Human Rights Day: Calling for a greater sense of accountability for SRHR

10 December, 2019


On Human Rights Day 2019, SRHM is calling for a greater sense of accountability for sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) for all, backed by a growing research and evidence base on gender equality and human rights. Together we can further advance a progressive SRHR agenda, providing the greatest hope and a powerful bulwark against the forces of patriarchal retrenchment and retrogression.

As we recognize the 25th anniversary of ICPD this year, we acknowledge and celebrate the dramatic changes the past 25 years have witnessed related to SRHR. Major advances have been made in a number of directions with significant impacts on national law and policymaking, programme development and service delivery, at the same time recognising that in many areas in-depth implemen-tation, meaningful participation and community engagement, significant scale-up of investments and effective accountability are still insufficient.

The foundations for inclusive fulfilment of human rights related to sexual and reproductive health that were laid by ICPD and Beijing, international and regional human rights treaties, national consitutions and laws remain strong. At the same time, the universality of SRHR is yet to be fulfilled in terms of people covered and issues addressed. New challenges that have emerged in recent years, ranging from resistance to, and ideological attacks against, gender equality, sexuality, reproductive freedom and self-determination, to lack of political will and funding reductions, require the rise and continuing strength of social movements and the power of collective mobilization for SRHR by all actors. Social movements need to be backed by the ongoing support of committed governments, progressive funders and the public health community. What is needed now is sustained funding and progressive implementation of political and programmatic commitments, including the SDGs, in relation to SRHR.

At SRHM, our mission is to inspire, create, disseminate and advance rights- and evidence-based knowledge, build capacity, and engage in collaborative action for advocacy, policy and service delivery globally, regionally and locally on SRHR. We believe that sexual and reproductive rights are human rights and strive towards a world in which SRHR are recognized as fundamental human rights and matters of social justice; in which sexual and reproductive health needs are addressed, and rights of people are fully respected, protected and fulfilled without discrimination of any kind.

Please see a list of highlighted SRHM papers from our recent issues in honour of Human Rights Day 2019:

Moving the ICPD agenda forward: challenging the backlash
Gita Sen, Eszter Kismödi, Anneka Knutsson

The battle for sexual and reproductive health and rights for all
Natalia Kanem

A sexual and reproductive health and rights journey: from Cairo to the present
Rebecca Brown, Eszter Kismödi, Rajat Khosla, Sapana Pradhan Malla, Lucy Asuagbor, Ximena AndiónIbanez, Sofia Gruskin

“Righting the wrongs”: addressing human rights and gender equality through research since Cairo
Rajat Khosla, Avni Amin, Pascale Allotey, Carmen Barroso, Asha George, Anita Hardon, Ian Askew

Tensions and exclusions: the knotty policy encounter between sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV
Susana Fried, Aziza Ahmed, Luisa Cabal

Adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights: a stock-taking and call-to-action on the 25th anniversary of the International Conference on Population and Development
Venkatraman Chandra-Mouli, Marina Plesons, Arup Barua, Anshu Mohan, Meheret Melles-Brewer, Danielle Engel

Actions, not words: progress since ICPD on disability and SRHR
Tom Shakespeare, Shaffa Hameed, Lizzie Kiama

Sexual reproductive health and rights in humanitarian crises at ICPD25+ and beyond: consolidating gains to ensure access to services for all
Shirin Heidari, Monica A Onyango, Sarah Chynoweth

Violence against women: where are we 25 years after ICPD and where do we need to go?
Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Avni Amin

“The Times They Are A-Changin”: using technology to enable ASRHR 25 years post-ICPD
Priya Nanda, Sahil Tandon


Politics, power, and sexual and reproductive health and rights: impacts and opportunities
Sarah Pugh

New waves of anti-sexual and reproductive health and rights strategies in the European Union: the anti-gender discourse in Hungary
Bianka Vida

Meaning well while doing harm: compulsory genital examinations in Swedish African girls
Sara Johnsdotter


Ending the abuse: the human rights implications of obstetric violence and the promise of rights-based policy to realise respectful maternity care
Caitlin R. Williams & Benjamin Mason Meier

The gender injustice of abortion laws
Joanna N. Erdman

Sexual health, sexual rights and sexual pleasure: meaningfully engaging the perfect triangle
Sofia Gruskin, Vithika Yadav, Antón Castellanos-Usigli, Gvantsa Khizanishvili & Eszter Kismödi


Celebrating the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, celebrating sexual and reproductive rights
Eszter Kismödi & Laura Ferguson

Criminal law and the risk of harm: a commentary on the impact of criminal laws on sexual and reproductive health, sexual conduct and key populations
Veronica Birga, Luisa Cabal, Lucinda O’Hanlon, Christina Zampas

The state of human rights in relation to key populations, HIV and sexual and reproductive health
Oagile Bethuel Key Dingake