The 1st Annual Awards for Action on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights were awarded to the Vancouver Area Network of Drug Users and to Dr. Wan Yanhai, a Chinese physician and activist. The international attention and media coverage of the awards was heightened by the fact that the Chinese government had detained Dr. Wan for disclosing information about unsanitary blood collection practices in Henan province. An international outcry led to Dr. Wan's release on 20 September 2002.
Recent research in the field of mental retardation has pointed to a better-defined population with exacting prevalence of the basic pathology and related disabilities. Advances in the areas of prevention and treatment have further reduced the prevalence and incidence of mental retardation. Current legislation and legislative procedures have led to a more equitable and fairer application of human rights to all citizens. However, discrepancies and ambiguities still remain with respect to interpretation of the spirit of the law as related to the retarded. Financial restraints and serious economic hardship have impacted on social and political attitudes and created two-tier systems of the rich and poor with the retarded referred to as "surplus population." This situation has, in turn, influenced the availability of resources, manpower, training, and research in this field. The future could be brighter if sociologic and philosophic changes parallel technologic advances. It is our duty and commitment to continue and further the developments in all spheres relevant to the retarded in order to maximize human potential whenever possible.
Urbanization among Indigenous peoples is growing globally. This has implications for the assertion of Indigenous rights in urban areas, as rights are largely tied to land bases that generally lie outside of urban areas. Through their impacts on the broader social determinants of health, the links between Indigenous rights and urbanization may be related to health. Focusing on a Canadian example, this study explores relationships between Indigenous rights and urbanization, and the ways in which they are implicated in the health of urban Indigenous peoples living in Toronto, Canada. In-depth interviews focused on conceptions of and access to Aboriginal rights in the city, and perceived links with health, were conduced with 36 Aboriginal people who had moved to Toronto from a rural/reserve area. Participants conceived of Aboriginal rights largely as the rights to specific services/benefits and to respect for Aboriginal cultures/identities. There was a widespread perception among participants that these rights are not respected in Canada, and that this is heightened when living in an urban area. Disrespect for Aboriginal rights was perceived to negatively impact health by way of social determinants of health (e.g., psychosocial health impacts of discrimination experienced in Toronto). The paper discusses the results in the context of policy implications and future areas of research.