IAP Co-Chair Barroso to the Human Rights Council: – “Maternal mortality, Massive violation of Human Rights”
Geneva, 9 March 2017

“ We should be outraged”. IAP Co-Chair Dr. Carmen Barroso called “the death of women and adolescent girls from causes that can be avoided … the tip of the iceberg of systematic gender discrimination”, urging Member States at the Human Rights Council yesterday to ensure implementation of known solutions to end these preventable fatalities.

Praising the Council for its Technical guidance on reducing preventable maternal morbidity and mortality at its session on the topic, she challenged the Council to do its utmost and hold itself accountable in making  its recommendations go far beyond Geneva to country and local levels where they can make a difference in the lives of women and girls. She recommended strengthening national human rights institutions, independent judiciaries and other accountability mechanisms to eliminate underlying inequities and deprivations of rights; alongside enabling conditions for the participation of women’s and youth groups, human rights defenders and other civil society actors.

Highlighting that “creative ways to overcome resistance and inertia” must be sought on the human rights of women and adolescent girls, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights, she pointed Member States and stakeholders to one of the most critical accountability gaps worldwide—that is, for adolescents, the largest age group in history. Tackling ‘false facts’ based on ideology instead of science on these critical life and death issues, she concluded by emphasizing the need for evidence-based debate, leaving the audience to reflect on the consequences. Chiefly among them: “Why have adolescent pregnancy rates not really changed in 30 years, in a world that has changed so much?”.