Human Rights Day 10 December 1966 Declaration on Population by World Leaders signed by 12 Heads of State.
'The majority of parents desire to have the knowledge and the means a plan their families; that the opportunities to decide the number and spacing of children is a basic human right.'
Human Rights Day 10 December 1967 1966 Declaration on Population by World Leaders signed by 30 Heads of State. Statement on population by the UN Secretary-General, U Thant.
'The Universal Declaration of Human Rights describes the family as the natural and fundamental unit of society. It follows that any choice and decision with regard to the size of the family must inevitably rest with the family itself, and cannot be made by anyone else. But this right of parents to free choice will remain illusory unless they are aware of the alternatives open to them. Hence, the right of every family to information and the availability of services in the field is increasingly considered as a basic human right and as an indispensable ingredient of human dignity.' (U Thant statement)
International Conference on Human Rights Tehran, Republic of Iran, 22 April to 13 May 1968
The Conference adopted Resolution XVIII on the Human Rights Aspects of Family Planning, which stated in its operative paragraph 3 that: '[...] couples have a basic human right to decide freely and responsibly on the number and spacing of their children and a right to adequate education and information in this respect.' (Resolution XVIII: Human Rights Aspects of Family Planning, Final Act of the International Conference on Human Rights. U.N. Doc. A/CONF. 32/41, p.15)
1969 Declaration on Social Progress and Development Adopted by the General Assembly in resolution 2542
It affirmed the Tehran Proclamation and urged Governments to provide couples not only the 'education' but also the 'means necessary to enable them to exercise their right to determine freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children.' (General Assembly Resolution 2542, U.N. Doc. A/7630)
Reproductive rights in WPPA 'All couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so; the responsibility of couples and individuals in the exercise of this right takes into account the needs of their living and future children, and their responsibilities toward the community' (para. 14(f) in the Principles and Objectives).
' It is recommended that all countries:
- respect and ensure, regardless of their overall demographic goals, the right of persons to determine, in a free, informed and responsible manner, the number and spacing of their children;
- Encourage appropriate education concerning responsible parenthood and make available to persons who so desire advice and the means of achieving it;
- Ensure that family planning, medical and related social services aim not only at the prevention of unwanted pregnancies but also at the elimination of involuntary sterility and subfecundity in order that all couples may be permitted to achieve their desired number of children, and that child adoption may be facilitated;
- Equal status of men and women in the family and in society improves the overall quality of live. This principle of equality should be fully realized in family planning where each spouse should consider the welfare of the other members of the family; (para. 42).
- Improvement of the status of women in the family and in society can contribute, where desired, to smaller family size, and the opportunity for women to plan births also improves their individual status (para. 43).
International Conference on Population The Recommendations for the further implementation of the WPPA included a special section on the Roles and Status of Women and a comprehensive set of recommendations on 'reproduction and the family' to ensure the effective exercise of the right of decising the number and spacing of children.
- Governments should, as a matter of urgency, make universally available information, education and the means to assist couples and individuals to achieve their desired number of children. Family planning information, education and means should include all medically approved and appropriate methods of family planning, including natural family planning, to ensure a voluntary and free choice in accordance with changing individual and cultural values. Particular attention should be given to those segments of the population which are most vulnerable and difficult to reach.
- Governments are urged to ensure that all couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, education and means to do so; couples and individuals in the exercise of this right should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community.
The 1994 International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo (ICPD) defined reproductive rights
'...reproductive rights embrace certain human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other relevant United Nations consensus documents. These rights rest on the recognition of the basic right of all couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number, spacing and timing of their children and to have the information and means to do so, and the right to attain the highest standard of sexual and reproductive health. It also includes the right of all to make decisions concerning reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence as expressed in human rights documents. In the exercise of this right, they should take into account the needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities towards the community.' (ICPD Programme of Action 1994, para 7.3)