Cross-regional statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

47th session of the Human Rights Council

Annual Discussion on women’s rights

Cross-regional statement on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Geneva, July 6th 2021

La version prononcée fait foi.

Madam President,

It is my pleasure to deliver this statement on behalf of a large cross-regional group of countries, including my own country, France.

This year, Heads of State, Ministers, youth and civil society gathered at two historic Generation Equality Forums convened by UN Women and co-organized by France and Mexico to announce ambitious and concrete commitments for achieving gender equality by 2030 and reaffirming that women’s and girls’ rights are universal. We reiterate our shared commitment towards this end at the Council.

More than twenty-five years after adoption of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, steady progress has been made. Yet, we remain deeply concerned about the persistent violations and abuses of the rights of women and girls worldwide, as gender inequality continues to plague all countries.

The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately affects women and girls, especially the most marginalized. We forcefully denounce the shadow-pandemic of sexual and gender-based violence, and the additional 13 million girls that could be forced into marriage. Disruptions in essential health services, including for sexual and reproductive health, are leading to more unplanned and adolescent pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality and morbidity.

We are also deeply concerned by the growing pushback on longstanding international instruments on gender equality, including on sexual and reproductive health and rights and bodily autonomy. We must stand firm in support of these instruments as women and girls need these safeguards now more than ever. The COVID-19 pandemic is an opportunity for governments worldwide to effectively put gender equality and the full respect for all rights of all women and girls at the core of our national and collective efforts to build back better. To do so, we must ensure the meaningful participation of women, girls’ and women’s rights organizations across decision-making processes.

We call upon all governments to implement their commitments made at the Generation Equality Forum and contained in the Global Acceleration Plan for Gender Equality, towards the realization of SDG5. We also call on all governments to stand firm in their efforts, including here in this Council, to achieve gender equality, SRHR and the full enjoyment of all human rights of all women and girls.

Thank you.

Last updated on: 6 July 2021