Interactive Dialogue with Working Group on discrimination against women - Statement on Report on Women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive health rights in crisis

Statement delivered by Pascalle Grotenhuis,  Ambassador Women’s Rights and Gender Equality

Madam President,

The Kingdom of The Netherlands commends the Working Group on discrimination against women and girls for this informative report.

Women and girls are disproportionately affected by crises, and this is particularly evident when it comes to their sexual and reproductive health and rights. States have a duty to respect and fulfil these rights. They are  crucial for women’s health and wellbeing and a prerequisite for achieving gender equality and realising the SDGs.

We are gravely concerned by the effects of the COVID-19 crisis presented in the report. We are particularly worried about the serious interruption of sexual and reproductive health services, which has led to an increase in unplanned and adolescent pregnancies, unsafe abortions and maternal mortality, as well as increases in sexual and gender-based violence.

We emphasise that the pandemic response should not come at the expense of necessary investments in SRHR. We are concerned by the backlash against women’s rights and the global trend of reduced funding for SRHR, which is threatening the ability of many actors to mitigate the harmful impact of COVID-19.

The report rightly states that certain groups of women and girls are at increased risk, due to multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination. Could the Working Group elaborate on their findings with regard to violations of the sexual and reproductive health and rights of LGBTI persons?

Thank you.