NOTAS DE LOS TRABAJOS EN LA COMISIóN

Autor: ---- Fuente: Haz Política

None of those latinamerican countries voted with the U.S. to delete operative para 14 of the Brazilian Resolution (E/CN.4/2004/L.41) on “The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.” (Co-sponsors included Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, Switzerland).

Para 14 which the U.S. asked to be deleted “Takes note” of the Special Rapporteur’s Report on this issue which calls for sexual and reproductive rights. The Report appears to be endorsing, supporting, or promoting an international right to abortion and the use of abortifacients. The Report purposefully delineates and emphasizes sexual health/rights (non-reproductive) so as to accommodate a very wide variety of non-reproductive sexually–active individuals that the Report indicates must have their rights met by the State. Using the logic of the Report it would not be inconceivable for it to be advocated that it is the duty of the state to pay for sex change operations for transgender individuals as well as fertility treatments for homosexual couples seeking to have children. I will paste in some selected paras from the Report for your information.

The present problem relates to the resolution on Elimination of Violence Against Women. sponsored by Canada (who is not on the Commission).

The difficult para reads as follows:

7) Emphasizes that violence against women has an impact on their physical and mental health, including their reproductive and sexual health and, in this regard, encourages States to ensure that women have access to comprehensive and accessible health services and programmes and to health-care providers who are knowledgeable and trained to recognize signs of violence against women and to meet the needs of patients who have been subjected to violence, in order to minimize the adverse physical and psychological consequences of violence;

The problem is the use of the term “services” in relation to reproductive health which includes abortion. The Holy See and the U.S. asked to replace “health services” with “health care and social services.” They are supported by Egypt and Malaysia. However, so far Canada and its co-sponsors have refused to change the language.

“heath care and social services” makes sense and is more appropriate in this context because women who are victims of violence have a greater need of social services than they do of reproductive health care or services. Without intense and adequate social services, they will have difficulty recovering from acts of violence and will continue to be victims of violence.

It is interesting to note that Canada hyphenates health-care and does not use services when talking about providers of health care. Services would be more logical here (we don’t want it there either). In a conversation with the U.S. delegate, Canada ultimately admitted that "services" includes abortion in the context of para 7.

We need to do everything possible to get "services" out of para 7 before the vote. The best solution is "health care and social services". The vote may come up as early as Monday (April 19th) afternoon, but it may not come until Tuesday.


Unofficial excerpts from discussion of the definition of “services during The Child summit’s prepcom, June 2001, in proposed para 21.

Proposed Para 21 draft text for the Child Summit was as follows:

We will promote full gender equality and equal access to services such as education, nutrition, healthcare, including sexual and reproductive health care, and mainstream the gender perspective in all development policies and programmes.”

Sudan: “Delete ‘including sexual and reproductive health care’ because ‘healthcare includes ‘reproductive health care’”

Chile (RIO): Directly objected to the exclusion of this phrase. (South Africa, Switzerland, New Zealand, Sweden (EU), Iceland and Canada all objected to the exclusion)

US: “Can somebody explain to me what services means”?

Canada: “I do not understand why the distinguished delegate asks the question, because he knows the answer, but of course it includes, and I hate to say the word, but it includes abortion.”

US: “Well, then bracket it”.

. . . . .

Chile (RIO) Never before have we heard that services included abortion. In our country this is illegal so we are ready to delete it. For us it does not mean abortion. But if there is danger that it would mean abortion, we agree to its deletion.



Please do not ”take note of ”,or in any way accept the
Report of Special Rapporteur, Paul Hunt
in
OP 14 of Resolution (E/CN.4/2004/L.41)
(The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health)

WHY?

Please see, below a few excerpts from the Hunt Report

Sexual Rights, Reproductive Rights and Abortion promoted as Human Rights


Summary

“In section I, the Special Rapporteur contributes to the tenth anniversary of the International Conference of Population and Development [Cairo 1994] by considering sexual and reproductive health through the prism of the right to health. . . .”

“The Special Rapporteur takes the view that the rights to sexual and reproductive health have an indispensable role to play in the struggle against intolerance, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS and poverty, and he recommends increased attention be devoted to a proper understanding of reproductive health, reproductive rights, sexual health and sexual rights.”

14”. . . . Some traditional views about sexuality are obstacles to the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, including reliable information, and these views have an especially damaging impact upon adolescents.”

Para 17

17”. . . . In short, the principles (of Chapter II of the Cairo ICPD) provide a human rights framework upon which to construct sexual and reproductive health laws, policies, programmes and projects.

36. “Adolescents and young people under 25 years of age are especially vulnerable in the context of sexual and reproductive health. Adolescence is a period characterized by sexual and reproductive maturation. Yet in many countries adolescents lack access to essential and relevant information and services in relation to sexual and reproductive health. Their need is acute. An estimated 16 per cent of all new HIV infections occur among those under age 15, while 42 per cent of new infections occur among those aged 15-24. Every year there are 100 million new, largely curable, reported cases of sexually transmitted infections among adolescents. (pg. 11)”
39 “Arising from their obligations to combat discrimination, States have a duty to ensure that health information and services are made available to vulnerable groups. For example, they must take steps to empower women to make decisions in relation to their sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, violence and discrimination. They must take action to redress gender based violence and ensure that there are sensitive and compassionate services available for the survivors of gender-based violence, including rape and incest. States should ensure that adolescents are able to receive information, including on family planning and contraceptives, the dangers of early pregnancy and the prevention of sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS, as well as appropriate services for sexual and reproductive healthSecond, while they [Cairo and Beijing] recognized sexual health as distinct from reproductive health, they did not explicitly and unequivocally recognize sexual rights as distinct from reproductive rights.”
54 “Fourth, sexuality is a characteristic of all human beings … the Special Rapporteur has no doubt that the correct understanding of fundamental human rights principles, as well as existing human rights norms, leads ineluctably to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights. Sexual rights include the right of all persons to express their sexual orientation, with due regard for the well-being and rights of others, without fear of persecution, denial of liberty or social interference.”
55.” …Since many expressions of sexuality are non-reproductive, it is misguided to subsume sexual rights, including the right to sexual health, under reproductive rights and reproductive health. Given the nature of his mandate, the Special Rapporteur has a particular concern with the rights to sexual and reproductive health, hence the title of this section of the report. These rights, however, have to be understood in a broader human rights context that includes sexual rights.”

Please do not ”take note of ”,or in any way accept the
Report of Special Rapporteur, Paul Hunt
IN
OP 14 of Resolution (E/CN.4/2004/L.41)
(The right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of physical and mental health)

WHY?

Please see, below, a few excerpts from the Hunt Report

IN REGARD TO SEXUAL ORIENTATION

Summary

“The Special Rapporteur takes the view that the rights to sexual and reproductive health have an indispensable role to play in the struggle against intolerance, gender inequality, HIV/AIDS and poverty, and he recommends increased attention be devoted to a proper understanding of reproductive health, reproductive rights, sexual health and sexual rights.”

38. “As has been noted, discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is impermissible under international human rights law. The legal prohibition of same-sex relations in many countries, in conjunction with a widespread lack of support or protection for sexual minorities against violence and discrimination, impedes the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health by many people with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identities or conduct. Additionally, the Special Rapporteur recalls that the Human Rights Committee, in Toonen v. Australia, observed: “Criminalization of homosexual activity … would appear to run counter to the implementation of effective education programmes in respect of HIV/AIDS prevention.” (pg. 12)
39. “Arising from their obligations to combat discrimination, States have a duty to ensure that health information and services are made available to vulnerable groups. . . Consistent with Toonen v. Australia and numerous other international and national decisions, they should ensure that sexual and other health services are available for men who have sex with men, lesbians, and transsexual and bisexual people. It is also important to ensure that voluntary counselling, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections are available for sex workers.”
OVER, PLEASE

32. “International human rights law proscribes discrimination in access to health care and the underlying determinants of health, and to the means for their procurement, on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth, physical or mental disability, health status (including HIV/AIDS), sexual orientation, and civil, political, social or other status that has the intention or effect of nullifying or impairing the equal enjoyment or exercise of the right to health (ibid., paras. 26 and 59-68)”.
33. “Nonetheless, discrimination and stigma continue to pose a serious threat to sexual and reproductive health for many groups, including women, sexual minorities, refugees, people with disabilities, rural communities, indigenous persons, people living with HIV/AIDS, sex workers, and people held in detention. Some individuals suffer discrimination on several grounds e.g. gender, race, poverty and health status (ibid., para. 62). (pg. 11))”

52. “Second, while they [Cairo and Beijing] recognized sexual health as distinct from reproductive health, they did not explicitly and unequivocally recognize sexual rights as distinct from reproductive rights.”
54“Fourth, sexuality is a characteristic of all human beings … the Special Rapporteur has no doubt that the correct understanding of fundamental human rights principles, as well as existing human rights norms, leads ineluctably to the recognition of sexual rights as human rights. Sexual rights include the right of all persons to express their sexual orientation, with due regard for the well-being and rights of others, without fear of persecution, denial of liberty or social interference.”

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