Sexual and reproductive rights in Latin America and the Caribbean: governments of the region reach historic agreement
Amnesty International welcomes the historic agreement reached by States from the region on various issues, including gender equality, sexual rights and reproductive rights, during the First Regional Conference on Population and Development, which ended on 15 August in Montevideo, Uruguay, following four days of debate involving some 250 people from civil society organizations, including Amnesty International.
The resolution document reaffirms the main international commitments and agreements concerning human rights and in particular the Cairo Programme of Action, as well as pointing out the important advances made in the region.
The key advances made in the region, where abortion under any circumstances is criminalized in five countries, include explicit recognition that the experience of some countries shows that criminalizing abortion causes an increase in maternal mortality and morbidity and does not reduce the number of abortions, all of which holds States back from fulfilling the Millennium Development Goals.
In this regard, a strong message was sent out to States, urging them to consider amending their laws, regulations, strategies and public policies relating to the voluntary termination of pregnancy in order to safeguard the lives and health of women and adolescents, thereby improving their quality of life and reducing the number of abortions. They were also urged to ensure that, in those cases where abortion is legal or decriminalized under national legislation, safe, good-quality abortion services are available for women with unwanted and unaccepted pregnancies.
It is also significant that the region has achieved general consensus regarding recognition of respect for sexual orientation and gender identity. Also noteworthy is the fact that sexual rights were recognized as being rights that are independent of reproduction and that they were clearly stated as encompassing the right to a full and safe sex life, as well as the right for people to take free, informed, voluntary and responsible decisions on their sexuality, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, without coercion, discrimination or violence.
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