Global expert panel calls for increased action to promote sexual and reproductive health

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Tarja Halonen, former President of Finland

Much "unfinished business" remains on commitments made nearly 20 years ago at a global conference on population and development, an independent advocacy group charges.

The High-Level Task Force for the International Conference on Population and Development says despite progress worldwide on sexual and reproductive health, 800 women die every day from complications related to pregnancy and childbirth.

The task force on Thursday launched policy recommendations to help countries achieve the goals of the 1994 Cairo conference on population and development.

The former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen, is one of its co-chairs.

"Our first and overarching recommendation relates to respecting, promoting and fulfilling sexual and reproductive rights for all. And when I say "all," it really means "all." We must mobilize all sectors of society to create an enabling environment for people to exercise these fundamental human rights. And this means without fear or stigma. We need to make people understand that human sexuality is a positive aspect of life, and that means also tolerance, respect, non-discrimination, non-violence in matters of sexuality and reproduction."

The task force says although sexual and reproductive rights lie at the core of human dignity, they are too often neglected or trampled, or met with abuse, violence or persecution.

Dianne Penn, United Nations.

Duration: 1'35"

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