Dear JLI Members,
Below is a Declaration signed by faith leaders, faith-based organizations, and theologians from academic centers, at the UN General Assembly side event, on Friday September 19, at a consultation co-hosted by UNAIDS and UNFPA.
A Call to Action
Faith for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights Post 2015 Development Agenda
As we stand together under the auspices of the United Nations, we, people of faith, representatives of diverse faith-based development organizations, theological and other education centers and ecumenical bodies, recognize our role as cultural agents of change and providers of social services at the community, national, regional and global levels. We acknowledge our responsibility to safeguard the dignity and human rights of all people with our actions, our words and through our respective platforms.
We note – and are grateful for – the many achievements since the establishment of the Millennium Development Goals. We stand today, facing critical challenges. Too many of our communities still suffer the indignities of stigma, discrimination, violence and multiple forms of injustice. When such violations happen in the name of religion, culture, or tradition, we are aggrieved and hurt, as well as challenged to respond.
Not in our name should any mother die while giving birth. Not in our name should any girl, boy, woman or man be abused, violated, or killed. Not in our name should a girl child be deprived of her education, be married, be harmed or abused. Not in our name should anyone be denied access to basic health care, nor should a child or an adolescent be denied knowledge of and care for her/his body. Not in our name should any person be denied their human rights.
We affirm that sexual and reproductive health are part of human rights, and as such, must be guaranteed by governments. We note in particular the importance of preventing gender-based discrimination, violence and harmful practices; upholding gender justice; ensuring that every pregnancy is wanted and that every birth is safe; providing age-appropriate sexuality education; promoting the health, education and participation of youth and adolescents; preventing, treating and caring for people with HIV/AIDS; supporting family planning; and respecting the human body.
We hold these matters to be necessary and relevant for a true transformation of our societies, and central to the sustainability of any development agenda.
We underline, and call for deliberate attention to the importance of strategic partnerships between the United Nations system and faith-based organizations, in collaboration with civil society organizations to facilitate dialogue and implementation around the sustainable development goals, and uphold human dignity in all conditions of life.
Therefore, as the United Nations convenes our governments to consider what the next global development priorities should be, we, people of faith, call upon the United Nations system and Member States, to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights be made central to the Post 2015 sustainable development agenda.
United Nations Secretariat
September 19, 2014