VU professor Dainius Pūras: UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health

VU professor Dainius Pūras: UN Special Rapporteur on the right to healthThe United Nations Human Rights Council appointed professor Dainius Pūras from Vilnius University, Lithuania as a Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health at its twenty-sixth session in June 2014.
Dainius Pūras, a medical doctor with notable expertise on mental health and child health, took up his functions as Special Rapporteur on 1 August 2014.

"My responsibility is to provide the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and the General Assembly in New York with an annual report on the urgent health-related policy issues. I have to think globally, take into account regional and national specificities. However, my responsibilities do not end with the annual report, I have also to visit selected countries and to issue recommendations, how to improve the situation of the right to health in the particular state", professor Dainius Pūras comments on the specificity of his mandate.

In April 2015 Dainius Pūras, the Special Rapporteur, submitted the annual report providing a brief account of his activities since he took office in August 2014. The main focus of the report was on the right to health framework, and the development of the contours and content of the right to health. He then reflected on how he sees the way forward, based on the current context, challenges and opportunities for the full realisation of the right to health. The Special Rapporteur provided his conclusions and observations.

One month later Dainius Pūras submitted a thorough report on the health state in Malaysia. The Special Rapporteur visited Malaysia at the end of 2015. During the visit, the Special Rapporteur considered how the country succeeds in implementing the right to health. In particular, he assessed issues related to: the health-care system and financing, and the right to health of particular groups, such as women and girls; indigenous communities; migrants, persons living with HIV/AIDS; children; persons with psychosocial and developmental disabilities, etc. The Special Rapporteur sugested a number of recommendations in the report.

Mr Pūras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child psychiatry social paediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International relations and political science and Faculty of Philosophy of Vilnius University, Lithuania. He is also visiting Professor at the Ilia State University, Georgia. As a medical doctor, he serves as a consultant at the Child Development Center, at Vilnius University Hospital.

Dainius Pūras is a human rights advocate who has been actively involved during the last 30 years in the process of transforming public health policies and services, with special focus on the rights of children, persons with mental disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. Between 2007 and 2011, Mr Pūras served as a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He has been an independent expert and consultant to numerous Governments, NGOs, and UN agencies and programmes in the field of the right to health. He is author of over 60 scientific publications covering issues such as public health, mental health, public health policy, disabilities, and prevention of violence.

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