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In April 2002, the Commission on Human Rights established the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to physical and mental health. Since then, four Special Rapporteurs have been appointed to lead the mandate. On July 3, 2020, the Human Rights Council appointed Dr. Tlaleng Mofokeng to succeed Dr. Dainius Pūras (2014-2020) as the current Special Rapporteur on the right to health.

Handover meetings serve a critical role in ensuring a smooth transition between mandate holders. These conversations explore the transformative capacity of the right to health and the critical role of UN special procedures. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this tradition was reimagined as a series of virtual conversations: the Handover Dialogues.

Alongside the Handover Dialogues, this online platform aims to preserve the legacy of Dr. Pūras' work as UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health and introduce the incoming mandate holder, Dr. Mofokeng, to a range of critical actors with experience in rights-based approaches to physical and mental health. It will also make information about the Handover Dialogues accessible to the general public.

Preparing communities for the future: rights-based approaches
July 15, 2021

In this final dialogue, we return to basics: imagining physical and mental health in which people are at the centre, claiming their entitlements to all social determinants of health.

The themes arising throughout this series of webinars have shown the work undertaken across the mandate by all the Special Rapporteurs. The panel uses these themes to help equip Tlaleng Mofokeng to make the most of the opportunities that the world is now facing, for physical and mental health. It takes inspiration from movements in mental health, and looks at what these mean in terms of empowering people in all aspects of claiming their human rights.


This dialogue focuses on the need to reframe dominant punitive and biomedical models of community safety and well-being and suggest possible futures: state control of populations through medicalization, coercion and social surveillance; or participatory, rights-based approaches that place social justice at its core. The series will close with recognition of the importance of the mandate in helping ensure the second alternative is achieved.


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