RFSU works to encourage the Swedish government to focus on issues related to SRHR in various UN connected matters. RFSU usually participates as part of the Swedish delegation at international meetings such as the Women’s Commission meeting in March and the Population Commission’s annual meeting in October. At these meetings, RFSU provides data and knowledge when Swedish representatives negotiate new proposals.
UN’s Declaration of Human Rights
The UN’s declaration of human rights was established in 1948. The declaration contains most of the basic humans rights including the statement that all humans are born free, are of equal worth and have equal rights. This general explanation is the basis for most conventions and documentation pertaining to human rights, which countries throughout the world have agreed upon for the last sixty years.
The CEDAW-convention from 1979 was added to the declaration to eliminate all types of discrimination against women. It was adopted after a conclusion was made that existing agreements on human rights were not sufficient to guarantee women’s rights.
International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD)
At the 1994 United Nations ICPD in Cairo, a declaration was adopted by 179 countries, which confirmed all people’s right to decide over their own bodies and their sexuality. The declaration from ICPD was ground breaking in its views concerning sexuality and human rights.
The UN’s Fourth Women’s Conference in Beijing
In 1995, 189 countries adopted the Beijing declaration. The declaration confirms the decisions made at ICPD and also states that women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights are a prerequisite for equality and women’s ability to take an active part in society.
The Millennium Development Goals
In 2000, UN member countries adopted the Millennium Declaration. The declaration is a common agenda for a global fight against poverty. In order to implement the declaration eight goals, with clear deadlines, were decided upon which include both partial goals and indicators. None of the Millennium Goals pertain specifically to the improvement of sexual and reproductive health and rights, but Goal Five focuses on improving reproductive health. There are two partial goals related to Millennium Goal Five. Partial goal number one pertains to the reduction of maternal mortality by three fourths and partial goal number two pertains to the provision of reproductive health for all women. Also, Millennium Goal Six pertains to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS. Millennium Goal Five is the goal that is furthest from reaching its objective at this time.
- Millennium Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
- Millennium Goal 2: A complete primary education for all children
- Millennium Goal 3: Uphold equality and increase women’s power
- Millennium Goal 4: Reduce child mortality
- Millennium Goal 5: Improve maternal healthcare
- Millennium Goal 6: Stop the spread of HIV/AIDS and other diseases
- Millennium Goal 7: Ensure sustainable development
- Millennium Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development
None of the Millennium Development Goals will be reached unless access to sexual and reproductive health and rights is ensured for all people.
Resolution 1325, 1820 and 1888-women’s freedom and security
Conflict and catastrophe situations constitute an enormous strain on women’s lives and health. Sexual violence leads to unwanted pregnancies and it is often even more difficult for women in these situations to get access to safe abortions, and reproductive and antenatal healthcare. A third of all maternal mortality cases take place in catastrophe and conflict filled regions. In conflict and catastrophe ridden regions people, especially women, are also subject to higher chances of being infected by HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
In 2000 the UN Security Council assumed resolution 1325 concerning women, peace and security. The resolution aims to increase women’s participation in the efforts to prevent, manage and solve conflicts throughout the world.
In 2008 resolution 1820, concerning sexual violence against civilians during conflicts, was adopted. Through the adoption of this resolution the UN acknowledged that systematic violence constitutes a threat against national security. Also, in 2009 resolution 1888 was adopted which, among other measures, prescribes the appointment of a special representative with the responsibility of counteracting sexual violence in conflict regions.
The New UN body
In September 2009, during the general assembly, the UN adopted a resolution for the improvement of all work related to equality and women’s rights within the UN system. Four current UN bodies will be consolidated into one. An under-secretary-general will be appointed to lead the new body.