Photo: Juan Chien-Han, flickr

Guest chronicle

Countries must recognize the importance of sexual and reproductive rights

Everyone has the right to make decisions regarding his own body, and the right to live free from stigma, discrimination, violation or coercion. This includes decisions regarding sexuality and reproduction.           

A new, broader and more comprehensive definition of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) has just been developed by the Lancet-Guttmacher Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). The report was published on 9 May and summarizes the key aspects of why women, children, young people and young adults are central to the development within SRHR. Because it is so in the world that not all people today have the opportunity to exercise the right to decide over their own bodies - and this has consequences for health, social and economic development and finally for sustainability issues.

The core of gender equality work is to create equal conditions for women and men so that they have equal opportunities to shape society and their own lives. This also applies to areas such as power and self-determination over education, finances and not least physical integrity.  Sexual and reproductive health and rights are a determining factor for both mental health and public health for all people, not just women, children, adolescents and young adults. Countries must therefore recognize the importance of sexual and reproductive rights and act for a change that includes that both social norms and laws and regulations guarantee a society where, for example, women have power and control over their own bodies. The fact that not all countries recognize sexual and reproductive rights for women, young people and young adults is unacceptable. And with a view to meeting the global sustainability goals, SRHR issues are absolutely central.

This is a guest column. The writer is responsible for analysis and opinions in the text.

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