FIGO warns threat of human rights violation to the women and girls of Ukraine
London, UK – 10 March 2022
Along with leaders around the world, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO) is calling for an immediate end to all hostilities in Ukraine, as Russian forces destroy hospitals and the conflict continues to threaten the human rights of women and girls in the country.
FIGO asks that all efforts be made to provide for the safety of all civilians, hospitals, schools, food, and water and sanitation facilities – including the provision that no weapons be used – and that women and girls be assured access to the full spectrum of health and care services. This must be an international effort within and beyond Ukraine’s borders.
In times of conflict, women are indiscriminately targeted and extremely vulnerable. They face barriers to access and provision of basic services like maternity care; reproductive health services such as treatment of genital infections, contraception and abortion; and are at higher risk of mental, sexual and physical abuse. Violence against women and girls is a persistent human rights violation that threatens their safety, security, and physical and mental wellbeing.
UNFPA estimates that around 80,000 women in Ukraine will give birth in the next three months. Obstetrician gynaecologists recognise the innate risks of childbirth to mother and infant at all times. These risks are exacerbated when planning and giving birth while under siege, in war or displaced, significantly increasing the possibility of maternal and infant death or injury.
There is also a need to ensure that adherence to the sphere of minimum standards is inclusive of all sexual and reproductive health services to alleviate suffering and save lives during this humanitarian crisis.
FIGO has released a statement on the conflict, which can be read in full on the organisation’s website, and sent a letter of support to the Ukrainian Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
Read FIGO's letter to the Ukrainian Association of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists.
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Notes to editors
About the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO)
FIGO is a professional membership organisation that brings together more than 130 obstetrical and gynaecological associations from all over the world. FIGO’s vision is that women of the world achieve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health and wellbeing throughout their lives. Our work to achieve this vision is built on four pillars: education, research implementation, advocacy and capacity building.
FIGO leads on global programme activities, with a particular focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South East Asia. We advocate on a global stage, especially in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pertaining to reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and wellbeing, and non-communicable diseases (SDG3). We also work to raise the status of women and enable their active participation in achieving their reproductive and sexual rights, including through addressing female-genital mutilation (FGM) and gender-based violence (SDG5).
We also provide education and training for our Member Societies and build capacities of those in low-resource countries through strengthening leadership, translating and disseminating good practice and promoting policy dialogues.
FIGO is in official relations with the World Health Organization and a consultative status with the United Nations.