(PRESS RELEASE) Nairobi — The Center for Reproductive Rights joins civil society, UN member States and UN agencies in Nairobi today to mark the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) where 179 governments adopted a landmark Programme of Action which set out to empower women and girls for their sake, and for the benefit of their families, communities and nations.
In the 25 years since the ICPD, substantial progress has been made in defining sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in international human rights law and at this important moment, the Center adds its voice to those of women and girls demanding that States are held accountable for these commitments and to their human rights obligations.
The following is the statement of Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“Since its inception, the Center for Reproductive Rights has worked towards ensuring that the ICPD commitments made by States become a reality for women and girls around the globe, including the recognition that reproductive rights are human rights.
“ICPD was a critical moment in the establishment of sexual and reproductive rights, but we are now 25 years on and it’s crucial that we look forward and demand further advancement.
“In the face of rising backlash, the rights and dignity of women and girls are increasingly under threat with dire implications. We must therefore ensure that maternal health care is free from disrespect and abuse. We must ensure adolescents have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and the ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives. We must go to beyond ‘access to abortion where legal’ and ensure that access to safe abortion is available for those seeking to make informed decisions about their bodies. We must do this for all women and girls across the globe, including highly marginalized groups and those affected by crisis.
“The Center’s recently released World Abortion Law Map reveals that the last 25 years have witnessed a positive global trend towards the liberalization of abortion laws. 50 countries worldwide have enacted laws that are expanding the grounds under which abortion is legal. Nearly half of these countries that have liberalized their abortion laws, are in Africa. But more has to be done.”
“Today’s summit offers a moment to not only recommit to the promises of the ICPD, but to implement and build on those commitments and demand more for the women and girls whose rights were first articulated in this process 25 years ago.”
The Center for Reproductive Rights uses the power of law to advance reproductive rights as fundamental human rights around the world. Our ground-breaking cases before national courts, United Nations committees, and regional human rights bodies have expanded access to reproductive healthcare, including contraception, safe abortion, prenatal and obstetric care, and unbiased information. We influence the law outside the courtroom as well, documenting abuses and working with policy-makers to promote progressive measures, and fostering legal scholarship and teaching on reproductive health and human rights.