• 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.

  • Oct 7, 2013
    Indian authorities should properly investigate all crimes, including allegations of sexual assault and gang rape during last month’s communal violence in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Aug 23, 2013
    Ecuador’s restrictive abortion laws put the health and even the lives of rape victims in danger, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. In late August 2013 the National Assembly is expected to debate major changes to the criminal code. It is unclear whether a proposal from a 2012 assembly discussion of lifting penalties for abortion in all rape cases will move forward in the 2013 debates.

Reports

Reproductive Choices and Sexual Autonomy

  • Apr 11, 2014
  • Oct 7, 2013
    Indian authorities should properly investigate all crimes, including allegations of sexual assault and gang rape during last month’s communal violence in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
  • Sep 19, 2013
    Human Rights Watch welcomes the adoption of the outcome of the UPR of Uzbekistan, which reflects many important recommendations from a wide array of governments on long-standing and urgent human rights concerns, including: the continued imprisonment of human rights defenders and political prisoners; the ongoing crackdown on local civil society, and the inability of international non-governmental organizations and media outlets to operate in the country; the widespread problem of torture in the criminal justice system; the lack of freedom of expression, association, and assembly.
  • Sep 14, 2013
    Calls for “virginity tests” for high school girls emerge regularly in Indonesia, with education officials, politicians and religious leaders proposing tests every few years. Recent news that education officials in Prabumulih district in South Sumatra and Pamekasan in East Java are considering such tests caused an uproar.
  • Sep 4, 2013
    We are writing today to share with you a briefing paper, “Afghanistan: Ending Child Marriage and Domestic Violence,”, prepared by Human Rights Watch, which sets out the statistical evidence on the harmful health and broader economic consequences of child marriage and domestic violence, and includes a set of recommended actions for your attention.
  • Aug 23, 2013
    Ecuador’s restrictive abortion laws put the health and even the lives of rape victims in danger, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. In late August 2013 the National Assembly is expected to debate major changes to the criminal code. It is unclear whether a proposal from a 2012 assembly discussion of lifting penalties for abortion in all rape cases will move forward in the 2013 debates.
  • Aug 20, 2013
    I grew up in a small rural village in eastern Kenya. Like most children in my village, I loved swimming in the river and seized every opportunity to go there. But there was one girl in the village, Catherine*, who never swam. She kept herself to herself. I thought perhaps she did not enjoy our company because she was a little older and had been married.
  • Jul 31, 2013
  • Jul 12, 2013
    The Irish Parliament on July 12, 2013, passed a law, the first of its kind in the country, regulating access to abortion in circumstances in which it is necessary to save the life of the woman.
  • Jul 8, 2013
    Lately, almost every week somebody asks me when I'll have children. Sexist? A little. Annoying? A lot.