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  • Publication Date: 02-2013
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Trans people across the world face substantial barriers to adequate health and health care. They are targets of discrimination and violence, are at greater risk of contracting HIV, and experience a higher incidence of mental health problems like depression. They face discrimination from health care providers, a lack of doctors trained to address their needs, and the refusal of many national health systems and insurance providers to cover their care. Yet trans communities are building alliances to promote trans health and to fight for policies that respect gender diversity and human rights. This report profiles projects from 16 organizations in twelve countries that address these barriers. These projects offered general health services as well as those related to gender transition, trained health care providers to respond to the needs and concerns of trans patients, conducted public education campaigns about discrimination against trans people, advocated for legal and medical policy changes, and organized trans communities to empower themselves. Collecting insights from these projects, Transforming Health makes recommendations to governments, rights advocates, health professionals and public health organizations, and health and rights donors.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Gender Issues, Health, Discrimination, LGBT+, Public Health, Sexual Health, Transgender
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Author: Jonathan Cohen, Tamar Ezer
  • Publication Date: 06-2012
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: Health care settings should be places where human rights are realized. Yet, across the world, health systems often serve as venues of punishment, coercion, and violations of basic human rights, sometimes amounting to torture or cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. This abuse is especially prevalent in the care of socially marginalized groups—people living with HIV, ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, people who use drugs, and people with intellectual disabilities or mental health problems. There are many national, regional, and international mechanisms designed to promote government accountability and prevent torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment, yet these mechanisms are rarely applied to health facilities. This manual describes 20 anti-torture mechanisms from the United Nations and African, European, and Inter-American human rights systems and provides illustrative examples on how to use these mechanisms to fight torture in health settings. For each mechanism, the manual explores mandate, procedure, possibilities for engagement, and prior work on torture in health care. The manual also includes a glossary of basic human rights terms. This manual is designed as a resource for organizations that advocate against abuse in health care—including international, regional, and national human rights organizations; groups focused on particular health care abuses; anti-torture groups; and the treaty bodies themselves.
  • Topic: HIV/AIDS, Health, Torture, United Nations, Minorities, Health Care Policy
  • Political Geography: Africa, Europe, Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 05-2011
  • Content Type: Policy Brief
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: The absolute prohibition under human rights law of all forms of torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment is commonly applied to prisons and pretrial detention centers. However this prohibition also applies to places such as schools, hospitals, orphanages, and social care institutions—places where coercion, power dynamics, and practices occurring outside the purview of law or justice systems can contribute to the infliction of unjustified and severe pain and suffering on marginalized people. This briefing paper focuses on torture and ill-treatment in health settings, including hospitals, clinics, hospices, people’s homes, or anywhere health care is delivered. It focuses on government accountability for placing health providers and patients in unacceptable situations whereby torture and ill-treatment is neither documented, prevented, punished, nor redressed. People who are perceived as “deviant” by authorities, who pose a “nuisance” to health providers, who lack the power to complain or assert their rights, or who are associated with stigmatized or criminalized behaviors may be especially at risk of torture in health care.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, Torture, Law, Health Care Policy, Marginalization
  • Political Geography: Global Focus
  • Publication Date: 06-2011
  • Content Type: Special Report
  • Institution: Open Society Foundations
  • Abstract: People identified as drug users in many countries are confined to abusive locked detention centers for months or even years. Such detention centers are supposedly mandated to treat and "rehabilitate" drug users, but the "treatment" they receive in some cases amounts to torture or other cruel, inhuman, and degrading punishment. In Treatment or Torture? Applying International Human Rights Standards to Drug Detention Centers, legal experts review common forms of abuse in drug detention centers and show how these practices in many cases are in violation of basic human rights treaties widely ratified by most nations worldwide. International health and drug-control agencies—including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, and the World Health Organization—all endorse comprehensive, evidence-based drug dependence treatment services. Yet drug detention centers rarely provide treatment that meets these standards. Depending on the country, so-called rehabilitation consists of a regime of military drills, forced labor, psychological and moral re-education, and shackling, caning, and beating. Treatment or Torture? comes in advance of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking and the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture—both on June 26, 2011. The report was published by the Campaign to Stop Torture in Health Care, a coalition led by the Open Society Foundations, and featured legal analysis by Human Rights Watch, Harm Reduction International, and the Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network.
  • Topic: Health, Human Rights, International Law, War on Drugs, Health Care Policy, Criminal Justice, Drugs, Public Health
  • Political Geography: Global Focus