• In a recent report Human Rights Watch analyzed India's maternal health policies in Uttar Pradesh state, which has one of the highest maternal death rates in India. One of our most important findings was that the government was not tracking the problem closely enough - and understanding the scope and underlying causes of the problem is the first step toward solving it.

    After analyzing the data, we recommended that the government track all pregnancy outcomes, investigate the causes of deaths and monitor access to emergency obstetric care. We also urged the creation of a complaints system for women and their families to register grievances and access reparation for harm caused.

    A new study in the medical journal The Lancet says the number of women dying from pregnancy and childbirth is dropping worldwide. That's good news! But there is still much more to be done. The study estimates that only 23 countries are on track to meet international goals for reducing maternal death rates. It also notes that HIV/AIDS has slowed progress in reducing maternal deaths, especially in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Like Human Rights Watch, the authors of the Lancet article call for reforming healthcare systems and "delivery of interventions to women when and where they need them." Over the last six years, countries like Sri Lanka and Malaysia have managed to halve their maternal mortality numbers. By putting in place the right measures, we believe that other countries - including India -- should be able to do the same.

  • Apr 22, 2015
    Ecuador’s National Assembly should decriminalize abortion in line with recommendations made by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president of the assembly’s Justice Commission. In February 2015, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women urged Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal impairment.
  • Apr 14, 2015
    The extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has carried out systematic rape and other sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the town of Dohuk in January and February 2015, including interviewing 20 women and girls who escaped from ISIS, and reviewing ISIS statements about the subject.

Reports

Reproductive and Maternal Health

  • Apr 26, 2015
    I recently met “Noor,” a 16-year-old Yezidi girl who had escaped from ISIS six months earlier. The extremist group abducted her from her hometown in Iraq in August and locked her in a house with young women and girls who were being forcibly married off or sold to ISIS fighters.
  • Apr 22, 2015
    We write today to thank you for meeting with a Human Rights Watch delegation last month to discuss our concerns regarding some key provisions of the Organic Integral Criminal Code (Código Orgánico Integral Penal). We would like to follow up on that discussion to share our concerns regarding the criminalization of abortion, and respectfully urge you to spearhead a reform process to ensure that Ecuador complies with its international human rights obligations.
  • Apr 22, 2015
    Ecuador’s National Assembly should decriminalize abortion in line with recommendations made by the United Nations, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to the president of the assembly’s Justice Commission. In February 2015, the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women urged Ecuador to decriminalize abortion in cases of rape, incest, and severe fetal impairment.
  • Apr 14, 2015
    The extremist group Islamic State (also known as ISIS) has carried out systematic rape and other sexual violence against Yezidi women and girls in northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the town of Dohuk in January and February 2015, including interviewing 20 women and girls who escaped from ISIS, and reviewing ISIS statements about the subject.
  • Apr 14, 2015
    The nightmare of 12-year-old “Jalila” began when Islamic State fighters abducted her, along with her family, in northern Iraq. They separated her from her family and imprisoned her in a house in north-eastern Syria with other abducted Yezidi women and girls. Then the jihadist fighters came, one after another, to inspect them. One singled Jalila out, took her home, and proceeded to rape her for three days. Six other Islamic State fighters eventually took possession of Jalila during her captivity, she told me recently—three of them raped her.
  • Mar 31, 2015
  • Mar 18, 2015
    Spain’s ruling Popular Party should withdraw a bill that would force 16 and 17-year-old girls to obtain the consent of their parents to terminate a pregnancy, 22 national and international rights groups said today in letters to the head of the party’s group of legislators in Congress and to UN bodies. The bill is under examination in Congress.
  • Mar 18, 2015
    We, the undersigned organizations are writing to urge your mandates to address an appeal to the Spanish government regarding the draft legislation “To increase protection for minors and women with reduced legal capacity in the termination of pregnancies” (Proposición de Ley Orgánica para reforzar la protección de las menores y mujeres con capacidad modificada judicialmente en la interrupción del embarazo). The draft legislation represents a serious threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and would create unjustified barriers to accessing safe, legal abortions for 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • Mar 18, 2015
    We, the undersigned organizations are writing to urge your mandates to address an appeal to the Spanish government regarding the draft legislation “To increase protection for minors and women with reduced legal capacity in the termination of pregnancies” (Proposición de Ley Orgánica para reforzar la protección de las menores y mujeres con capacidad modificada judicialmente en la interrupción del embarazo). The draft legislation represents a serious threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and would create unjustified barriers to accessing safe, legal abortions for 16- and 17-year-olds.
  • Mar 18, 2015
    We, the undersigned organisations, are writing to express our deep concern over the draft legislation “To increase protection for minors and women with reduced legal capacity in the termination of pregnancies” (Proposición de Ley Orgánica para reforzar la protección de las menores y mujeres con capacidad modificada judicialmente en la interrupción del embarazo). The draft legislation represents a serious threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and would create unjustified barriers to accessing safe, legal abortions for 16- and 17-year-olds. We therefore respectfully request the withdrawal of the draft legislation proposed by the PP Parliamentary Group.