The World Bank: Contested institutional progress in rights-based health discourse

Yusra R Shawar, Jennifer Prah Ruger

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


The World Bank, one of the largest global health funders, continues to deny a formal legal obligation for human rights. Internal constraints limit the Bank's ability to do so, since its Articles of Agreement explicitly forbid it from interfering in a country's internal political affairs, making it unclear whether human rights risk management is within the institution's mandate. This stands in contrast to the institution's commitment to human rights, as reflected in its commitment to helping countries achieve universal health coverage and in its "twin goals" of ending extreme poverty and promoting shared prosperity, which fundamentally contribute to the realization of social and economic rights. This chapter analyzes the ways in which rights-based discourse has evolved in the Bank's global health policies and practices and identifies the institutional factors that have shaped its consideration of human rights.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHuman Rights in Global Health
Subtitle of host publicationRights-Based Governance for a Globalizing World
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages21
ISBN (Print)9780190672676
StatePublished - Apr 19 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Global health
  • Human rights
  • Right to health
  • Universal health coverage
  • World Bank

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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