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State Department Report Should Prioritize Rights of Women and Girls, says CARE

Photo credit: Josh Estey/CARE
Photo credit: Josh Estey/CARE

WASHINGTON (Feb. 22, 2018) – In response to last week’s media reports that the U.S. State Department’s annual Human Rights Report (HRR) will no longer highlight the full abuse and human rights violations experienced by women and girls, CARE joined 170 organizations to call on the Trump administration to reconsider this harmful decision and the signal it sends to other countries that the U.S. is turning a blind eye to human rights abuses.

“We cannot afford to back away now, said Michelle Nunn, president and CEO of CARE. “Women’s access to lifesaving health care services and the protection of all communities against discrimination should not be censored or politicized.”

The Human Rights Report is a diplomatic tool that sheds a light on human rights abuses around the world and helps guide the U.S. government in addressing these abuses. By censoring information and analysis on issues that impact women and girls – including access to family planning services and education – this weakens the U.S. government’s ability to defend human rights globally and undermines the credibility of the report. This move could also weaken the U.S. government’s ability to advocate for stronger health care for women and their families to lead safe, healthy lives. Furthermore, efforts to limit countries’ records on addressing discrimination, including against the LGBT community, will undermine the United States’ global and moral standing as a leader in the defense of human rights and dignity for all communities.

Every day more than 800 women still die from pregnancy-related complications. By ensuring that all women have access to voluntary contraception and information about family planning and other lifesaving health care, we could reduce maternal deaths by 67 percent and newborn deaths by 77 percent globally. These low cost interventions can save lives and build a brighter future for women, their families and their communities.

“If the U.S. wants to lead, this decision will have the opposite impact,” said Nunn. “Any report on human rights must include protections for women’s access to lifesaving health care services.”

CARE stands firmly behind the importance of combating discrimination and advancing women and girls throughout our U.S. foreign policy and development assistance. The U.S. government cannot let egregious abuses against women and girls remain unnoticed and go unaddressed.

Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty. Last year, CARE worked in 94 countries and reached more than 80 million people around the world. To learn more, please visit www.care.org.

Media Contact
Nicole Ellis, +1-202-560-1791, nicole.ellis@care.org

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