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Human rights-based approach to unintentional injury prevention
  1. J Morag MacKay1,
  2. Mark Andrew Ryan2
  1. 1 Research Department, Safe Kids Worldwide, Washington, DC, USA
  2. 2 Global Network Department, Safe Kids Worldwide, Washington, DC, USA
  1. Correspondence to J Morag MacKay, Research Department, Safe Kids Worldwide, Washington, DC, USA; mmackay{at}


Unintentional injury remains an important global public health issue, and efforts to address it are often hampered by a lack of visibility, leadership, funding, infrastructure, capacity and evidence of effective solutions. The growing support for a socioecological model and a systems approach to prevention—along with the acknowledgement that injury prevention can be a byproduct of salutogenic design and activities—has increased opportunities to integrate unintentional injury prevention into other health promotion and disease prevention agendas. It has also helped to integrate it into the broader human development agenda through the Sustainable Development Goals. This growing support provides new opportunities to use a human rights-based approach to address the issue. The human rights-based approach is based on the idea that all members of society have social, economic and cultural rights and that governments are responsible and accountable for upholding those rights. It incorporates a systems approach, addresses inequity and places an emphasis on the most vulnerable corners of humanity. It also leverages legal statutes and provides organisations with the opportunity to build existing international goals and benchmarks into their monitoring efforts. This paper describes the approach and highlights how it can leverage attention and investment to address current challenges for unintentional injury.

  • policy
  • developmental
  • populations/contexts

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  • Contributors JMM conceived of the paper, drafted and revised the paper. She is guarantor. MAR drafted and revised the paper.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Not required.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.