GENEVA / BANJUL / WASHINGTON D.C. (24 September 2015) – A group of international and regional human rights experts today urged* Governments to seize the opportunity of the upcoming adoption of the new United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development to renew their commitments and ensure full respect, protection and fulfillment of sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Following months of intense negotiations, more than 150 world leaders will attend this week the UN Sustainable Development Summit in New York (25-27 September) to adopt the new Agenda – the successor to the Millennium Development Goals –, which aims to end poverty by 2030 and universally promote shared economic prosperity, social development and environmental protection.
“Despite clear obligations for States to ensure women’s sexual and reproductive health, violations remain prevalent and widespread in all the regions across the world,” said the group of experts from the UN, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, in a joint statement made public today ahead of the high-level summit.
The experts noted that these violations “take many forms including denial of access to goods and services that only women require, subjecting women’s and adolescents’ access to services to third party authorization, poor quality reproductive health services, harmful practices, and performance of procedures without a woman’s informed consent.”
“The adoption of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development represents a unique opportunity to combat inequalities and discrimination, including the elimination of discriminatory laws, policies and practices, which often lie at the heart of violations against women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights,” the experts said.
The experts acknowledged the Agenda commitments to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health care services, including family planning, information and education. However, they deeply regretted the States’ decision “not to advance a more expansive and explicit recognition of sexual and reproductive health and rights, despite committing to implement the Agenda in a manner consistent with their human rights obligations.”
(*) See full statement issued by the UN experts: Mr. Dainius Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Michel Forst, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Ms. Dubravka Šimonovic, Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, its Causes and Consequences, Ms. Eleonora Zielinska, Chairperson of the Working Group on discrimination against women in law and in practice; the ACHPR experts: Ms. Reine Alapini-Gansou, Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders in Africa and Ms. Soyata Maiga, Special Rapporteur on Rights of Women; and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expert: Ms. Tracy Robinson, Rapporteur on the Rights of Women: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16490&LangID=E
The UN human rights experts are part of what it is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights, is the general name of the independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms of the Human Rights Council that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Learn more: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence. Learn more: www.iachr.org
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights was established by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights. The Commission consists of 11 members elected by the AU Assembly from experts nominated by the state parties to the Charter. The Commission created subsidiary mechanisms such as special rapporteurs, committees, and working groups to achieve its objectives of promoting and protecting human rights on the continent. Learn more: http://www.achpr.org/
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