Over half a million women die every year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth: an astonishing number of tragedies which are the culmination of human rights violations against women and girls in many aspects of their lives and at all levels of health decision-making.
To help put an end to these human rights violations is the International Initiative on Maternal Mortality and Human Rights’ goal, shortened into IIMMHR, a partnership of international, regional, and national civil society organizations committed to a comprehensive human rights approach to maternal mortality.
“It’s time for us to recognize preventable maternal mortality for the massive human rights problem that it is”, claims the organization on their website.
This human rights approach includes a call for greater political will on behalf of governments and donors to take the necessary steps to reduce maternal mortality, and in turn, more and better accountability mechanisms to ensure that women’s right to maternal health becomes a reality.
Experience in various countries over the past decades has demonstrated that maternal mortality can be reduced significantly and sustainable when it becomes a political priority. Yet it remains a low priority in far too many countries, despite the target set by Millennium Development Goal 5.
Even though dying of an easily preventable cause is a human rights violation–as much as extrajudicial executions, torture, and arbitrary detentions are–the connection between maternal mortality and human rights has not been widely recognized. The time is ripe for an effort that confronts this unacceptable situation. The IIMMHR seeks to take on that challenge.