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The Right to Health in International Law$
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John Tobin

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199603299

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603299.001.0001

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The Right to Health—Its Conceptual Foundations

The Right to Health—Its Conceptual Foundations

2 The Right to Health—Its Conceptual Foundations
The Right to Health in International Law

John Tobin

Oxford University Press

This chapter seeks to determine whether the right to health, as expressed in international law, can be justified within a theory of human rights or is simply a ‘vacuous concept’ that should as has been suggested by some commentators, be demoted from the list of human rights recognized under international law. It concludes that such a justification does exist, based on what is described as a social interest theory of rights. It is argued that, although not completely theorized, there is an overlapping consensus as to the conceptual foundations of the right to health in international law, which is derived from the social process that led to the recognition of a person's interest in achieving the highest attainable standard of health as the basis for a human right.

Keywords:   human rights, theoretical justification, libertarianism, legitimacy, economic rights, social rights

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