Global Public Health
Volume 13, 2017 Issue 11
Accountability for the human right to health through treaty monitoring: Human rights treaty bodies and the influence of concluding observations
Benjamin Mason Meier, Marlous De Milliano, Averi Chakrabarti & Yuna Kim
Published online: 04 Nov 2017
Employing novel coding methods to evaluate human rights monitoring, this article examines the influence of United Nations (UN) treaty bodies on national implementation of the human right to health. The advancement of the right to health in the UN human rights system has shifted over the past 20 years from the development of norms under international law to the implementation of those norms through national policy. Facilitating accountability for this rights-based policy implementation under the right to health, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) monitors state implementation by reviewing periodic reports from state parties, engaging in formal sessions of ‘constructive dialogue’ with state representatives, and issuing concluding observations for state response. These concluding observations recognise the positive steps taken by states and highlight the principal areas of CESCR concern, providing recommendations for implementing human rights and detailing issues to be addressed in the next state report. Through analytic coding of the normative indicators of the right to health in both state reports and concluding observations, this article provides an empirical basis to understand the policy effects of the CESCR monitoring process on state implementation of the right to health.