The United States, Brazil and eight other countries, such as Egypt and Senegal, disassociated themselves on Thursday from the commitments and conclusions of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD25) on issues such as abortion and birth control.
“There is no international right to abortion. In fact, international law makes it clear that everyone has the right to life,” Valerie Huber, head of the U.S. delegation, told reporters as she read a joint communiqué signed by all ten countries in the Kenyan capital.
Through this text, the ten nations – USA, Belarus, Brazil, Hungary, Poland, Saint Lucia, Egypt, Haiti, Senegal and Uganda – disassociate themselves from “references to international documents with ambiguous terms and expressions, such as sexual and reproductive rights, that do not have an international consensus”, as they believe that “certain practices such as abortion have been aggressively used to promote”.
Representatives from more than 160 countries have discussed since Tuesday how to accelerate the program of action achieved at the historic ICPD in Cairo in 1994, the first in which sexual and reproductive health became a human right, and which also addressed issues such as maternal mortality or male violence.
In their statement, the ten disassociated countries call for the Cairo milestones to be respected, but criticize the alleged lack of consensus that has characterized this latest conference.
“The results of this summit have not been negotiated intergovernmentally and are not the result of a consensual process, so they should not be considered normative nor should they appear in any future document as language negotiated intergovernmentally,” Huber said today.
Among the criticisms from these nations is their refusal to support what they consider “sex education that fails to keep parents involved and promotes abortion as a form of family planning”.
And also, the fact that birth control is primarily promoted rather than a birth drive after Cairo’s predictions of population growth projections have not been met, “with a majority of regions in the world with a fertility rate lower than (population) replacement rates”.
“As a result, family planning should focus both on getting pregnant voluntarily and on preventing (those) unwanted pregnancies,” the U.S. delegate stressed.
The themes highlighted at this summit, many of which have caused distrust among a minority of ultraconservative and religious groups that have demonstrated on the streets of Nairobi, have been gender equality, abortion rights, sexual rights of persons with disabilities, family planning and gender-based violence, among others.
The ICPD25, which closes this Thursday in Nairobi, is organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and the governments of Kenya and Denmark.