Saturday, July 23, 2016

Obligation to protect 11/16

42. The obligation to protect requires States to take measures to prevent third parties from directly or indirectly interfering with the enjoyment of the right to sexual and reproductive health. The duty to protect requires States to put in place and implement laws and policies prohibiting conduct by third parties that causes harm to physical and mental integrity or undermines the full enjoyment of the right to sexual and reproductive health, including the conduct of private health-care facilities, insurance and pharmaceutical companies, and manufacturers of health-related goods and equipment. This includes the prohibition of violence and discriminatory practices, such as the exclusion of particular individuals or groups from the provision of sexual and reproductive health services.

43. States must prohibit and prevent private actors from imposing practical or procedural barriers to health services, such as physical obstruction of facilities, dissemination of misinformation, informal fees and third-party authorization requirements. Where health-care providers are allowed to invoke conscientious objection, States must appropriately regulate this practice to ensure that it does not inhibit anyone’s access to sexual and reproductive health care, including by requiring referrals to an accessible provider capable of and willing to provide the services being sought, and that it does not inhibit the performance of services in urgent or emergency situations.34

44. States are obliged to ensure that adolescents have full access to appropriate information on sexual and reproductive health, including family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy and the prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV/AIDS, regardless of their marital status and whether their parents or guardians consent, with respect for their privacy and confidentiality.35

34 See E/C.12/POL/CO/5, para. 28; A/66/254, paras. 24 and 65 (m); and Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women general recommendation No. 24, para. 11.
35 See Committee on the Rights of the Child general comment No. 4, paras. 28 and 33.

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