The Prague Charter

Zveřejněno: 13. prosince 2012 | ČSPM dokumenty Legislativa
Urging governments to relieve suffering and ensure the right to palliative care


Please click here to sign the petition

Prague Charter “Palliative Care: a human right“ 

Working together to advocate access to palliative care as a human right:

  • European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC)
  • International Association for Palliative Care (IAHPC)
  • Worldwide Palliative Care Alliance (WPCA) and
  • Human Rights Watch (HRW)



Access to palliative care is a human right under the right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. In certain cases where patients face severe pain, failure to provide palliative care can also constitute cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Palliative care can effectively relieve or even prevent this suffering and can be provided at comparably low cost.

Yet, the governments of many countries throughout the world have not taken steps to ensure patients can realize this right. In many countries palliative care is not available at all or access to it is very limited. This causes millions of severely ill or dying people to suffer from pain and other preventable or treatable symptoms. This is true not only for patients with cancer but also for those with advanced heart, lung or kidney diseases, and progressive neurological diseases or from treatment resistant infectious diseases such as HIV /AIDS or tuberculosis. Palliative care also offers improved quality of life even for people in late stage dementia.

The Petition

1. Governments should develop health policies that address the needs of patients with life-limiting or terminal illnesses

  • Governments should develop comprehensive health care policies that provide for integrated palliative care, along with other forms of health services,
  • Governments should ensure that the laws include support to the relatives of patients during the time of care and after the time of death.


2. Governments should ensure access to essential medicines, including controlled medications, to all who need them

  • Governments should identify and eliminate unduly restrictive barriers which impede access to controlled medications for legitimate medical use,
  • Governments should ensure that they develop an appropriate system for estimating their need for such medications so as to ensure that availability is guaranteed without interruption,
  • Governments should ensure that they establish safe and secure distribution and dispensation systems so that patients can access the opioid medications regardless of their prognosis, place of treatment or geographic location.


3. Governments should ensure that healthcare workers receive adequate training on palliative care and pain management at undergraduate and subsequent levels.

  • Governments should adopt the necessary changes in the training curricula for healthcare providers (medical, nursing, pharmacy, psychology, etc) at undergraduate levels to ensure that all healthcare workers obtain basic knowledge about palliative care and are able to provide it to patients regardless of where in the healthcare system they work,
  • Governments should support the development and implementation of postgraduate and specialty palliative care programs so that patients with complex cases can receive appropriate care,
  •  Governments should ensure that adequate continuing education courses in palliative care are available to current healthcare workers.


4. Governments should ensure the integration palliative care into healthcare systems at all levels.

  • Governments should design and develop plans to create and implement palliative care units, groups and programs according to morbidity and mortality indicators, and population dispersion data.


Please sign the Prague Charter “Palliative Care: a human right“ Your signature will help support the initiative to recognize palliative care as a human right and improve access to palliative care worldwide.

Download the full text of the declaration here.