Researching Health and Human Rights—Greater Horn of Africa

Posted Feb. 13, 2009. Updated Oct. 14, 2009.
Prepared by Mary Whisner for Prof. Joel Ngugi's class, Health, Human Rights, and Social Transformation in the Greater Horn of Africa (SISAF 490/SOC W 598G/SOC WF498B)


Health and human rights are linked in many ways. Violations of human rights can have serious health consequences; unfairly administered health policies or programs can violate human rights; protecting human rights can reduce individuals' vulnerability to ill health and its effects. World Health Organization, 25 Questions & Answers on Health & Human Rights at 8 (2002). This document is an excellent introduction to the topic.

Legal Instruments

Researchers note: Annex I of 25 Questions & Answers lists relevant legal instruments such as treaties and UN resolutions (at 29-31). Minnesota Human Rights Library International Human Rights Instruments has the text of these (and other) instruments.

Human Rights Research Guides

Gallagher Law Library, Human Rights Research

American Society of International Law, ASIL Guide to Electronic Resources for International Law

Health and Human Rights Guides

University of Minnesota Human Rights Library, Study Guide: The Right to Means for Adequate Health (2003). Cites and quotes international conventions and other instruments that protect (or arguably protect) health as a human right. Includes regional sources such as the African Union.

American Medical Student Association, Health & Human Rights Resource List

Health and Human Rights Organizations

International Governmental Organizations (IGOs)

United Nations. See United Nations Research.

World Health Organization -- Health and Human Rights

UNICEF (children's issues)

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

African Union

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

Amnesty International -- Health and Human Rights

Doctors without Borders

Human Rights Watch

International Committee of the Red Cross (humanitarian assistance for victims of war and armed violence)

International Federation of Health and Human Rights Organisations

International Rescue Committee

International Society for Health and Human Rights

  • Health and Human Rights Info -- information on mental health and human rights; pages on gender based violence; child soldiers; post traumatic stress disorder disaster; asylum seekers in Europe; post conflict communities and transitional justice; torture; ethics; helping the helpers

Physicians for Human Rights


Links for Greater Horn of Africa

See Stanford University's list of links, Africa South of the Sahara, Topic: Human Rights

University of New South Wales School of Public Health & Community Medicine has pages linking to IGOs, NGOs, government reports, etc., by country:


Finding Books and Articles


UW WorldCat (includes University Libraries, hundreds of other libraries -- including Gallagher -- and some journal articles)

Gallagher Law Library (just the law library)

Article Indexes and Databases

Great starting place: UW Libraries Subject Guides. Depending on what you're looking for, you might use databases listed under Law, International Studies, Public Health, or News -- or maybe a combination of these.

Electronic Journals

If you find a citation to an article -- either in an index or in something else you're reading -- check for the journal in the lists of electronic journals from the law library and UW Libraries.

LexisNexis Academic

Full-text databases of law reviews, newspapers, magazines. Also has excellent coverage of U.S. primary law (cases, statutes, regulations). Tips:

  • When you retrieve too much, try searching for your terms in the title of an article.
  • Use connectors to make your search more precise. Example:
    • broad: health care and kenya
    • focused: access w/10 health care or doctor or clinic or hospital w/50 kenya*
  • To browse quickly through your results, use KWIC (Key Word In Context) display.


SSRN is a free database of published and unpublished papers. You can search abstracts; usually the papers are available for download. This is not UW-restricted. Sample search:

Sample abstract:


PAIS International

Public affairs and political science articles, books, and government reports from around the world. Sample search:



PubMed is the standard database for scholarly articles in medicine. Sample search:



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