Human rights and maternity care

02 March 2021
Volume 29 · Issue 3


Birthrights is an organisation that believes human rights law is an effective and powerful route to respectful maternity care

‘Where, after all, do universal human rights begin? In small places, close to home—so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.’ When Eleanor Roosevelt delivered these remarks to the United Nations in 1958, we at Birthrights like to think she had in mind those places where women give birth.

Human rights can seem like a lofty concept but at its heart its really very simple. It's about treating every individual as a human being because they are worthy of respect. The past year has been like no other for all of us. And human rights has been a potent lens through which to view the pandemic. The remarkable thing about the framework of human rights law, embodied in the European Convention of Human Rights and incorporated into UK law through the Human Rights Act 1998, is that it is flexible enough to meet the challenges of coronavirus head on.

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