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Abeyesekera, Sunila. 1997. "Abortion in Sri Lanka in the context of women's human rights". Reproductive Health Matters. No. 9. pp.87-93.

This paper analyses the failed attempt to amend Sri Lanka's abortion law in 1995 from the perspective of women's human rights. The attempt was made following the 1991 Women's Charter, which was based on the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW Convention) and gave women the right to control their reproductive functions. In the Parliamentary debate on amending the law, women were variously assumed to be promiscuous and conniving, or vulnerable and needing protection. Some Parliament members resorted to arguments based on cultural, religious or traditional differences on the origin and sanctity of life to justify opposing abortion and supporting other discriminatory practices against women. Others supported gender equality and the need to address abortion as a public health and social issue, but few saw the link to human rights. The uniting of conservative religious and political opinions against women's right over their sexuality and reproduction in this debate is seen as serious. The paper asserts that the law must admit women are social and biological reproducers of society and respect their bodily integrity and sexual autonomy and that a human rights framework, with its stress on equality and universality, is suitable in working for women's right to abortion.

Source: Abeyesekera, INFORM, 5 Jayaratne Avenue, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka. E-mail: <>.

Centre for Reproductive Law and Policy (CRLP). 2002. Abortion in Nepal: Women imprisoned. New York: CRLP; Kathmandu: Forum for Women, Law and Development (FWLD). 117p.

This report documents human rights violations arising from Nepal's criminalisation of abortion and finds the government guilty of breaching international law. The report analyses violations inherent in the abortion ban itself and those that arise from the law enforcement. Based on a fact-finding mission by the CRLP and FWLD in Nepal in March 2001, it exposes the government's denial of Nepali women's right to safe and legal abortion and violation of the rights of those prosecuted under the abortion law. Despite constitutional guaranties of equality and freedom, Nepali women face severe gender discrimination. The abortion law is a source of profound injustice for them. By denying women the right to safe, legal and accessible abortion services, the law violates their rights to life and health, equality and reproductive self-determination. Worse affected are the low-income and rural women, who are more likely to have been forced to have unsafe abortions and to face legal prosecution and punishment. Justice requires the legalisation of abortion and the release of women wrongfully imprisoned for having one. The report makes many useful suggestions to the government, NGOs, health care providers, media, donor agencies and international organisations.

Source: CRLP, 120 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, USA. Tel: (917) 637 3600; FWLD, P.O. Box 2923, Kathmandu, Nepal; Tel: (9771) 266415; Fax: (9771) 240627; E-mail: <>.

Correa, Sonia. 1996. "From reproductive health to sexual rights: achievements and future challenges". Global Reproductive Health Forum. < reprorights/docs/correa.html>.

This paper maps the recent changes in the discourse on sexuality and reproduction and identifies new conceptual perspectives on gender and sexuality. It examines the recently legitimised concepts of reproductive rights, sexual health and sexual rights in the ICPD Programme of Action, the Beijing Platform for Action and the Social Summit in Copenhagen. The paper considers the status and meaning of these terms vis-a-vis an agenda for social transformation on the basis that the sexual and reproductive health and rights agenda aims to transform the sphere of sexual and reproductive needs; the domains of gender power relations; and the subjective views of women's bodies and reproduction. Lastly, the paper analyses the possibility of distinguishing between gender and sexuality. The "two-sex model" of western thinking helped establish the nuclear family in the modern era, in which sexuality took on a mostly procreative role, and was seen as necessary to unite two complementary opposites. The author argues that deconstructing this model would help to make gender equality as a premise for political, juridical, social and economic justice.

Source: Harvard School of Public Health, Department of Population and International Health, 665 Huntington Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Gupta, Geeta Rao. 2000. Gender, Sexuality, and HIV/AIDS: The What, the Why, and the How. Plenary Address, 12th International AIDS Conference, Durban, South Africa, July 12, 2000. 13p.

Issues related to the heterosexual transmission of HIV, and gender and sexuality, which are significant factors in HIV transmission, treatment, care and support, are explored in this paper. Research had identified the different ways in which the power imbalance in gender relations curtails women's sexual autonomy and expands male sexual freedom, increasing their vulnerability to HIV infection. The power imbalance also affects women's access to and use of services and treatment. To address this imbalance, several programmes to transform gender relations have been carried out, such as efforts to work with couples, rather than individual women and men, or programmes that seek to empower women by improving their access to information, skills, services and technology. Policies are also important to decrease the gender gap in education, improve women's access to economic resources, increase their political participation, and protect them from violence. The success of new and promising HIV/ AIDS biomedical technologies such as vaccines depend on equal access for all women and men, girls and boys as well as identification and solution of the potential gender-specific constraints to their use.

Source: Geeta Rao Gupta, International Centre for Research on Women (ICRW), 1717 Massachusetts Avenue, NW; Suite 302, Washington, DC 20036, USA. Tel: (202) 7970007; Fax: (202) 7970020.

Oloka-Onyango, J.; Udagama, Deepika. 2001. "Globalization and its impact on the full enjoyment of human rights". Progress Report. 53rd Session of the Sub-Commission on the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights. New York: Commission on Human Rights, UN Economic and Social Council. 40p.

The first chapter reviews the role and function of UN bodies and mechanisms and how they addressed globalisation. In the next chapter on international economic law and the regime of international human rights, detailed investigation and examples are given on globalisation and intellectual property rights; dispute resolution at the World Trade Organisation (WTO); and multilateral institutions and poverty. The third chapter is on the applicability of international human rights law to multilateral institutions while the fourth is on civil society and globalisation. The report focuses on how globalisation has affected the full enjoyment of human rights. As much needs to be achieved in the struggle to apply human rights principles, the authors call for heightened vigilance by the states, civil society and all those concerned with the promotion and protection of human rights. They call special attention to the issue of essential drugs and ask WTO member States to agree unequivocally on ensuring that no provisions in any agreement stop members from providing access to medicines at affordable prices and promoting public health and nutrition. Another issue raised was the designing of effective means to conceptualise, recognise and protect traditional knowledge.

Source: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, 8-14 Avenue de la Paix, 1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland; Tel: (4122) 9179000.

Stanchieri, J.; Merali, I.; Cook, R.J. 2000. The Application of Human Rights to Reproductive and Sexual Health: A Compilation of the Work of International Human Rights Treaty Bodies. Toronto: Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD). CD-ROM.

Presented in the form of a CD, this is a manual to help in the preparation of reports on reproductive and sexual health rights compliance and violations by governments and NGOs; and in the development of advocacy manuals, training programmes and research. There are five sections: 1) the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women; 2) the Convention on the Rights of the Child; 3) the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; 4) the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and 5) the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination. Each section has the text of the convention or covenant, the general recommendations or comments and the concluding observations of the treaty monitoring body. For each of the five treaties, there is a committee that monitors the implementation of the rights stated in the treaty. The reporting process comprises the submission of reports by States Parties and alternative reports by NGOs; general observations; considerations of individual articles, which also entails specific requests for information by the committee to States Parties and NGOs; and concluding observations. Excerpts from the concluding observations of treaty bodies on reproductive and sexual health are given.

Source: ACPD, Suite 300,260 Dalhousie St., Ottawa, Ontario K1N 7E4, Canada; Tel: (613) 5620880; Fax: (613) 5629502; Website:<>.

UNFPA. 2001. Application of Human Rights to Reproductive and Sexual Health: Recommendations. New York: UNFPA. 9p.

In 1996, the UNFPA collaborated with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Division for the Advancement of Women to hold a meeting on "Human rights approaches to women's health, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights". A follow-up meeting was held in June 2001. The meeting recommendations are the focus of this booklet. They aim for better national implementation of treaty obligations so as to promote the enjoyment of sexual and reproductive health. The meeting examined three main issues of importance to sexual and reproductive health: unsafe abortion, adolescents' access to sexual and reproductive health information, and HIV/AIDS. The participants saw these as core human rights issues and linked to discrimination in the broadest sense, as well as to many of the rights in the six principal human rights treaties. The 49 recommendations in this booklet are grouped into three areas: advocacy; information gathering and reporting process; and national-level implementation. The first is addressed to all stakeholders while the second and third are for human rights treaty bodies, UN entities and NGOs.

Source: UNFPA, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017; Website: <>.

UNIFEM. 1999. Report of the Round Table Workshop: CEDAW and Islam and the Human Rights of Women. Amman: UNIFEM Western Asia Regional Office. 18p.

This is a report of a workshop that brought together experts from across West Asia to discuss the compatibility of international human rights law and Islamic law (shari'a) in women-related issues. The workshop aimed to promote constructive dialogue among religious leaders and human rights activists on the CEDAW Convention and shari'a in order to advance women's human rights nationally and regionally. The report has three sections: 1) introduction of the workshop's objectives and the importance of a comparative study of women's rights in Islamic law and in the CEDAW Convention; 2) discussions on the articles of the CEDAW Convention and the Islamic basis for the reservations by 11 out of the 22 Arab governments that ratified the CEDAW Convention; and 3) conclusions. The participants found no contradiction between Islamic legislation and the CEDAW Convention. Indeed, they found them compatible. However, they believed that awareness programmes are necessary to inform women of their rights so that they can link their rights under Islamic law with those under international instruments.

Source: UNIFEM WA Regional Office, P.O. Box 830896, 11183 Amman; Tel: (9626) 567 8586; Fax: (9626) 567 8594; E-mail: <>.


Office for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on CEDAW website at < menu3/b/e1cedaw.htm>.

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) GR14, Article 3 at <>

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights website at < a_ccpr.htm>

IWRAW Asia Pacific website at <>.

Treaty Bodies database at <>.

WomenWatch website at < daw/cedaw/>.

UNIFEM website at <>.

Women's Human Rights Net at <>.


ARROW. 2000. Women's Health Needs and Rights in Southeast Asia. A Beijing Monitoring Report. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. 39p.

* Price: US$10.00 plus US$3.00 postal charges.

Rashidah Abdullah. 2000. A Framework of Indicators for Action on Women's Health Needs and Rights after Beijing. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. 30p.

* Price: US$10.00 plus US$3.00 postal charges.

ARROW. 2000. In Dialogue for Women's Health Rights: Report of the Southeast Asian Regional GONGO Policy Dialogue on Monitoring and Implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action, 1-4 June 1998, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. 65p.

* Price: US$10.00 plus US$3.00 postal charges.

ARROW. 1999. Taking Up the Cairo Challenge: Country Studies in Asia-Pacific. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. 288p.

* Price: US$15.00 plus US$5.00 postal charges.

ARROW. 1997. Gender and Women's Health: Information Package 2. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. v.p.

* Price: US$10.00 plus US$3.00 postal charges.

ARROW. 1996. Women-centred and Gender-sensitive Experiences: Changing Our Perspectives, Policies and Programmes on Women's Health in Asia and the Pacific. Health Resource Kit. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. v.p.

* Differential pricing. For more information, please contact ARROW.

ARROW. 1994. Towards Women-Centred Reproductive Health: Information Package No. 1. Kuala Lumpur: ARROW. v.p.

* Price: US$10.00 plus US$3.00 postal charges.

Note: Payments accepted in bank draft form.
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Date:May 1, 2002
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