Without participation or information: Freedom of speech from a women’s rights perspective

In the International Women´s Day, I would like to share with you the introduction of an article written long time ago with my Peruvian colleague, Prof. Carlos J. Zelada. The complete article, published in 2009 by the Inter-American Human Rights Institute, is available here.

If the right to freedom of speech is applied equally to all the individuals with no regard to their sex; to talk about this from a women’s rights perspective is an unproductive exercise. Nothing could be more wrong.

The essay poses that the absence of free and informed consent in the sexual and reproductive health context violates Article 13 of the American Convention on Human Rights (hereinafter, “American Convention”). According to our scope, at the sexuality and reproduction levels, freedom of speech and access to information imposes particularly important obligations to the State on the protection of women’s human rights.

Our work, divided into four sections, has as a premise that in the Americas, due to discrimination, the issues on sexual and reproductive health affect women differently. We believe that the inclusion of the women’s human rights perspective in the study of the thematic and jurisprudential instruments and precedents of the Inter-American system for the protection of human rights (hereinafter, “Inter-American system”), facilitates the understanding of the critical impact of certain practices, such as forced sterilization, in the exercise of their civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights in our countries.

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