UN Human Rights Council: African countries under pressure for protecting life

Lois McLatchie, Legal Analyst, UN, for ADF International in Geneva.

During the 45th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the human rights organization ADF International delivered a statement at the UN Human Rights Council commending Kenya’s protection of the right to life. It highlighted the country’s ability to halve maternal mortality rates over two decades, without giving in to international pressure to legalize abortion. Kenya’s Constitution protects the right to life of both mother and child.

“Human rights apply to all members of the human family regardless of their age. There is no right to abortion under international law. We applaud Kenya’s decision to accept calls to ‘reaffirm that the right to life exists from conception until natural death, and redouble efforts to protect it as such.’ In doing so, Kenya reiterated, in keeping with its Constitution, its stance on protecting women and children from abortion, except for in extreme circumstances whereby the mother’s life is in danger.

“We urge the Government to resist external pressures to reverse its principled position, and to make every effort to ensure that each woman receives all the necessary support throughout pregnancy and motherhood. Kenya has halved its maternal mortality rate over the past two decades, including through innovative, life-affirming programs for mother and child and the provision of free maternity care. We wish them every success in redoubling their efforts to continue to save more lives as we look ahead, secure in the knowledge that in a pregnancy, both lives matter,” said Lois McLatchie, Legal Analyst, UN, for ADF International in Geneva.

Pro-life laws in Africa

A recent study shows that 85% of Kenyans oppose the legalization of abortion in their country and support its current pro-life legislation. International organizations and abortion providers have put Kenya under pressure to introduce legislation that would legalize abortion despite popular opinion being against it. Currently, the Kenyan Constitution protects the right to life from conception.