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IWA slams governments’ refusal to include women’s reproductive rights in the Rio+20 final document

Statement of the International Women’s Alliance (IWA)
on the non-inclusion of the women’s reproductive health rights in the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development final document

For reference:  Liza Maza, IWA Chairperson

IWA slams governments’ refusal to include women’s reproductive rights in the Rio+20 final document

The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) slams the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development for its refusal to include the women’s reproductive health rights in the final document to be approved by participating governments, blatantly refusing to recognize the link of reproductive health rights of women to sustainable development.

The non-inclusion of women’s reproductive health rights in the final document is tantamount to the denial of states of their responsibility to provide proper reproductive health care to their citizens, especially to women, in line with the neoliberal policies of privatization of social services.

Reproductive health care is one of the central issues of women that need to be immediately addressed by governments. Maternal mortality rate remains high especially in poor countries of the world despite advancement in medicine because of the lack of access to basic maternal and reproductive health care in many countries. Almost all maternal deaths happen in developing countries; more than half of it in sub-Saharan Africa and more than a third in Asia.

IWA further slams the governments at the Rio+20 conference for their failure to uphold and defend women’s rights as human rights and for choosing to advance neoliberal policies on trade, finance and other capitalist interests instead of gender equality and women’s empowerment. This backward move is against international conventions upholding the rights and interests of women such as the Cairo Programme of Action, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), and the Beijing Platform of Action, which defined reproductive health as a human right. These conventions made the recognition, protection and promotion of women’s reproductive rights a priority of governments, as it is essential for the advancement and development of women.

IWA equally condemns the Rio+20 conference for advancing “greed economy” and using the slogan of sustainable development to allow capitalist countries to push forward their interests amid the rapidly worsening economic crisis. This “greed economy” means nothing but increased poverty and hunger for the people of the world and violations of their human rights.

The International Women’s Alliance calls for an end to the current system that destroys the lives of women and their communities and for a total system change. We call on the women and the peoples of the world to fight the economic crisis and the worsening exploitation and oppression of the people, and to resist militarism and war that primarily victimize women.

Women’s rights are human rights! People and the environment before profit! ###

*The International Women’s Alliance (IWA) is a global alliance of grassroots women for liberation.

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