The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on its annual report, released in 14 november 2012, has explicitly declared family planning is a fundamental human right, and, hence, it must be assured that all ought to have access to family planning information and services.
The report states that since the ICPD Conference in 1994, the right to family planning should have been made available. However, it has been estimated that 222 million women in developing countries have an “unmet need for contraception” and for such need to be met a $ 4.1 billion-investment has to be made. According to the report, family planning has been proven to be the most cost-effective public health intervention and if access to contraception and other methods of family planning is provided, the lives of women worldwide can be significantly improved.
Although, from a legal point of view, the report does not impact on international law as it is for its non-biding status, the report is an important public step in stressing the urgent need for nations to make internal arrangements to provide for the full achievement of such right.
From a gender perspective, the report acknowledges that women must have full access to information, education and to family planning services in order to enable them to perform consciously their fundamental liberty: right to choose. Yet, the truth is crystal clear: there is no genuine decision without quality information, and there is no tangible decision if there is no means to fulfilling it.
Very often there is an abysm between political statement and real action, between a legally acknowledged human right and its concrete fulfillment, between international arena and local reality.
So, yes, indeed a step has been taken, still, it is not all for a relevant question emerges: will the inked words of UNFPA`s report become real action or will they just remain registered written words on a UN document soon archived?
When it comes to human rights, we should not rest until acknowledged rights and liberties match reality.
To the full report, please visit http://www.unfpa.org/webdav/site/global/shared/swp/2012/EN-SWP2012_Report.pdf
Giselle Pinheiro Arcoverde