International standards

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The right of the child to the “highest attainable standard of health” is recognised in article 24 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.  More specifically, article 24 provides that states should take measures to diminish infant and child mortality, ensure provision of necessary health care and ensure pre-natal and post-natal health care for mothers.  It further provides that children should have access to facilities for treatment and rehabilitation.  The Committee on the Rights of the Child has adopted two General Comments on the right to health; General Comment 3 on HIV/AIDS and the rights of the child and General Comment 4 on adolescent health.

The right to health is also recognised in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights article 25 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights article 12, which both highlight health issues related to children.  The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights has adopted General Comment 14 on the right to the highest attainable standard of health which elaborates on health rights of children, adolescents and mothers.  UN millennium goal 4 is to reduce child mortality and millennium goal 5 is to improve maternal health.