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Ipas Calls for Youth Development Support at UN Commission on Population and Development

Oral Statement delivered by: Cecilia Espinoza, Youth Program Associate from Ipas at the United Nations Commission on Population and Development 2012

Oral Statement by Ipas
at the 45th Session of the Commission of Population and Development on the theme:
Adolescents and youth
April 2012

My name is Cecilia Espinoza, I am from Nicaragua and I am speaking on behalf of Ipas, an international NGO working with local, national and global partners to ensure that women can obtain safe, respectful and comprehensive abortion care, including counseling and contraception to prevent future unintended pregnancies. Young women especially are often seriously harmed by the lack of such care. I would like to tell you about one of them today.

In 2009, L.C., a 13-year-old girl living in Peru was raped. When she discovered she was pregnant, L.C. jumped from the roof of her house in an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide. Due to her injuries, she needed surgery, but doctors would not perform it because she was pregnant, nor would they allow her access to a therapeutic abortion, although that would have been legal.

It was only after L.C. had a miscarriage that doctors were willing to give her the surgery she needed. L.C. was operated on nearly three and a half months after her injuries. Due to her condition, she is still unable to attend school.

When the United Nations Committee that reviews CEDAW considered her case, the Committee concluded that the State must establish a mechanism for effective access to therapeutic abortion in a manner that protects the physical and mental health of women and prevents the future occurrence of similar violations.

In 1994, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo established important agreements for human development for young people, especially young women, and further progress is needed to achieve full recognition of the sexual and reproductive rights of young people.

Pregnancy and childbirth-related complications continue to be one of the leading causes of death for women ages 15 to 19 (Rowbottom 2007). The United Nations estimates that more than 14 million young women give birth each year, and over 90 percent of these young women live in developing countries. Prevention of young women’s unwanted pregnancies is essential to reduce pregnancy and childbirth complications and death. If contraception were accessible and used consistently and correctly by women wanting to avoid pregnancy, maternal deaths would decline by an estimated 25 to 35 percent (Lule, et al. 2007).

It is important to recognize the progress made over the last decades on comprehensive sex education, access to contraception, and legalization of abortion. But there is still much to do. For this reason, we demand of governments to respect, protect and uphold the sexual and reproductive rights of all young people.

In this regard, governments should promote education for adolescents and young people both in and outside of the school system, and access to science-based information and counseling services to prevent unwanted pregnancies. At the same time, it is essential to support parents so they have the information and communication tools necessary to guide their children during adolescence and youth, while respecting their ability to make decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive health.

It is equally important that adolescents and young people have access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health care, including safe and legal abortion. The CEDAW Committee recommends that education and training programs for health professionals address attitudes and behaviors, which affect service provision to adolescents. Despite this, adolescents and young people continue facing judgmental provider attitudes. Other barriers to care - including those related to consent by parents or partners - should also be removed in order to expand access to services such as HIV testing, contraceptives and condoms, and abortion. We request of governments to implement youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services that are accessible to all adolescents and young people. Services should be provided in a manner that respects adolescents’ and young people’s evolving capacities and privacy.

We further ask governments to develop and implement strategies to prevent sexual abuse and exploitation, as well as trade and trafficking in children and adolescents. Young people need to develop and live their lives free from psychological and physical consequences.

Finally, but perhaps most importantly, it is critical to hear and include young people’s voices in the development of these different strategies. Active and meaningful youth participation helps to ensure that programmes and projects designed for this population will successfully meet their needs.

References
CEDAW Comitte Communication No. 22/2009.  CEDAW/C/50/D/22/2009. 25 November 2011
Lule, Elizabeth, Susheela Singh and Sadia Afroze Chowdhury. 2007. Fertility Regulation Behavior and Their Costs: Contraception and Unintended Pregnancies in Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. HNP Discussion Paper. Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.
Rowbottom, Sara. 2007. Giving girls today and tomorrow: Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy. New York: UNFPA

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Declaración Oral presentada por Ipas
en la 45ava Sesión de la Comisión de Población y Desarrollo en el tema:
Adolescentes y juventud
Abril 2012


Mi nombre es Cecilia Espinoza, soy nicaragüense, y vengo en representación de Ipas, una organización internacional, la que junto a otras organizaciones aliadas a nivel local, nacional y global, trabaja para asegurar que las mujeres, incluyendo las más jóvenes, puedan obtener servicios seguros y respetuosos de atención integral del aborto, que incluyan consejería y anticoncepción para prevenir embarazos no deseados. Especialmente, las mujeres jóvenes quienes se ven seriamente afectadas por la falta de acceso a servicios. Hoy quisiera contarles la historia de una de ellas.  

En 2009, L.C., una adolescente de 13 años de edad en Perú fue violada. Cuando ella descubrió que estaba embarazada, L.C. se lanzó desde el techo de su casa, pero falló en el intento de suicidio. Debido a sus heridas, ella necesitaba una cirugía, sin embargo los médicos se negaron a realizarla debido a su embarazo, o a practicarle un aborto terapéutico, a pesar de ser legal.

Fue hasta que L.C. tuvo un aborto espontáneo que los médicos estuvieron dispuestos a realizarle la cirugía que ella necesitaba. L.C. fue operada casi tres meses y medio después del intento de suicidio. Debido a su condición esta niña no puede ir a la escuela.

El Comité de Naciones Unidas que da seguimiento a CEDAW reviso su caso, el Comité concluyo que el Estado debía establecer un mecanismo para el acceso efectivo al aborto terapéutico, en condiciones que protejan la salud física y mental de las mujeres e impidan que en el futuro se produzcan violaciones similares a las que sufrió L.C.

En 1994, el Programa de Acción de la Conferencia Internacional de Población y Desarrollo en Cairo estableció importantes acuerdos para el desarrollo humano de las personas jóvenes, especialmente para las mujeres jóvenes.  

A nivel global, las complicaciones relacionadas al embarazo y al parto continúan siendo una de las principales causas de muerte entre mujeres de 15 y 19 años (Rowbottom, 2007). Estimaciones de las Naciones Unidas señalan que más de 14 millones de mujeres jóvenes tienen hijos cada año, más del 90% de estas mujeres viven en países en desarrollo. La prevención de embarazos no deseados en mujeres jóvenes es esencial para reducir embarazos y complicaciones durante el parto y muerte. Si la anticoncepción fuera accesible y usada consistentemente y correctamente por mujeres que quieren prevenir un embarazo, las muertes maternas se reducirían entre un 25 y 30 por ciento (Lule, et al., 2007).    

Es importante reconocer los avances ocurridos en las últimas décadas, en materia de educación sexual integral, acceso a métodos anticonceptivos y legalización del aborto, pero todavía hay mucho por hacer. Es por esto que alentamos a los gobiernos a respetar, proteger y apoyar el ejercicio de los derechos sexuales y reproductivos de todas las personas jóvenes.

En ese sentido, los gobiernos deben promover la educación de adolescentes y jóvenes, fuera y dentro del sistema escolar, así como el acceso a información basada en conocimientos científicos y servicios de consejería que permitan prevenir el número de embarazos no deseados. A su vez, es fundamental apoyar a los padres para que puedan tener la información y las herramientas de comunicación necesarias para guiar a sus hijos durante la adolescencia y juventud, siempre respetando su capacidad de tomar decisiones con respecto a su salud sexual y reproductiva.

Es igualmente importante que adolescentes y jóvenes tengan acceso a servicios integrales de salud sexual y reproductiva, incluyendo el aborto seguro y legal. El Comité CEDAW recomendó que los programas de enseñanza y formación para profesionales de la salud abordar sus actitudes y comportamientos en relación con las adolescentes que desean recibir servicios de salud reproductiva. A pesar de esto,  adolescentes y jóvenes siguen enfrentándose a actitudes prejuiciosas de parte de los proveedores. Otras barreras relacionadas a la autorización de padres o parejas deben ser eliminadas para expandir el acceso de adolescentes y jóvenes a servicios como pruebas de VIH, entrega de métodos anticonceptivos y condones y aborto. Por esto exigimos a los gobiernos que implemente servicios integrales de salud reproductiva que sean accesible a todos los adolescentes y jóvenes. Estos servicios deben respetar las capacidades evolutivas y la privacidad de los adolescentes de acuerdo a su edad.

Además se alienta a los gobiernos a desarrollar estrategias de prevención del abuso sexual, el comercio sexual infantil y la trata de personas adolescentes y jóvenes, para que estas puedan desarrollar sus capacidades y vivir sus vidas libres de consecuencias sicológicas y físicas.

Para el desarrollo de estas diferentes estrategias es sumamente importante la participación activa y efectiva de las personas jóvenes para que sus voces sean incluidas y los programas y proyectos tengan éxito alcanzando las necesidades adolescentes y jóvenes.  

Referencias
Comité CEDAW respecto de la Comunicación Nº 22/2009. CEDAW/C/50/D/22/2009. 25 de noviembre de 2011.
Lule, Elizabeth, Susheela Singh and Sadia Afroze Chowdhury. 2007. Fertility Regulation Behavior and Their Costs: Contraception and Unintended Pregnancies in Africa and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. HNP Discussion Paper. Washington, DC: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development/The World Bank.
Rowbottom, Sara. 2007. Giving girls today and tomorrow: Breaking the cycle of adolescent pregnancy. New York: UNFPA

Entry Comments

    • Apr 30
    • .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

    The 13 year old girl in Peru who attempted to commit suicide after becoming pregnant due to rape is no different to young girls and women in rural Uganda. The recent news on local FM community radio station (Kagadi Kibaale Community Radio) reveals a woman who went to church for counseling, instead she was frequently raped by the pastor and she could not reveal until it was discovered by radio reporters, also disagreement between two men resulted into the murder of a 1year child,7year child, 13 year child and their mother. Thus women and young children have become victims/price of mens’ conflicts in communities of Kibaale district (Mid Western Uganda. Such news on women deliver website enables us to relate with what is happening globally and the local context. In Uganda legalizing abortion is still a struggle and many young girls have lost their lives in their attempts to abort in a rudimentary way. Legalizing abortion is a global need for purposes of saving young girls.

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