In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for inputs on racism and the right to health, the Sexual Rights Initiative made a submission advocating for an analysis of racism and the right to health addressing both racism and colonialism as determinants of health and as structural violence. The submission illustrates some of the ways in which racism manifests in the area of the right to health, including with regards to bodily autonomy, sexual and reproductive health and rights, mental health, maternal mortality and morbidity, and the impact of racist anti-immigration policies. The submission looks at the colonial history and current colonial power dynamics of medicine, global health, health funding, and international financial institutions, and critiques the racist impacts of neoliberal approaches to health, economics and human rights. Finally, it argues that reparations for colonialism and slavery are essential to the realization of the right to health and the decolonization of global health.
SRI also organized a Tweet chat on Racism and Health in the context of the Special Rapporteur’s call for submissions, in which the mandate-holder as well as a number of organizations and activists participated. The summary compilation is available here.