Rio+20 and the global erosion of women’s rights
July 7th 2012
Women’s rights are under the greatest attack for almost 20 years after a failure of world leaders to continue to support reproductive rights, according to Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland.
Her comments come amid fears that religious conservatives are eroding support for family planning around the world. Objections from the Vatican and other states removed specific support for reproductive rights, such as family planning, from an international agreement reached in Rio de Janeiro last month by the UN conference on sustainable development.
Robinson joined campaigners criticising the final agreement reached between 190 countries at the Rio+20 summit. The former president accused global leaders of “backsliding on fundamental texts” agreed at two summits subsequently lauded for protecting women and girls: Cairo in 1994 and Beijing in 1995.
Womens’ rights and youth campaigners were shocked that a coalition of the Holy See, Russia, Syria, Egypt and several of the more conservative states in South America were able to jettison international agreements made in the 1990s by speaking against the inclusion of reproductive rights in the final agreement. Instead, the only mention of reproductive rights in the 80-page missive was as a “health issue”.
Robinson said this “failure of leadership” could have a devastating effect on some of the world’s poorest and most powerless women.
Read the rest of this article: The Guardian
More on this issue: Women’s inequality