We SRHR

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are the rights of all people to have full control over their body, sexuality, health and relationships and to make free, informed and responsible decisions about whether, when and with whom to marry and have children, without any form of coercion, stigma, discrimination or violence.

Sexual and reproductive health and rights is an encompassing concept that addresses four inherently intertwined areas: sexual health, reproductive health, reproductive rights and sexual rights. Here some definitions:

Reproductive Health

A state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, in all matters relating to the reproductive system and to its functions and processes. Reproductive health therefore implies that people are able to have a satisfying and safe sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this last condition are the rights of men and women to be informed and to have access to safe, effective, affordable and acceptable methods of family planning of their choice, as well as other methods of their choice for regulation of fertility which are not against the law, and the right of access to appropriate healthcare services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant.

– Para 7.2a of the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo

SEXUAL HEALTH


A state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being related to sexuality: not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction or infirmity. Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. For sexual health to be attained and maintained, the sexual rights of all persons must be respected, protected and fulfilled.

– World Health Organization, Draft Working Definition, October 2002

Comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services include:

  • Information, education and counselling
  • Contraceptive information and services, including emergency contraception and a range of modern contraceptive methods
  • Maternity care, including antenatal and postnatal care, and delivery care – particularly skilled attendance and emergency obstetric care
  • Safe abortion and post-abortion care 
  • Prevention, care and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, HIV/AIDS, reproductive tract infections and reproductive cancers
  • Prevention and appropriate treatment of infertility
  • Prevention and surveillance of violence against women, and care for survivors of violence
  • Actions to eliminate harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early and forced marriage

Reproductive rights

Reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes their right to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence, as expressed in human rights documents.

– Paragraph 7.3 of the Programme of Action adopted at the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo

Sexual rights

The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence.

– Paragraph 96 of the Beijing Platform for Action adopted at the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing

 

 

Sexual and reproductive rights are fundamental human rights. As such they are universal, indivisible and undeniable.

They emanate from human rights that are already recognized in existing international, regional and national legal frameworks, standards and agreements:

  • The right to life, liberty and security (Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
  • The right to be free from torture or cruel, inhumane or degrading treatment or punishment and the right to be free from slavery or servitude (Articles 4 and 5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
  • The right to equality and non-discrimination before the law (Articles 7, 8, 9 and 10 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Articles 12 and 14 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)
  • The right to privacy (Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 17 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
  • The right to marry with free and full consent, the right to found a family, the right to equality within marriage, during the marriage and at its dissolution (Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
  • The right to freedom of opinion and expression (Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights)
  • The right to health (Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights)
  • The right to education and the right to information on health and family planning (Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 10 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women)
  • The right to bodily integrity, as part of the right to freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (Articles 4 and  5 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; Article 7 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights)
  • The right to decide the number, timing and spacing of one’s children (Article 16 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; Article 16 of the Proclamation of Teheran, Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights)