WGNRR and ICW joint statement on CSW59

Posted on March 29, 2015


Submitted at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women (March 9-20, 2015)

We the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights and the International Community of Women Living with HIV, welcome the opportunity to represent at the 59th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women over a thousand organizations and individuals worldwide who are committed to advancing sexual and reproductive rights.

Although the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action marked a significant turning point in global efforts for gender equality, and considerable gains have been made in securing rights for women all over the world, the human right of all women and girls to “have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality” [1] has yet to be fully ensured.

Women and girls living with HIV are particularly vulnerable to human rights violations while seeking sexual and reproductive health services—including the denial of rights to autonomy, bodily integrity, informed consent, and confidentiality. For the over 17 million women currently living with HIV and the many women, young women, and girls who will face a new HIV diagnosis this year, the epidemic is far from over. The call to action issued by the original Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action in 1995 remains as urgent and as relevant then as it is today.

As a global community, we must address the intersecting needs of women living with HIV, and prioritize the sexual and reproductive health and rights for all women, including women living with HIV. This includes but is not limited to ending the criminalization of HIV transmission, as well as forced and coerced treatment and sterilization, and eradicating violence against women in all its forms, in order for us to make strides toward economic, reproductive, and social justice.

Member States, we urge you as world leaders to continue to meaningfully integrate sexual and reproductive rights into the Beijing framework and the Post-2015 development agenda, with explicit recognition of the sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls, including those who are living with HIV, as well as committed efforts to integrate and ensure comprehensive HIV and sexual and reproductive health services for all. We must not forget the lessons learned from the twenty years of implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action. Critically, we must ensure the meaningful involvement of women living with HIV and other directly impacted women and girls within the decisions, policies, and programmes that will affect their present and future lives.

[1] See Beijing PfA para 96.