human Rights Flyers. A link to CLAN’s child-friendly human rights flyers can be found here:

We could not have asked for a better opportunity to launch the Child-Friendly Human Rights Flyer on Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia-CAH! Many thanks to NCD Child and our many partners for their support in achieving this successful launch. With a follow-up meeting planned for later this year, UNIATF is looking at the development of key messages on NCDs and human rights that organisations could further use as an advocacy tool.