During the 36th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council*, EHF denounced the persistent human rights violations arising from the denial of sexual and reproductive rights for women and transgender people in Europe and worldwide.
As a lucky woman whose sexual and reproductive rights have always been protected in law and practice, I wish this Global Day for Action for Access to Abortion were not necessary.
Ahead of the Global Day for Action for Access to Abortion ( 28th September), EHF advocacy officer Julie Pernet recalled that many European member states are still not complying with their obligation to save women’s lives, to protect their sexual and reproductive health and to secure their fundamental rights to privacy, bodily autonomy and non- discrimination. She then went on with mentioning few examples of the most common obstacles people who seek an abortion still have to face nowadays: going through unreasonable delays; being obliged to travel abroad, facing humiliation and harassment by practicionners or anti-choice groups, not even to mention undergoing unsafe termination procedures.
In Europe, several countries still highly restrict access to abortion (Malta, Ireland and Poland) and in several others, legal access to terminations has been seriously undermined by anti-choice strategies (Hungary, Italy, Greece). We urged the Human Rights Council to address this issue with no further delay.
*The Human Rights Council is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system made up of 47 States responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe.
Read our full speech below.
19 September 2017
European Humanist Federation
In 9 days we will celebrate the Global Day for Action for Access to Abortion. Despite repeated international commitments to protect sexual and reproductive rights, many countries worldwide, including in this Council, continue to ignore these rights.
As a European organisation, we are particularly concerned to see that several countries in Europe still do not comply with their international obligations.
As a lucky woman whose sexual and reproductive rights have always been protected in law and practice, I wish this Global Day for Action were not necessary. I wish that every woman and transgender person who seeks to terminate a pregnancy, for whatever reason, would have access to a safe abortion. This, without being delayed on purpose by hospitals practicing collective conscientious objection like in Italy or Greece; without having to be lent money by a friend and being obliged to travel to another country like from Ireland or Malta; without being harassed by religious fundamentalists in front of abortion clinics; without being humiliated and judged by practitioners or by their own governments.
In 2017, I wish that all boys and girls were able to receive appropriate education about consent, contraception and reproduction at school, so that they can make informed decisions about their future.
Mr President, people who try to make responsible choices for their lives are not criminals. They are human beings and should be treated as such. We therefore urge this Council to urgently address the human rights violations arising from the denial of sexual and reproductive rights in Europe and worldwide.
Thank you Mr. President.