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In Focus

Take a closer look at some of the events and actions taking place across the world to highlight how we can stand up for someone’s rights. Join us and together we will make a difference.

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© Jeff Pachoud / AFP

Global midwives association calls on members to embrace defense of human rights

The International Conference of Midwives (ICM) has joined the Stand Up campaign and is encouraging its members to embrace their roles as human rights defenders and to #standup4humanrights.

“We are calling on midwives to stand up for the rights of universal access to health care and to availability to adequate health care,” said Ingela Wiklund, a member of ICM’s executive committee. “Health care must be accessible and provided without discrimination based on health status, raced, ethnicity, age, sex, sexuality, disability, language, religion, national origin, income, education or social status.” Wiklund made her statement in the lead up to the ICM’s Triennial Congress. The meeting, which took place from 18-22 June in Toronto, Canada, brought together nearly 4,000 representatives from midwives associations from across the world. Midwives have long been a conduit of health care information for women and girls, and as such have long been defenders of human rights, Wiklund said.

“Unequal power relation between men and women makes it difficult for women and girls to decide over their own bodies and is one of many human rights problems that midwives experience in their everyday work globally,” she said. “Midwives are human right defenders and we must find good strategies to work effectively for human rights closely together with other NGOs.”

During her speech at the event, UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights Kate Gilmore reminded the membership that midwifery has a long and noble tradition, and call on midwives to stand against all that “casually betrays hard won principles, that flourishes so readily xenophobia, seeds so easily the toxic harvest of hatred and bigotry.”

“Should such daily, banal manufactured cruelties pass us by unremarked? NO! Stand up we must and stand up we will,” Gilmore said. “Every day, in any way we can, where ever we are – we must stand up. Stand up so that we do not abandon; stand out for those we must accompany; stand for that which is most precious – the fact, the reality, that you and I are born equal in dignity and rights.”

ICM is a global organisation of midwives associations which represents half a million midwives worldwide. Its mission is to ensure all women, irrespective of their economic status, have access to midwifery care. Learn more about their Triennial Congress on their website*

*The UN Human Rights Office is not responsible for the content of external links.


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