Francesco Tripo

The Human Right to Health in the Inter-American Human Rights System: An Analysis of Its Enforceability

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Social rights often pose challenges in terms of concrete protection and enforceability. The right to health is no exception to such a statement. In this regard, the Inter-American System of human rights protection, and the most recent judgments of its Court, provide interesting food for thought in rela-tion to the direct justiciability of the right to health, especially in the context of the current pandemic. The purpose of this article is, thus, to identify the legal boundaries of the right to health in light of relevant regional and international provisions and to analyze the change in the Court’s approach in recent cases involving alleged violations of the right. In fact, the judges of San José abandoned their previous jurisprudence based on an indirect protection (por conexidad) under the umbrella of civil rights. This new interpretative path led to declaring, for the first time in more than three decades, an autonomous violation of the right to health (por referencia directa) within the scope of Article 26 of the American Convention on Human Rights. The hope is that this novel approach will pave the way for the enhancement of effective access to justice and protection of several vulnerable people in the region. After all, the right to health in particular, and human rights in general, are instrumental for a life lived with freedom, dignity and equality.


  • human rights
  • Inter-American Court
  • interdependence
  • jurisprudence
  • right to health
  • di-rect enforceability of social rights
  • Article 26
  • American Convention on Human Rights


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