Friday, June 11, 2010

Nicaragua under significant pressure in Human Rights Council to introduce abortion

The Human Rights Council has turned it attention to final consideration of the Universal periodic Reviews (UPR) in respect of countries, which were reviewed over the last few months and the reviews of five countries were finalised on Wednesday 9th June, Nicaragua, Italy, Kazakstan, Slovenia and Bolivia.

By far the most contentious review was that of Nicaragua which was under pressure from 11 countries to repeal its pro-life legislation. According to a report of earlier proceedings the following countries made recommendations to Nicaragua repeal its pro-life laws, Netherlands, Norway, Czech Republic, Mexico, UK, Belgium, France, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Slovenia. Based on the fact that ten of these are European countries it was easy to see where the greatest pressure was coming from.

The actual content of the recommendations varied to some extent however typical recommendations were along the following lines;
“Revise legislation regarding the sexual and reproductive rights of women, including the abolition of the total ban on abortion, and ensure their access to services necessary for their enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of health.”

Other recommendations were that "therapeutic" abortion should be allowed
“Follow through on recommendations of different treaty bodies regarding the possibility of considering exceptions to the general prohibition of abortion, especially in cases of therapeutic abortion and pregnancies resulting from rape and incest”

The Nicaraguan Delegate Carlos Robelo strongly rejected these recommendations telling the council that that Nicaragua would not change back its abortion laws to allow "therapeutic" abortion, The current laws he said represented the will of the people.