1. The notion of duty and justice (…and not compassion!) give rights their cutting edge.
  2. Power is the key relation in health and Human Rights issues: A right confers power, i.e. the power to make key changes as far reaching as the system allows claim holders to do so. (…and it is our duty to help making the latter possible).
  3. People have full power only when they can alter existing (power) relations. (…and it is our duty to help making this possible too).
  4. X has to have power over Y to affect results; power thus is a normative advantage…to change the existing unfair health system and to turn it to people’s advantage. (…and it is our duty to help create that advantage as well).
  5. Only exercising full power can people freely select among the available and possible solutions; people’s empowerment is thus needed.
  6. Claims are rather useless if there is no power to have duty bearers enforce their public health duties.
  7. A party other than the duty bearers has to have power over the duties in order to make sure most public health duties are enforced.
  8. To enforce a duty, the claim holder is the best suited to exert power over the duty bearer.
  9. It is not good if the claim holders have no power or control over the enforcement of their health claims.
  10. Actually, people can only have a true health claim when they also have the power to claim for it; the power is a necessary ingredient in their claim; ergo, having a claim necessarily involves having (or getting) a power.
  11. Rights (claim) holders cannot only be passive beneficiaries of the duties of others.
  12. People’s health rights are recognized as long as the rights holders have power over the duties.


  • Sumner, L.W. The Moral Foundation of Rights.
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