Accountability for the health consequences of human rights violations: methodological issues in determining compensation

Health Hum Rights. 2006;9(2):256-79.


The issue of compensation is an under-studied dimension of a rights-based approach to health. The emerging normative framework that allows for compensation of human rights abuses lacks a consistent and transparent methodology for valuing health losses. While methods for assigning monetary values to decreases in health have evolved through health economics, these techniques have developed outside of a human rights framework and do not adequately account for such concerns as fairness and nondiscrimination. These methods may in fact underestimate damages for poor individuals and communities, as well as for those subjected to prolonged abuses. This article will examine the normative foundations for compensation, evaluate methodological shortcomings, and propose a methodology for the valuation of health damages in group settings.

MeSH terms

  • Costs and Cost Analysis
  • Human Rights Abuses / economics*
  • Humans
  • United Nations