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Global Health and Human Rights Law Database

The Global Health and Human Rights Database is a free online database of law from around the world relating to health and human rights. Developed by the Lawyers Collective and the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University, in collaboration with a worldwide network of partners—including NGOs, academics and private researchers—the database offers an interactive, searchable, and fully indexed website of case law, national constitutions and international instruments.

The database became publicly available in March 2013 and was formally launched on October 24, 2013, with a celebratory event held at UN Headquarters during the 68th session of the UN General Assembly, that brought together speakers working across a number of sectors.



Joseph Amon
Human Rights Watch

Ana Ayala
O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law

Brian Citro
University of Chicago Law School

Jonathan Cohen
Open Society Foundations

Anand Grover
UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health

Benjamin Mason Meier
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Terry McGovern
Columbia University

Nadia Rasheed
United Nations Development Programme

Suzanne Zhou
Lawyers Collective

More on the Database

The right to health and other health-related rights have been enshrined in a number of international treaties, regional instruments, and national constitutions and laws. This has given rise to a significant body of cases decided by national courts and international and regional human rights bodies that interpret the content and state obligations of the right to health and other health-related rights, based on relevant human rights treaties and other legal instruments.

However, despite growing use of international, regional and domestic litigation to enforce and interpret rights in health related-matters, until now, there has not been a comprehensive collection and categorization of health and human rights judgments. In response, the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law and the Lawyers Collective bring together judgments, international and regional legal instruments, and national constitutions involving health and human rights in a single database.

As practitioners and scholars analyze legal strategies, the database can provide a starting point for research and practice. Given the growth of this database, it is expected that such a resource may serve as a basis for analogous legal reasoning across states to serve as precedents for future judgments, for comparative legal analysis of similar health claims in different country contexts, and for empirical research to clarify the impact of health-related rights on health outcomes.

Selected Publications

Wu, Ann, Ana S Ayala, and Daniel Hougendobler. “Shining the Global Spotlight on the Links Between Obesity and Mental Health.” LADI - Revista Latinoamericana de Derecho Internacional 2 (May 29, 2015).
Meier, Benjamin M, Oscar A Cabrera, Ana S Ayala, and Lawrence O Gostin. “Bridging International Law and Rights-Based Litigation: Mapping Health-Related Rights through the Development of the Global Health and Human Rights Database.” Health and Human Rights: An International Journal, 2012.