Thursday, December 19, 2013

European Parliament Report on Human Rights Calls for Stand-Alone Goal on Gender Equality, Respect for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, and an End to Violence Against Women

[Brussels, 12 December 2013] On 11 December 2013, the European Parliament adopted its yearly report on the Annual Report on Human Rights in the World 2012 and the European Union’s policy on the matter. The EWL is pleased to see many recommendations in the report addressing women’s rights.

In particular, MEPs call for for a stand-alone goal for women’s rights and gender equality to be included in the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, with a strong emphasis on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. Very interestingly: on the day before, MEPs voted an alternative resolution to the Estrela report on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), recalling the subsidiarity principle when it comes to health policies, and therefore denying any debate on the issue as the resolution canceled the vote on the report.

Moreover, the report on Human Rights "calls for efforts to be stepped up to ensure the fullest possible achievement, prior to the expiry of the deadlines, of the Millennium Development Goals as regards gender equality, maternal health and access to adequate health systems, education and sexual and reproductive health rights, especially for the most vulnerable groups such as girls and young women, on the basis of a solid commitment on the part of governments to enhance accountability and monitoring mechanisms for existing human rights obligations, promote access to justice for all and ensure effective participation for all, including the most marginalised and disadvantaged, in development, decision making and implementation."

So, if the Estrela report has not been adopted this week, nevertheless the European Parliament sends a strong message about SRHR as human rights.

Finally, the report calls for an immediate end to all acts of violence, sexual assault and other forms of degrading treatment against female protesters and women‘s rights activists and for serious and impartial investigations into all such cases and full accountability for those responsible.

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