Understanding the right to health and how governments and corporations impact it.

In his chapter "Corporate human rights obligations under specific socio-economic rights" Jernej Letnar Černič gives a good overview of the historical and legal circumstances of essential human rights and socio-economic rights. Of particular interest is the section on the right to health. Černič correctly recognizes that health, and thus the right to it, is an essential part of the basic of life of every individual. However, the right must not be misunderstood, for example as the right to be healthy. Illnesses are a natural part of human life. Instead, as Černič illustrates, the right to health refers to the right to have access to quality health care. Health-promoting living conditions must therefore be created. But as with some other human rights, many developing countries fail to build up adequate health networks. Health care is thus heavily dependent on financial resources, both from the state and from the individual himself. This leads to discrimination. It should also be noted that discrimination can also based on religious, ethnic, or other aspects. As Černič shows us, private companies also play an important role in health care. They have both negative and positive obligations with regard to the right to health. They must therefore not only respect the right, but actively participate in its fulfillment. Thus, companies gain a special importance in the relationship with their employees. The savings in labor costs in developing countries often come at the expense of the health of the workers when they work on a piecework basis or have to work in conditions that are harmful to their health without adequate protection. A lack of supervision on the part of the state is evident. The right to health thus depends on political decisions that also affect the private sector. Whereby the socio-political commitment and priorities of the state are decisive. For example, Thailand has invested 14% of its national budget in the public health system in 2011 so that citizens will only have to bear 25% of health care expenditures. In India, on the other hand, the state invests only minimally in the public health system, which means that citizens bear a much larger share and are therefore either impoverished or have no access to it at all. This comparison shows the impact of social policy decisions on the right to health. The lack of state intervention is leading to increasing privatization and commercialization of the health sector. Černič makes us realize how important it is to respect human rights, especially when companies start to take on public tasks such as in the health sector. Černič explains in detail how private companies have an obligation in this context, but only to a minimum extent. So, we should ask ourselves whether it is sufficient or even effective. It can be observed worldwide that such mechanisms are causing more and more people to slide into poverty and are not able to exercise their right to health adequately. This constitutes a violation of human rights. From a global perspective, it can therefore be argued that we need global compensation mechanisms to support countries and their citizens who lack resources.