UN HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL: Governments declare maternal mortality a human rights violation
16 March 2009 |Geneva - In a joint statement delivered to the UN Human Rights Council, 83 Governments reaffirmed their commitment to addressing maternal mortality as a human rights issue. They called upon the Council to address the unacceptable number of women dying from pregnancy or childbirth each year. The joint statement represents one of the largest joint intergovernmental statements delivered to the Council, and the first to address maternal mortality and human rights. Governments highlighted a number of issues to address, including the lack of access to healthcare and the inability to decide freely on one's pregnancy as discrimination against women and a violation of their human rights. Governments called on the Council to start by contributing to existing efforts by: 1)talking about the human rights implications of maternal mortality and morbidity in international fora; Including women in decision-making around maternal health; indentifying the human rights dimensions of preventable maternal mortality (With notes from the Women Deliver website).
The Statement also recognized the leading role of The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health and several of its partners to the reduction of maternal mortality and the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal 5, including the World Health Organization, UNFPA, the World Bank, UNICEF and civil society.
The next session of the Council will take place in June 2009, where it is hoped a resolution on maternal mortality will be adopted.