Dr Dainius Puras
The United Nations Human Rights Council appointed Dr Dainius Pūras from Lithuania as Special Rapporteur on the right to health at its twenty-sixth session in June 2014. Dr Mr Pūras, a medical doctor with notable expertise on mental health and child health, took up his functions as Special Rapporteur on 1 August 2014.
Dr Pūras is a Professor and the Head of the Centre for Child psychiatry social paediatrics at Vilnius University, and teaches at the Faculty of Medicine, Institute of International Relations and Political Science and Faculty of Philosophy at Vilnius University, Lithuania. He is also Visiting Professor at the Ilia State University, Georgia. As a medical doctor, he serves as a consultant at the Child Development Center, at Vilnius University Hospital.
Dainius Pūras is a human rights advocate who has been actively involved during the last 30 years in the process of transforming public health policies and services, with special focus on the rights of children, persons with mental disabilities, and other vulnerable groups. He was the founder of Lithuanian Society of Families with Children who have Intellectual Disabilities; the first President of the Lithuanian Psychiatric Association; the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at Vilnius University; and the Chairman of the board of two non-governmental organisations in Lithuania, the Global Initiative on Psychiatry and the Human Rights Monitoring Institute.
As a researcher, Dr Pūras has led and actively participated in projects at the national and international level in areas such as mental health policies and services, policies and services for children and families at risk, rights and needs of children with developmental disabilities, and prevention of violence. Dr Pūras works closely with different stakeholders for the translation of scientific evidence into effective policies and practices through the application of modern human rights and public health approaches.
Between 2007 and 2011, Dr Pūras served as a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. He has been an independent expert and consultant to numerous governments, NGOs, and UN agencies and programmes in the field of the right to health. He is author of over 60 scientific publications covering issues such as public health, mental health, public health policy, disabilities, and prevention of violence.
The mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to health was originally established by the Commission on Human Rights in April 2002 by resolution 2002/31. Subsequent to the replacement of the Commission by the Human Rights Council in June 2006, the mandate was endorsed and extended by the Human Rights Council by its resolution 6/29 of 14 December 2007.
The Special Rapporteur implements the mandate through different means and activities. As assigned by the different resolutions related to the mandate:
- The Special Rapporteur presents annual reports to the Human Rights Council and to the General Assembly on the activities and studies undertaken in the view of the implementation of the mandate;
- He/she monitors the situation of the right to health throughout the world. He/she identifies general trends related to the right to health and undertakes country visits which provide the Special Rapporteur with a first-hand account on the situation concerning the right to health in a specific country;
- He/She communicates with states and other concerned parties with regard to alleged cases of violations of the right to health and other issues related to his/her mandate;
- He/She promotes the full realisation of the right to health through dialogue with relevant actors by participating in seminars, conferences, expert meetings.