Introduction to Health and Housing

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Introduction to Health and Housing

The United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, states "everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services." Adequate food, water, and shelter are the building blocks of life, but famine and destruction are common global occurrences. Two billion people across the globe lack access to fresh water. War, profiteering, corruption, and a lack of adequate transport infrastructure (highways, trains, and airports) hamper delivery of food, water, and medical supplies to areas most in need.

Medical care is necessary to ensure both individual and public health. Absolute denial of medial care to a distinct group of people is a human rights crime. Similarly, historical violations of human rights have involved medical experimentation on unknowing persons. International accords—as well as western medical ethics—advocate that enemy combatants and prisoners of war receive emergency medical treatment. The documents enumerating rights to medical care are found in the chapter Development of human Rights. Highlighted in this chapter are violations of those rights, including the Taliban's denial of hospital services to Afghani women, the Tuskegee Syphilis study, and the destruction of hospitals and neglect of enemy combatants in Kashmir.

Several articles in this chapter discus issues of reproductive rights. Family limitation, abortion, and sterilization are all controversial topics with possible human rights implications. The editors have included an article on the Rove v. Wade decision permitting voluntary abortion in the United States as contrast to articles on forced sterilization and forced family limitation. "China's "One Child Family" Policy" discusses the controversy over both the policy of government limits on family and the methods employed to ensure one-child families. The policy and its practice are highly controversial, but the editors have chosen to focus the discussion on human rights based criticism.

Finally, the movement to improve living conditions in the United States is briefly addressed in two articles. "The Moral and Sanitary Condition of New York City" is an example of the tenement and slum reform movement of the nineteenth century, while an article on the Fair Housing Act discusses twentieth-century codification of housing programs.

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Introduction to Health and Housing

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Introduction to Health and Housing