The Center for Reproductive Rights has finalized a new resource titled Substantive Equality and Reproductive Rights: A Briefing Paper on Aligning Development Goals with Human Rights Obligations. International human rights norms have recognized that reproductive rights are women’s rights, clarifying that violations of reproductive rights are primarily manifestations of discrimination, poverty, and violence. Where women’s rights to equality and non-discrimination are not fulfilled, women’s access to reproductive health services and decision-making about their reproductive lives is limited. In addition, where women are unable to access reproductive health services, the inequalities and discrimination women face are exacerbated by the differentiated impact that childbearing has on women’s health and lives, including education and employment.
Over the next two years, states have an opportunity to address the root causes of gender inequality by ensuring that gender equality and reproductive rights are reflected in development programs. This briefing paper provides concrete recommendations to states about how they can integrate international human rights norms surrounding reproductive rights and gender equality specifically into the development framework that comes out of the Post-2015 Agenda.
The briefing paper is intended to provide guidance on how to incorporate the principles of substantive equality into the Post-2015 Agenda. Specifically, when considering reproductive rights and gender equality in these programs, states should take the following steps:
- Ensure that human rights guide and are present in all goals, targets, and indicators.
- Ensure that the core principles of human rights—including the need for states to respect, protect, and fulfill rights, ensure equality for all, and promote accountability for rights violations—are mainstreamed throughout the new framework.
- Use the principle of substantive equality to address underlying causes of gender inequality and other bases for discrimination such as race, disability, migration status, age and others that manifest as reproductive rights violations.
- Use the framework provided by international human rights law concerning the right to health (Accessibility, Availability, Acceptability, Quality (AAAQs)) to guide implementation of all goals, targets, and indicators on health.
- Ensure that women are able to meaningfully access effective administrative or judicial remedies for violations of reproductive rights, including access to information and comprehensive services, and that states promptly implement these decisions.
Read the entire brief here.