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The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health
September 26, 2013

General Statement of the U.S. Delegation of the United States of America

UN Human Rights Council – 24th Session

September 26, 2013


Thank you, Mr. President.

The United States thanks Brazil for its continued dedication to an issue of tremendous importance to all countries.

For many years now the United States has joined other countries in supporting resolutions on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.  We are pleased to cosponsor today this resolution renewing the mandate of the Special Rapporteur.  With this mandate renewal, we look forward to a renewed focus on pressing human rights concerns, especially those of the most needy.

The United States believes access to health coverage is a necessary element  in the full realization of one’s health potential.  The expansion of health care coverage has been at the forefront of our domestic agenda and we commend the leadership of other countries who have made it a priority.  The United States also believes that health coverage is a national-level concern and responsibility. For progress and sustainability, national governments must take on the fundamental challenges to move toward more inclusive access.

At the same time, the United States has had strong concerns about a number of the provisions in previous resolutions adopted by this body and included in reports of the Special Rapporteur, including a selective emphasis on issues of intellectual property and trade as well as access to medicines.  The Special Rapporteur will have the greatest impact if he or she uses the position to help States prioritize goals of access and promote public health policies relevant to their national circumstances, consistent with their human rights and other international obligations.  On this note, the position of the United States with regard to economic, social and cultural rights is well known.  We cosponsor this resolution in that light, and with the goal of furthering access to healthcare around the world.

Every government can and in fact should work to provide access to affordable, safe, efficacious and quality health care for all.  We urge continued attention to the important wider range of human rights issues related to health, especially one relating to those most in need.