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General News of Friday, 10 December 2010

Source: GNA

Ghanaian women deserve the right to negotiate safe sex - Alliance

Accra, Dec. 10, GNA - The Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights (ARHR), on Friday described as worrying on the occasion of the International Day of Human Rights, why most women in Ghana still do not have the right to negotiate safe sex for protection from sexually transmitted diseases. A statement signed by Miss Vicky Okine, the Executive Director of the Alliance and copied to the Ghana News Agency to mark the day which falls on December 10 every year, said, "It is worrying that many females do not have the right to make health decisions especially in our rural areas." It said women especially those, who were economically disadvantaged, had to seek approval from their spouses or partners first before accessing health care.

Joining the international community to observe the Day, the Alliance said, "By promoting and protecting issues of human rights and human dignity, including the right to health, we will position the world to achieve freedom, justice, peace and improved health for all mankind." The Day is a global call to combat poverty, discrimination, deprivation and exclusion for all human beings. Ironically, the statement said, many African countries including Ghana had ratified health-related human rights treaties such as the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW, 1979), The African Charter, 1986, and the Ghana Domestic Violence Act, 2007. It said by ratifying these instruments, countries agree to take necessary measures against all forms of exploitation of women so that women can enjoy all their human rights and fundamental freedoms. "Although many countries are making some efforts to achieve this, much remains to be done."

The statement said the Alliance therefore called on government to go a step further to ensure that the provisions contained in these instruments were realized. It urged that health policies and programmes in their design and implementation should encompass freedom from discrimination, right to privacy and information.

The Alliance also called for appropriate friendly services to make be available at health centres to provide appropriate family planning services to those who need them without fear of stigma, rebuke, discrimination or disclosure.

"This will help to reduce cases of unplanned and unwanted pregnancies and therefore unsafe abortions in the country." It also called on the government and the private sector to increase their support for family planning commodities in this regard to help to reduce unmet need for family planning. The Alliance also urged Civil Society Organisations, especially human rights organizations, to step up advocacy aimed at promoting and protecting human rights in Ghana The Alliance for Reproductive Health Rights is a leading Ghanaian Non-governmental Organization established in 2004 by a network/group of NGOs to promote rights based approaches to sexual and reproductive health (SRH) in Ghana through advocacy, capacity building and research. 10 Dec. 10

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