Health and Human Rights

Study of the synergies between the twin revolutions in big data and associated technology, and health rights operationalisation, focusing on the arising opportunities and challenges.

The last decade has witnessed a revolution in health rights. There is now a growing movement to extend these rights beyond constitutions and treaties, operationalising heath rights to make them meaningful to all. This strand of research addresses how big data and econometric analysis can be used to measure the progressive realisation of health rights and to accelerate their practical delivery. Our research considers whether big data can enhance the accountability of duty-bearers in relation to health rights and what role civil registration and vital statistics play in this regard. It will also contribute to a better understanding of evaluations of human rights-shaped health interventions, questioning the role big data can play in generating evidence of health gains. Finally, this focus area explores the protection of health rights in the data economy and the risks that are posed by big data for the right to health.


Neglecting Human Rights: Accountability, Data and Sustainable Development Goal 3

An examination of Sustainable Development Goal 3 (health) through the lens of State obligations to respect, protect and fulfil people’s human rights entitlements, with a particular focus on monitoring and review.

(Carmel Williams and Paul Hunt, published by the International Journal for Human Rights)

Working Paper - Does Universalization of Health Work?

Evidence from Health Systems Restructuring and Maternal and Child Health in Brazil (2016)

(Sonia Bhalotra, Rudi Rocha and Rodrigo Soares)

Facts, Power and Global Evidence: A New Empire of Truth

(Ann Kelly and Linsey McGoey, published in 47(1) Economy and Society (2018))


  • Jun182019

    AI for Good but Good for All?

    The Secretary General of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Houlin Zhao opened the third “AI for Good Summit” in Geneva…

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  • Dec122018

    An End to PFI/PF2 – Implications for the Right to Health

    On 29thOctober 2018, Philip Hammond delivered a Conservative Budget declaring an end to austerity and outlining plans for a post-Brexit economy.…

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  • Nov262018

    UN austerity and human rights report highlights Big Data risks in the UK

    Big Data and artificial intelligence are, perhaps surprisingly, a featured highlight in the UN expert’s report on extreme poverty in…

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  • Oct232018

    ALMA-ATA at 40: Its Values are Relevant to the Data Economy

    In 1978 when the Alma-Ata Declaration called on urgent action by all governments to protect and promote the health of…

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  • Aug062018

    Right to health impact assessments needed before using Big Data

    Big Data is transforming health care in multiple ways, from patient management to diagnostic and treatment methods. These new technologies…

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Our Partners

Queen Mary University of London
University of Cambridge
Eye Witness Media
FXB Center for Health & Human Rights
Human Rights Data Analysis Group
Universal Rights Group
World Health Organisation
Geneva Academy