Tabaksbeleggingen van het ABP op gespannen voet met het internationale standaarden

By Professor Brigit Toebes, Academic Director, Global Health Law Groningen Research Centre

Summary in English: The Dutch civil servants pension fund ABP continues to invest in the tobacco industry. This contribution looks at these investments from the perspective of international law, in particular the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and human rights law.

Nederlandse samenvatting: Het ABP heeft wereldwijd meer dan een miljard euro aan beleggingen uitstaan in de tabaksindustrie. Recentelijk is veel kritiek geuit op deze investeringen. Zo vindt de Stichting Rookpreventie Jeugd de investeringen niet ´moreel aanvaardbaar´. Ook binnen het ABP lijkt er geleidelijk meer erkenning te komen voor deze problematiek. In deze bijdrage kijk ik naar deze investeringen door de lens van het internationale recht.

Continue reading


Voices in the Field: Professors Asbjorn Eide and Wenche Barth Eide

By Professor Brigit Toebes

This interview is the first publication from the series ‘Voices in the field,’ a joint endeavour by GHLG and IFHHRO.*

eide 2

Professor Asbjorn Eide (Oslo) is co-founder and former director of the Norwegian Centre for Human Rights at the University of Oslo and a renowned human rights scholar who stood at the cradle of the tripartite typology of state obligations (respect, protect, fulfil). In 1981 Eide was elected member of the UN Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (UN Sub-Commission on Human Rights, 1981—2003), where he has been re-elected several times as the only Nordic member, and has been responsible for developing a number of studies of this sub-committee.

Eide 1Wenche Barth Eide is Professor of Nutrition at the Medical Faculty of the University of Oslo. She was a pioneer with Asbjørn and other Norwegian colleagues in the early work on interlinkages between food and human rights and continued for many years to give content to the human right to adequate food; specifically the group developed a right to adequate food matrix which combines the tripartite typology of state obligations with elements of food and nutrition security (later used and adapted by Brigit Toebes for the right to health). More recently they have in their emeriti positions been working on the human rights consequences of unhealthy diets and have in this context helped create the interdisciplinary research and action network FoHRC (Food, Human Rights and Corporations which Wenche currently coordinates.

Continue reading

Ebola, Burial Practices and the Right to Health in West Africa: Integrating International Human Rights with Local Norms

Julie Fraser, PhD Candidate SIM, Utrecht University,, and Henrike Prudon, MSC, Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University,  

Culture and health are to some degree mutually constitutive. The cultural frameworks into which we are socialised often shape our views on sickness, wellbeing, the causes of illnesses, and their remedies. The UN Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights acknowledges this and, therefore, requires all health goods, facilities, and services to be “culturally appropriate”. This is an obligation on all States parties to the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights to progressively realise. Culturally sensitive approaches to healthcare are important at all times, but can be especially vital during an epidemic. Our study of the recent Ebola crisis that reached a peak in West Africa in 2015 exemplified how indispensable culturally sensitive approaches to the right to health can be.

Continue reading

The Legal Ban on Sex-Selective Abortions: a Step Backwards to Women’s Reproductive Health and Rights in Armenia

By Nikolay Hovhannisyan, University of Groningen LLM International Human Rights Law,

Sex-selective abortions raise moral, legal, and social issues, reinforcing discrimination and sexist stereotypes towards women by devaluing females.[i] In countries like Armenia, where the underlying reason for sex-selective abortions is the widespread son preference, it implies the concept of valuing women only if they are able to produce sons. To tackle son preference in the country and normalize the sex-ratio, in 2016 the Government introduced a legal ban on sex-selective abortions. Whereas the harms of sex-selective abortions are severe, the question is whether such restriction is the most effective and acceptable tool in preventing the practice of sex-selective abortions from occurring and what the implications of such restriction are.

Continue reading

Voices in the Field: Ellen ‘t Hoen

Ellen ‘t Hoen is a lawyer and public health advocate with over 30 years of experience working on pharmaceutical and intellectual property policies. She has also published widely, her latest book being “Private Patents and Public Health: Changing intellectual property rules for public health”, 2016. She currently works as an independent consultant in medicines law and policy to a number of international organisations and governments, and is completing her PhD.  As an expert in access to medicines issues, in this Voices in the Field* video ‘t Hoen provides incite into her experience of how she became involved in access to medicines. For more information about access to medicines, visit

Continue reading

Voices in the Field: Dr. Adriaan van Es

Dr. Adriaan van Es, founder and Secretary of GHLG partner IFHHRO, is an MD, family doctor and counselor on end-of-life decisions.  Dr van Es is also active in health related human rights advocacy.  Learn more from the video below as part of our interview series, Voices in the Field*

Continue reading

Voices in the Field: Robert Simons

Robert Simons has gained extensive knowledge as a practitioner working with human rights. Simons was previously the Nurse Director of the Academic Medical Center Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and has international healthcare experience in Sudan, Pakistan and Vietnam.  Currently, he serves as a Chair of IFHHRO, the Medical Human Rights Network.  In the following video, Simons joins Voices in the Field* to discuss his time working in a Sudanese refugee camp and with Romanian political prisoners, and to share one important message with colleagues and decision makers.

Continue reading