UN reaffirms women’s sexual, reproductive rights

The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), on Saturday, approved a UN declaration to promote equality for women that reaffirms the sexual and reproductive rights of all women.

However, politically conservative countries, including the African group, did not succeed in blocking any reference to different forms of the family, or to problems that women faced because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

At the end of two weeks of intense deadlock on “women and adolescent rights” and on what constituted a family setting, the meeting endorsed sex education for adolescents and recognised the family as a contributor to the development of girls and women.

The final document approved by consensus at the end of the conference expressed deep concern that overall progress towards the UN goal of gender equality and empowerment of women remains ”slow and uneven.”

The commission said: ”The feminisation of poverty persists,” and reaffirmed that equality for women was essential for sustained economic development.

It called for equality, empowerment and human rights for women to be a major pillar in UN development goals expected to be adopted next year.

It also called for ”universally accessible and available quality comprehensive sexual and reproductive healthcare services, information and education.”

This, it said, should include ”safe and effective methods of modern contraception, emergency contraception, prevention programmes for adolescent pregnancy and safe abortion where such services are permitted by national laws.”

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