Accountability for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in Humanitarian Settings: Examining the Role and Relationship of Diverse Branches of International Law in Ensuring Access to SRH Information and Services
In recent years, there has been growing recognition of the need for SRH information and services for civilians in humanitarian settings. Such recognition has occurred in general comments and recommendations by UN treaty monitoring bodies, in ICRC Commentaries, in the resolutions of UN intergovernmental bodies, and in the decisions of international and regional courts. Despite this, legal accountability for obligations concerning sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings remains limited, with a focus mainly on sexual violence and specific protection to mothers and pregnant women. While this recognition is critically important, it is not sufficient for addressing the full spectrum of SRHR, including the range of SRH information and services needed by all persons.
This paper, produced by the Center for Reproductive Rights, is novel in that it examines international legal obligations and gaps under international human rights law, international humanitarian law and international criminal law, as well as standards under intergovernmental bodies on accountability for access to SRH information and services in humanitarian settings. It also examines the relationship between these various branches of international law in this context. By recognizing the concurrent application and the complementary and mutually reinforcing nature of these branches of law, this paper shows how used together, they can strengthen legal accountability for access to SRH information and services for all persons in humanitarian settings.
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