It is well known that the right to health is closely related to and dependent upon access to information. This truth has become ever more important in light of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has demanded transparency and accountability from governments all over the world. In the absence of such attributes, the strengthening of civil society is extremely relevant — particularly in countries where the government’s response to COVID-19 has been deeply flawed, such as Brazil.
In these troubled times, such events showcase the importance of transparency and accountability for the right to health. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres put it, in his call-to-action We are all in this together: human rights and Covid-19 response and recovery: “[m]ore than ever, governments must be transparent, responsive and accountable.” If they fail to do so willingly, recent events in Brazil show just how big a role civil society has to play.
The views reflected in this expert column are those of the individual authors and do not necessarily represent those of the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law or Georgetown University. This blog is solely informational in nature, and not intended as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed and retained attorney in your state or country.