Human Rights Upheld at the United Nations 44th Commission on Population and Development

The outcome document of the 44th annual session of the Commission on Population and Development which concluded last week reaffirms the landmark International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action and brings the international community one step closer to ensuring that all people have access to necessary reproductive health services.

Members of the United Nations Commission on Population and Development safeguarded the rights of women and young people to access education and lifesaving services.

“The negotiations were tough, but we stood strong and in the end we were able to reach a resolution that guarantees women access to essential reproductive health services and information, including access to effective modern contraceptives” said Dr. Gill Greer, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation.

The Commission defended the progress made in advancing women’s rights and access to lifesaving health services, and reaffirms the commitment of an overwhelming majority of governments to reaching a key Millennium Development Goal.

The MDG 5b target, universal access to reproductive health, is the most off track of all the MDGs. Strong measures to improve the availability of reproductive health services and supplies are crucial to getting it back on track.

Despite pressure from a vocal minority of hard line member states led by the Vatican and supported by North American anti-choice non-governmental organizations, the world has repeated once again that the rights of women and young people are central to reducing poverty, inequity and promoting the rights and dignity of all peoples.

“A small minority are intent on ignoring the facts on the ground and the need of working on measures to save the lives of women” said an African Delegate.

A large group of governments from around the world, united in their conviction that young people need access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, came together to defend attacks on the rights of young people around the world.

The commitments made by Member States in the outcome document make it clear that governments must continue to focus their efforts on the achievement of universal access to sexual and reproductive health.

In addition, it recognizes that health services, including family planning and safe and accessible abortion as allowed by the law, are essential in order to successfully address fertility, reproductive health and development, the theme of this year’s Commission.

In the lead up celebration of the twentieth anniversary of the ICPD Program of Action, civil society will continue to build effective partnerships with governments to ensure that the development goals laid out in the ICPD, including universal access to reproductive health, are a reality for all women and young people.

This press statement is endorsed by the following organizations:

Catholics for Choice
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality
Commonwealth Medical Trust
Family Care International
FEIM-Fundación para Estudio e Investigación de la Mujer
German Foundation for World Population (DSW)
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Marie Stopes International
New Zealand Family Planning
Population Action International
Rutgers WPF
Shirkat Gah
Youth Empowerment and Civil Education

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