The Lancet: Commission on Health and Human Rights (3)

2 April, 2024

Dear HIFA [*see note below]

If HIFA discusses human rights at this time without mention of Gaza, it is so abstract that I can't get into it. When Israel has killed over 32,000 people, mostly civilians and many of them children, in Gaza, with armaments supplied by the USA and with the support, or at least lack of dissent, of most of the rich nations, I see discussion of these highfalutin aims on human rights as little more than Nero fiddling while Rome burned. It's much like we in the rich nations were glad to join in high flying pronouncement on equity of availability of vaccines until Covid-19 hit, whereupon some low-income countries got none.

We have little say as individuals in what our governments do or support, but we live in a highly connected world and while we all see genocide daily on our TV screens, I for one will not be distracted. We have been climbing the escalator of progress, but genocide kicks us down to the bottom again.

That's where we are, and that's what we should contend with.

Best wishes

Stewart Britten

HIFA profile: Stewart Britten is advisor to the British NGO, HealthProm, on its project to reduce maternal and child deaths in Northern Afghanistan. He has worked for the reduction of institutionalisation of babies and small children in Russia by introduction of parent support programmes. stewart.britten AT

[*Note from HIFA moderator (NPW): I have approved the above message as it raises a genuine question about the validity of discussing the availability and use of reliable healthcare information as a determinant of the right to health at a time when there is so much suffering in Gaza and elsewhere. I look forward to your comments on this. HIFA does not carry messages unless they are (at least in part) relevant to the HIFA remit. For further information on HIFA guidelines for messages, see: ]