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Release: April 9, 2001

(Editor's Note: To arrange an interview with one of the speakers, or to attend all or part of the conference, call the University of Iowa Center for Human Rights at 335-3900 or the Global Health Studies Office 335-2825.)

UI hosts Global Assembly on Human Right to Health April 20-22

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Iowa is not immune to the health crisis facing people around the globe. The state's diverse population links Iowa to the global community and is thus affected by global health concerns such as conflict, clean water, sanitation, and lifestyle and infectious diseases.

"Infectious diseases, poor sanitation and lack of clean water are only an airplane trip away," said Maureen McCue, M.D., an organizer of an assembly convening at the University of Iowa to address health and human rights.

"A Global Assembly: Advancing the Human Right to Health" will be held April 20-22 at the Iowa Memorial Union (IMU) on the UI campus. The assembly is organized by the UI Center for Human Rights, Global Health Studies Program and the Francois-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health Rights of the Harvard School of Public Health with support from many colleges, departments and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) nationally and internationally.

Highlights of the Assembly will be the keynote address given by Daniel Tarantola, M.D. and the plenary address given by Carlos Pazos, M.D. These talks are free and open to the public. Tarantola will speak on "World Health and Human Rights" on Friday, April 20 at 7 p.m. in the IMU Ballroom. He is a senior policy advisor in the Office of the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO). He advises the WHO Director-General on a number of health and human rights issues including HIV/AIDS, communicable diseases and emergency humanitarian action.

Pazos will deliver an address on "Globalization: Its Impact on Health" on Sunday, April 22 at 8:30 a.m. in the IMU Ballroom. He is the president of the Cuban Medical Committee for Global Survival and advisor to the Cuban Minister of Health. Pazos advises the minister on issues of globalization and health as well as the arms race and health.

"Both speakers have unique and broad international perspectives to share with Iowa," noted McCue.

Scholars, health and legal professionals, and activists from around the world, including Cuba, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark and Canada, will share their insights and expertise. International participants from Liberia, the United Kingdom, Uganda and Canada also plan to attend.

Goals of the conference include articulating the consequences of the denial of the right to health, presenting research and findings in the areas of human rights and health, and introducing initiatives to achieve economic, social and cultural rights supportive of global health.

"At the conclusion to the three day Assembly, participants will compose and publish the Iowa City Declaration addressing our collective responsibility to advance the human right to health," McCue said.

Numerous participants from the UI, Iowa City community, and other state of Iowa institutions will also contribute to the Assembly. These local experts include faculty and students in public health, medicine, law and social sciences, legal professionals, health care providers, community members, and activists with an interest in global health and human rights.

UI conference sponsors include: the College of Public Health; College of Medicine; International Programs: Stanley Major Projects and National Resource Center; Associate Provost for Health Sciences; Anthropology Department; Global Studies Program; and Students Against Sweatshops (SAS).

Other sponsors are: the University of Northern Iowa, Global Health Corps (GHC); Global Lawyers and Physicians, Health Law Department, Boston University School of Public Health; Physicians for Human Rights (PHR); Doctors for Global Health (DGH); and the Stanley Foundation.

The United Nations Association-USA, Iowa Division, UI Department of Health, Leisure and Sport Studies, the Council for International Visitors to Iowa Cities (CIVIC), and the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) have also donated funds.

For more information about the Global Assembly, including registration information and a complete schedule of events and speakers, contact the UI Center for Conferences and Institutes at (319) 335-4141 or 1-800-551-9029 or check online at: