Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director and Under-Secretary of the UN Secretary General, has called on the international community to do all it can to protect the rights and health of all women and adolescent girls.
Dr. Osotimehin’s call was contained in a message he delivered on Saturday, July 11, which was World Population Day (WPD). The statement was made available to the Daily Observer by the UNFPA-Liberia Office.
“We must enable women, adolescent girls and young people to play their full role in peace talks, peace building and recovery, and to ensure that governments comply with international law and bring perpetrators of sexual violence to justice,” the UNSG’s Under-Secretary further stated.
He also said that by prioritizing health, rights and the full participation of women, adolescent girls and young people in public life, prospects for a more just, stable and peaceful world are increased.
Touching on the WPD’s theme, “Vulnerable Populations in Emergencies,” Dr. Osotimehin said it is intended to highlight the special needs of women and adolescent girls during conflicts and humanitarian disasters.
“One of the priorities of UNFPA is to empower and safeguard the well-being of women, adolescent girls and young people and address their specific needs and concerns. We work closely with governments, the United Nations system, local partners and others on disaster preparedness to ensure that reproductive health is integrated into emergency responses,” he added.
His organization deploys hygiene kits, obstetric and contraceptive supplies, trained personnel and other support to vulnerable populations, he noted. “It also works to ensure that the needs of women, adolescent girls and young people are served through both an emergency and the reconstruction phase. Our aim is to ensure that women’s and adolescent girls’ right to sexual and reproductive health is protected and their safety is ensured.”
Also speaking on the theme of the Day, the UN SG, Ban Ki-Moon, said the world is seeing a record number of people displaced by crises – some 60 million—according to the latest UN figures. SG Ban said UNFPA works in emergency settings around the globe to respond to the rights and needs of women and girls, helping them maintain their dignity, securing their safety, and restoring their access to sexual and reproductive health care.
“With nearly 60 million individuals having fled conflict or disaster, women and adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable. Violent extremists and armed groups are committing terrible abuses that result in trauma, unintended pregnancy and infection with HIV and other diseases.”
About World Population Day
In 1989, in its decision 89/46, the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Program recommended that, in order to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues in the context of overall development plans and program and the need to find solutions for these issues, July 11 should be observed by the international community as World Population Day.