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Education University of Groningen Summer Schools

Human Rights and Global Health Challenges

We are currently updating our course overview for 2022-2023. The information below might be updated.

illustration of a patient file

Why are non-communicable diseases (NCDs) a legal issue? How far can a government go to protect public health? How do we generate accountability for human rights violations in a health context? These are just three of the big questions that we will be asking in this summer school.

Our week focuses on understanding the role of law and human rights in addressing health inequalities and global health concerns. Law is potentially a powerful tool to improve population health and to address health inequalities. Laws can encourage healthy and safe behaviours, they can change and shape our physical and social environments and the social determinants of health, and they can even structure the public health system. However, in practice, laws do not always properly respond to health problems and they do not always respect human rights. For example, a restrictive abortion law is at tension with the right of women to the highest attainable standard of health.

All in all, we seek to address a lack of understanding of how law should respond to health inequalities. We will shed light on the power of law and human rights to better protect health related interests. We will demonstrate legal and policy approaches to public health challenges through the examination of range of specific themes.

We will start the week with an introduction to international and domestic health law and human rights. Next, we address a number of specific themes from a legal perspective: health systems (mal)functioning, health data protection and patients’ rights, reproductive health, mental health, the global increase in noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), as well as air pollution, climate change, and healthy cities.

This summer school will be taught by a group of experts working in the legal field who have ample experience teaching a multidisciplinary audience. Participants will be asked to actively engage with the material presented through group work exercises and presentations. We will conclude the week with a session led by the participants about how the methods presented can be applied to other public health challenges.

Practical information

Dates & location
17 - 21 July 2023, Groningen, the Netherlands
Fees (TBC)

Including participation, lunches, coffee/tea and social programme

€ 300 for University of Groningen & ENLIGHT students
€ 400 for students from partner universities
€ 500 for students from other universities

Academic coordinator
Prof. dr. Brigit Toebes

Partner universities

European partner universities

  • Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
  • University of Hamburg
  • University of Copenhagen

Non-European partner universities

  • Stellenbosch University
  • Nanyang Technological University
  • Osaka University
  • Universitas Gadjah Mada
  • Universidad de Antioquia
  • Universidad de Chile
  • Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
  • Universidade de São Paulo
  • Macquarie University

The summer school is open to Bachelor or Master students studying medicine, law, and health sciences with a keen interest in health and human rights, early career researchers in these areas, law and policy practitioners and civil society representatives working in the field of (global) health governance who aim to learn more on how to use law as a normative framework and regulatory tool. If you do not fall into one of these categories feel free to inquire if your background and interest will be well suited for participation in the summer school.

It is expected that the participants have a sufficient command of the English language to actively participate in the discussions and to present their own work in English.

Learning outcomes

After completing the summer school, participants will have an enhanced understanding of how law and human rights are relevant for effective regulation of health concerns. They will also gain insight on how a global and domestic response can best be defined and implemented and current challenges being faced.

Application procedure

To apply, please fill out the online application form. Please note that you will be asked to upload a CV and motivation letter.

Applications will open in December 2022.

Last modified:02 February 2023 1.14 p.m.