By: Joanna Hoffman, Special Projects Manager
Last week on September 28th, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution reaffirming the importance of addressing maternal mortality and morbidity, and calling for direct action to save mothers’ lives. Specifically, the resolution calls for the development of practical guidance, through an expert workshop, to assist States, the United Nations system and all stakeholders in applying human-rights based frameworks to programs and policies aimed at preventing maternal death and disability.
This expert workshop will be open to government bodies, regional organizations, relevant UN agencies and civil society organizations, and will incorporate recommendations from the report developed by the Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health. Women Deliver’s President Jill Sheffield is a member of the Commission.
Two previous resolutions in 2009 and 2010, as well as two reports from the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), laid the foundation for this year’s resolution. Among the findings of the OHCHR report were indications of inadequate and inconsistent applications of human rights principals to programs and policies designed to improve the health of girls and women. In response, this year’s resolution calls for the application of seven key principals of human rights-based approaches: accountability, participation, transparency, empowerment, sustainability, non-discrimination and international co-operation; all to be applied in a systematic, practical and measurable way.
On September 14th at a high-level side event during the Human Rights Council, stakeholders called for this guidance and urged the global incorporation of human rights principals into current and future efforts. At the time of adoption, 88 countries had signed on.
Notes on the Human Rights Council general debate are available here.
Flickr photo by: United Nations Development Programme