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Massachusetts Medical Society




War, famine, pestilence, and poverty have had obvious and devastating effects on health throughout human history. In recent times, human rights have come to be viewed as essential to freedom and individual development. But it is only since the end of World War II that the link between human rights and these causes of disease and death has been recognized.1-3 The 50th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — signed on December 10, 1948 — provides an opportunity to review its genesis, to explore the contemporary link between health and human rights, and to develop effective human-rights strategies in order to promote health and prevent and treat disease.


From The New England Journal of Medicine, George J. Annas, Human Rights and Health - The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 50, Volume 339, Page 1778 Copyright ©(1998) Massachusetts Medical Society. Reprinted with permission.

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