Public Health, Ethics, and Human Rights: A Tribute to the Late Jonathan Mann
Author(s)Gostin, Lawrence O.
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AbstractThe late Jonathan Mann famously theorized that public health, ethics, and human rights are complementary fields motivated by the paramount value of human well-being. He felt that people could not be healthy if governments did not respect their rights and dignity as well as engage in health policies guided by sound ethical values. Nor could people have their rights and dignity if they were not healthy. Mann and his colleagues argued that public health and human rights are integrally connected: Human rights violations adversely affect the community's health, coercive public health policies violate human rights, and advancement of human rights and public health reinforce one another. Despite the deep traditions in public health, ethics, and human rights, they have rarely cross-fertilized - although there exists an important emerging literature. For the most part, each of these fields has adopted its own terminology and forms of reasoning. Consequently, Mann advocated the creation of a code of public health ethics and the adoption of a vocabulary or taxonomy of "dignity violations."