Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The fight for sexual and reproductive rights and women's rights continues...

Hilde Kroes, advocay officer of Rutgers WPF, a member organisation of Wo=Men is in New York at the 44th Session of the Commission on Population and Development.

Little over one month after the CSW, the world leaders gather again in New York to discuss the issue of "Fertility, Reproductive Health and Development", in light of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, that was signed in 1994. This annual meeting - the UN Commission on Population and Development - holds its 44th session this week.

We knew already about a year ago, that this session would be spectacular. Of all issues, the world seems to be most divided when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights, and gender equality. Discussions around development and how sexual and reproductive health and rights contribute to that, in terms of human rights, public health and eliminating poverty seems to be narrowed down to heated debates about abortion, sexuality education and reproductive health services. At least, by some states of which among in the Arabic region and the Vatican. They would rather have a world without sex (if it is not to make babies).

Obviously, such a world does not exist. And daily, thousands of women, of which many are young, face great challenges and risks in the sexual and reproductive health. In some areas in Sub Sahara Africa, complications around pregnancy and childbirth is the leading cause of death among women aged 15-19. Millions of young people lack access to comprehensive sexuality education and access to commodities and services. Yearly, over 350000 women die needlessly due to these complications, of which are many caused by unsafe abortions.

We know all that. And we are here - again - to remind governments about these facts, and the needs that need to be addressed. More updates, from the UN building, will follow. Stay tuned!

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