International health law: an emerging field of public international law

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This article discusses the nature and scope of international health law as an
emerging field of public international law. It is argued that the protection of health
reflects a pressing social need that should now be spoken of in the vocabulary of
international law. Furthermore, there is an urgent need for counterbalancing interests
such as international trade, global commerce and the welfare interests of the protection
of the health of both individuals and populations worldwide. As of now,
international health law is not a well-developed field. The health-related standardsetting
legal instruments are very fragmented as there is no overall international
recognition of international health law as a distinct branch of international law.
Enormous challenges lie ahead, especially in terms of strengthening the existing
instruments and addressing the responsibilities of non-state actors in the health field.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20
Pages (from-to)299-328
Number of pages29
JournalIndian Journal of International Law
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep-2015


  • International health law Right to health Public health Globalization Standard-setting

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