Today in Dublin human rights activists from all over the world will meet to discuss the difficulties of working to advance the human rights of women and girls in the face of restrictive abortion laws, and the ongoing challenges that many countries experience even following liberalisation of the same laws.
Frances Raday, Special Rapporteur to the UN Human Rights Council’s Expert Group on Discrimination Against Women, will address the conference this morning. She is due to comment on her recent position paper to the UN Human Rights Council which sets out the definitive view of the various UN human rights bodies on the issue of termination of pregnancy, including a clear statement that human rights commence at birth.
Raday has said that “Under restrictive legislation, women and girls suffer when they become pregnant by actually losing many of their fundamental rights, including sometimes even the right to life”.
The conference, which will hear from activists from Colombia, India, the US, and Hungary, amongst others, has been organised by the International Network of Civil Liberties Organisations (INCLO). The Irish Council for Civil Liberties (ICCL), which is a member of INCLO, today released its position paper on the subject of reproductive rights entitled “Women’s Equality and Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution”.
Liam Herrick of the ICCL said that “Not only in Ireland but around the world women and girls are suffering because of restrictive abortion laws. The ICCL has always said that abortion is a private matter, between a woman and a medical professional, and should not be part of the constitution. We’re hearing that echoed loudly in today’s conference”.
Notes for editors:
Frances Raday is a member of the UN working group on the elimination of discrimination against women in law and in practice. The working group’s report “Women’s Autonomy, Equality and Reproductive Health in International Human Rights” can be found at the following link under “position papers”: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Women/WGWomen/Pages/WGWomenIndex.aspx]
ICCL position paper: “Women’s Equality and Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution” can be found here: http://www.iccl.ie/articles/women%E2%80%99s-equality-and-article-4033-of-the-irish-constitution.html