To allow abortion for rape victims in conflict situations: a new plea from the UN

Publié le 3 Mar, 2016

Pro-abortion groups and members of the UN are calling on humanitarian associations to “provide abortions for rape victims in conflict situations”. This recent plea from the United Nations confirms that abortion is a humanitarian right [1]. For Susan Yoshihara, from C-Fam[2], it is an attempt to “impose an international law on abortion through trickery”.

She went on to add that, “there is no legal basis for a humanitarian law on abortion” because abortion conflicts with the limiting obligation of Member States to protect life along with other principles firmly entrenched in international law. The claim that a humanitarian law on abortion exists basically contradicts the fundamental principle of consent in terms of humanitarian law. According to the interpretation of the Geneva Conventions by the International Committee of the Red Cross, abortion cannot be financed or carried out in countries where the unborn child is protected.

Yoshihara also commented that this plea would help to stigmatise the thousands of children born as a result of rape in armed conflicts, who are not mentioned in any humanitarian project or post-conflict developmental project.



[1] “International humanitarian law, also known as the ‘war laws’, protects civilians and other non-combatants from harm during war. It is a clearly established and respected branch of international law, which is obligatory for all countries”.

[2] Centre for Family and Human Rights.

C-Fam (3/03/2016)

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