Statement on the Release of the U.S. State Department’s 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices
04.12.2022 (STATEMENT) On April 12, the Biden-Harris administration released the 2021 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices (Human Rights Reports), restoring reporting on the status of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in nearly 200 countries. This section had been eliminated by the previous administration as part of a concerted effort to delegitimize sexual and reproductive health and rights and erase them from global human rights discourse.
The Reports, which are released each spring, are a key resource for policymakers, advocates, immigration judges, refugee and asylum officers, journalists, academics, and human rights bodies. They inform policy and decision-making on a broad range of issues and are used to hold governments accountable for abuses.
In light of ongoing conflicts around the world, such as that now underway as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the restored reporting is critical to understanding how access to essential health care, including sexual and reproductive health care, is severely disrupted by conflict. Crisis and humanitarian emergencies increase gender-based violence and decrease access to sexual and reproductive health services. Refugees in need of abortion, emergency contraception, or psycho-social support may also find themselves struggling to access services in countries where legal and policy barriers impede access to time-sensitive care, as is currently the case for Ukrainian refugees in some Central and Eastern European contexts.
Statement from Nancy Northup, President and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights:
“The Biden-Harris Administration and Secretary of State Antony Blinken continue to demonstrate the United States’ commitment to upholding sexual and reproductive rights as human rights. We are pleased that reporting on sexual and reproductive rights has been restored in the annual Human Rights Reports, including access to contraception, quality maternity care, abortion access, and access to family planning information. Transparency and accountability are cornerstones to upholding the rule of law. Reporting on reproductive rights is fundamental to supporting the human rights of women, girls, and gender diverse individuals. We urge the administration to expand reporting in the future to cover systemic forms of reproductive coercion, including coerced pregnancy, obstetric violence, government measures to control fertility, the withholding of information on reproductive health options, and other forms of reproductive and sexual coercion. We urge Congress to pass the Reproductive Rights Are Human Rights Act in order to ensure that this reporting can continue, regardless of administration, and without politicization or interference in the future.”
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