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Landmark resolution

Progress made on rights of women and girls

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Media Release

Family Planning New Zealand is thrilled with a landmark resolution which recognises the need for comprehensive sexuality education, and accessible sexual healthcare and services, including safe abortion.

The resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council was led by a number of countries including New Zealand and is supported across the board by international family planning organisations.

Family Planning Chief Executive Jackie Edmond welcomes the resolution.

“The adoption of the resolution is a sign of the significant progress on the rights of women and girls and on sexual and reproductive health and rights at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council,” Ms Edmond says.

“Everyone deserves the right to live a safe and healthy life with access to sexual health services and information and control over their own lives and bodies”.

The resolution focuses on sexual and reproductive rights violations faced by women and girls in humanitarian settings. There is a huge impact on women and girls when they do not have access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including safe abortion.  

Recognising that sexual and reproductive health and rights are integral to the right of everyone is a key part of the resolution.

The resolution explicitly recognises that the risk of maternal death and injury is higher for adolescents and that sexual and reproductive health should be integrated into programmes and policies for adolescents. It states that comprehensive sexual and reproductive health-care services must be easily available, accessible, and of a high quality.

The resolution also notes the stigma attached to seeking sexual and reproductive health-care services, the resolution makes significant strides towards ending this stigma and removing barriers preventing women and girls from accessing care, information and services.

Family Planning New Zealand works tirelessly to try to end the stigma around sexual and reproductive health and care, through our clinics, our resources, and our sexuality education programmes. We remain committed to this and are glad to see this backing by the Human Rights Council.

The resolution also recognises that unsafe abortion is a violation of rights and that forced pregnancy is a human rights violation. It strongly urges States to prevent and address acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and facilities.

The resolution is fulsome but it’s important to note that as Family Planning has publicly said for at least a decade – the States signed expressed deep concern at the lack of access to comprehensive sexuality education for children and young people. The resolution calls upon States to support gender equality and women’s rights and the rights of the child, by ensuring universal access to evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education.

This is the first time that States have agreed on the need to ensure access to comprehensive sexuality education in humanitarian settings, which represents a significant advance in terms of ensuring women and girls are fully equipped to make choices about their own lives.

Family Planning welcomes this and we hope to see even more progress on this in the coming months.

Family Planning has clinics located throughout New Zealand. Use the clinic finder to find your nearest clinic.

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