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China Holds Panel Discussion on Realizing the Right to Health by Enhancing Capacity-Building in Public Health in the Human Rights Council

On 8 June, China organized a panel discussion on "realizing the right to health by enhancing capacity-building in public health" at the 35th session of the Human Rights Council.

Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization, delivered a keynote speech in which she underlined the importance for the international community to promote the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health through implementing the sustainable development goals. She expressed the readiness of the WHO to stay committed to promoting global health and enhancing public health capacity in developing countries.

Mr. Ma Zhaoxu, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations Office at Geneva and other International Organizations in Switzerland, spoke at the panel. He noted that building stronger public health capacity around the world, particularly in developing countries, is critical for realizing the right of everyone to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. He called on all states to build and improve the legal system for public health, strengthen the public health service system under the guidance of the International Health Regulations (2005), and promote universal and equal access to public health services. He encouraged the international community and the UN health agencies to actively assist developing countries by providing funding and technical cooperation to build public health systems in these countries and increase the collective capacity for tackling international public health emergencies, thereby realizing the health-related goals in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Mr. Tolbert Nyenswah, Deputy Minister of Health and Director-General of the National Public Health Institute of Liberia, Dr. Lorenzo Somarriba López, National Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba, and Dr. Ren Minghui, Assistant Director-General of the WHO, shared their views and recommendations on ways to promote the right to health through enhanced capacity building in public health. Mr. Nyenswah recalled the experience of Liberia in fighting Ebola and expressed gratitude for the invaluable support and assistance that China provided to his country. Mr. Gong Xiangguang, Deputy Director-General of the Department of Law and Legislation of the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China, outlined China's achievement and experience in promoting public health system.

The panelists agreed that all states have the common responsibility and duty to strengthen capacity-building in public health, and the international community needs to take the opportunities brought about by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to enhance international cooperation in order to realize the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health for all.

The panel is widely applauded as a useful platform for various parties to exchange ideas on enhancing capacity-building in public health and promoting the right to health and is yet another evidence of China's commitment to human rights.

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