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Sexual Reproductive Health Services ‘a must for all’ – Gender Analyst

Authors: Koang Pal Chang | Joakino Francis | | Published: Friday, March 6, 2020

Viola Riak, UNFPA Gender Analyst, during an interview with Eye Radio ahead of International Women's Day. Photo: Eye Radio/Okot Emmanuel - Mar 5, 2020

Sexual and reproductive health services must be made available to everybody since its one of the international human rights instruments, a gender analyst has said.

Ahead of international women’s day this week,  Viola Riak, the United Nations Population Fund – Gender Analyst stated that sexual and reproductive health rights can bring about gender equality if implemented.

Speaking to Eye Radio on Thursday, Madam Riak affirms that sexual reproductive health rights are internationally recognized as human rights in a conference held in Cairo in 1994.

“The sexual reproductive health right was realized in the International Conference on Population and Development in 1994 when the whole world gathered in Cairo and agreed that sexual reproductive health and rights are indeed human rights.”

Women’s sexual and reproductive health is related to multiple human rights, including the right to life, the right to be free from torture, the right to health, the right to privacy, the right to education, and the prohibition of discrimination.

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) have both clearly indicated that women’s right to health includes their sexual and reproductive health.

This means that governments have the obligation to respect, protect and fulfill rights related to women’s sexual and reproductive health.

The gender analyst reiterates that the health and wellbeing of women and girls is a major concern for South Sudan.

Madam Riak emphasized that an educated woman can play a bigger role in the country’s economic sector.

“If sexual and reproductive health services are attained, women can have education, and you know very well if you have education, you can have employment,” said Riak.

“Women who are employed, if they space their children, the chances of them retaining job are higher, and if they don’t even work they can do other economic activities that they do without being held down whether they are pregnant or not.”

In South Sudan, many families don’t practice family planning or independently decide on the number of children.

Riak argued that South Sudanese families must leave married couples to decide how many children they want.

“The couple makes the decision when they want to have the children, and I think, it’s a high time that the South Sudanese realized that maybe the couple have bigger thing to achieve, maybe they are working on something, and they think a child at that moment, not because they don’t want to have children, some of them will decide they don’t want children, it’s their right,” said gender analyst.

“They are individuals, they make that decision, people should respect it and people should be ok including relatives.”

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