Sunday, July 3, 2016

The right to sexual and reproductive health 1/16



General comment No. 22 (2016) on the right to sexual and reproductive health (article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)


Introduction 

1.The right to sexual and reproductive health is an integral part of the right to health enshrined in article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.1 It is also reflected in other international human rights instruments.2 The adoption of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 further highlighted reproductive and sexual health issues within the human rights framework. 3 Since then, international and regional human rights standards and jurisprudence related to the right to sexual and reproductive health have considerably evolved. Most recently, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes goals and targets to be achieved in the area of sexual and reproductive health. 4

2. Due to numerous legal, procedural, practical and social barriers, access to the full range of sexual and reproductive health facilities, services, goods and information is seriously restricted. In fact, the full enjoyment of the right to sexual and reproductive health  remains a distant goal for millions of people, especially for women and girls, throughout the world. Certain individuals and population groups that experience multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination that exacerbate exclusion in both law and practice, such as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons 5 and persons with disabilities, the full enjoyment of the right to sexual and reproductive health is further restricted.

3. The present general comment is aimed at assisting State parties in their implementation of the Covenant and fulfilling their reporting obligations thereunder. It concerns primarily the obligation of States parties to ensure every individual’s enjoyment of the right to sexual and reproductive health, as required under article 12, but is also related to other provisions of the Covenant.

4. In its general comment No. 14 (2000) on the right to the highest attainable standard of health (article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights), the Committee has already addressed in part the issue of sexual and reproductive health. Considering the continuing grave violations of this right, however, the Committee is of the view that the issue deserves a separate general comment.




1See Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights general comment No. 14 (2000) on the right to the highest attainable standard of health, paras. 2, 8, 11, 16, 21, 23, 34 and 36.

2See Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, art. 12;
Convention on the Rights of the Child, arts. 17, 23-25 and 27; and Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, arts. 23 and 25. See also Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women general recommendation No. 24 (1999) on women and health, paras 11, 14, 18, 23, 26, 29, 31 (b); and Committee on the Rights of the Child general comment No. 15 (2013) on the right of the child to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.

3 Report of the International Conference on Population and Development, Cairo 5-13 September 1994 (United Nations publication, Sales No. E.95.XIII.18), chap. I, resolution 1, annex. The Programme of Action is based on 15 principles. Principle 1 states that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights”.

4 United Nations, Transforming our World: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by the General Assembly in September 2015. Goal 3 of the 2030 Agenda is “Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages”, and Goal 5 is “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.


https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/G16/089/32/PDF/G1608932.pdf

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