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Book and Media Reviews
October 18, 2006

Human Rights

Author Affiliations

Book and Media Reviews Section Editor: Harriet S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA.

JAMA. 2006;296(15):1905-1910. doi:10.1001/jama.296.15.1907

The title of this timely anthology of essays on sexuality, gender, health, and human rights derives from comments made by Eleanor Roosevelt at the United Nations (UN) in 1958: “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any map of the world. . . . Unless these rights have meaning there, they have little meaning anywhere.”

If Eleanor Roosevelt were alive today, she might be surprised at the ongoing resistance to merging socioeconomic and cultural rights—so vital to women's realization of freedom and autonomy—into the “core” civil and political rights that constitute traditional definitions of human rights. She would undoubtedly be delighted, however, with this set of essays by the 2003-2004 Soros Reproductive Health and Rights fellows in a program cosponsored by the Open Society Institute of the Soros Foundation Network and the Department of Population and Family Health of the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University.

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