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March 6, 2018

Retreat From Human Rights and Adverse Consequences for Health

Author Affiliations
  • 1Human Rights Watch, New York, New York
JAMA. 2018;319(9):861-862. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.0271

The international environment for human rights has rapidly deteriorated in recent years. Populist leaders have come to power in an increasing number of countries, often on political platforms that are explicitly hostile to human rights. These leaders tend to portray respect for human rights as an inconvenient obstacle to their agendas rather than as an essential limit on their power. Meanwhile, many governments that have traditionally been proponents of human rights, although often with records that do not entirely reflect human rights, have encountered internal challenges from authoritarian populists or far-right political parties that have turned their focus inward and weakened their willingness to stand up for human rights internationally.