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The Right to Health: Is There a Correlation Between Domestic Commitment and Treaty Engagement?

journal contribution
posted on 2023-03-14, 13:17 authored by Uchechukwu NgwabaUchechukwu Ngwaba

As the world recovers from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, this paper examines the engagement of four low- and middle-income states (Brazil, India, Nigeria, and South Africa) with the obligations to guarantee the right to health domestically they have assumed in the treaty framework on health. Utilizing institutional liberalism (or sometimes liberal institutionalism) as its theoretical lens, the paper suggests the presence of a strong correlation between these states' domestic commitment to the right to health and their responses to treaty obligations in respect of that right. The paper further propounds that of the states examined, those that have shown serious commitment to the right to health in their domestic system have shown a greater likelihood of engaging and complying with their international treaty obligations in fulfilling that right. The paper concludes that by engaging and being committed to the right to health in their domestic systems, these states have increased the likelihood that they will engage and comply with the treaty framework on the right to health. Alternatively, the paper argues that even where domestic commitment to the right to health is weak, the assumption of international treaty obligations in respect of that right can "help domestic social actors in these states set priorities, define meaning, make rights demands and bargain from a position of greater strength than would have been the case in the absence of their government's treaty commitment."1





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