Women's lives, women's rights
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The hundreds of thousands of women who die each year from preventable causes in childbirth and pregnancy leave behind personal tragedies. But their experiences also illustrate the cycle of human rights abuse that defines and perpetuates poverty. Read here about the issues, the women and girls, and the rights we all have, that – if properly enforced – could save thousands of lives. Then act – demand dignity.
According to recent estimates, more than 358,000 women die each year from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth – one every 90 seconds. Most of these deaths could have been prevented if women had access to affordable and timely quality medical services, and if they had been empowered to make decisions about their sexual and reproductive rights.
There are specific rights we have that should protect girls and women in pregnancy and childbirth.
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including...medical care...motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance.”
Article 25, Universal Declaration of Human Rights
"The state parties to the present covenant recognise the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health."
Article 12, International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
The Millennium Development Goals came onto the world stage over 10 years ago, promising some of the world’s most impoverished and excluded communities a new dawn in a new millennium. Since then, some progress has been made, but it is now painfully clear that this has been uneven, and that without increased efforts, the targets set for 2015 will not be met. Goal 5 on improving maternal health is the goal least likely to meet its targets.
When Amnesty International has members, partners, supporters or staff in a country or travels there on mission, it gathers evidence to understand the human rights situation on the ground. Watch, read, listen; and then act.
Travel the world to find out about human rights and poverty. Learn about and take action on maternal mortality, human rights abuses in slums, the need for access to justice for those whose rights have been denied. Meet people and communities, listen to their stories, tell your own.