Statement to WHA74: FIGO on violence against women and girls
FIGO submitted the following written statement to the 74th World Health Assembly on Saturday 29 May 2021 under agenda item 23 – the global plan of action to strengthen the role of the health system within a national multisectoral response to address interpersonal violence, in particular against women and girls, and against children.
FIGO's written statement
Health is a human right, and all women deserve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health. This must hold true wherever they live and regardless of their legal status – it cannot be sacrificed or compromised.
As the global voice for women’s health, FIGO is alarmed by the continuing high prevalence of violence against women worldwide. No country has been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a serious and disproportionate impact on the physical, mental, sexual and reproductive health of women.
Recognition, promotion and protection of the rights of women and girls is critical – at country and global level. FIGO supports the following ethical principles and reminds all Member States and partners that these are particularly pertinent when women face turmoil from war and political unrest.
- Respect – autonomy and protection of the vulnerable is vital. Women are disproportionately vulnerable to social, economic and political incapacities and care must be taken to protect them from harm.
- Benefit and avoidance of harm – represents a clinician’s duty to improve a patient’s physical and mental wellbeing. Health care providers must be allowed the freedom and authority to care for women subjected to harm in war-torn regions of the world.
- Justice – women are expected to receive fair, equitable and appropriate care, and protection of their sexual and reproductive rights.
At the FIGO World Congress in October 2018, clinicians, activists and advocates from around the world launched the Global Declaration on Violence Against Women. The Declaration calls for capacity building of all health care providers, adequate support from their health systems, and the provision of specialised care to meet the health needs of women who suffer violence. FIGO repeats these calls for all Member States to use human rights-based health care assistance to help end violence against women.
FIGO verbal intervention
Your excellencies, colleagues and friends,
As the global voice for women’s health, the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics is alarmed by the continuing high prevalence of violence against women worldwide.
No country has been immune to the COVID-19 pandemic, and it has had a serious and disproportionate impact on the health and rights of women and girls.
All women and girls deserve the highest possible standards of physical, mental, reproductive and sexual health, grounded in the ethical principles of respect, justice, and avoidance of harm.
Women must receive: fair, equitable and appropriate care; autonomy; and protection of their sexual and reproductive rights.
Health care providers must be allowed the freedom and authority to care for women subjected to harm.
FIGO calls on Member States to build capacity of all health care providers, provide adequate support for health systems, and ensure the provision of specialised care to meet the health needs of women and girls who suffer violence.
Read all of the statements FIGO submitted to this year’s World Health Assembly.