African ministers concluded a 2 day segment of the Regional Conference on Population and Development Beyond 2014 with the adoption of an Addis Ababa declaration. After extensive discussions and an informal meeting of heads of delegations, seventeen countries expressed reservations related to wording in 3 paragraphs that are specific to contentious human rights language.
Some countries called for the removal of references to sexual orientation in the document to enable consensus, stating that 'matters of sexuality and orientation are not a priority for many African countries.'
Some delegates, however, posited that human rights language was key to curbing discriminatory practice on a range of issues that are not related to sexuality, such as the protection of Albinos. They stressed that human rights language, such as freedom of speech and choice are important elements of a people-centred development.
Delegates underscored the need to respond to new and emerging challenges relevant to population and development and to the changing development environment. They stressed the need to reinforce the integration of the population and development agenda in global processes related to development;
The document reaffirms the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, as well as other international and regional instruments relating to human rights and international law, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, the Protocol on the Rights of Women in Africa, the African Charter on the Right and the Welfare of the Child. Debates ensued on what some considered a loaded emphasis around human rights and fundamental freedoms for all. A strong area of contention emerged with the idea of protecting human rights without distinction of any kind’.
The document emphasizes implementation of the declaration through a number of channels, such as mainstreaming it into the work plans of the African Union and UN Economic Commission for Africa and the Post-2015 development agenda.
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