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This updated charter further clarifies and clearly articulates the rights of women and newborns in the context of maternity care provided within a healthcare facility. It specifically delineates how human rights are implicated in the context of pregnancy and childbirth and affirms the basic inalienable rights of women and newborns. Many of these rights are well established in international law and have been interpreted and applied to issues arising during pregnancy, childbirth and the care provided immediately after birth. These rights are articulated in separate human rights conventions and in order to affirm their application in the context of pregnancy and childbirth, it is important to compile them in one document that focuses on this period.

The Respectful Maternity Care Charter addresses the issue of disrespect and abuse toward women and newborns who are utilizing maternal and newborn care services and provides a platform for improvement by:

  • Raising awareness for women’s and newborns’ human rights guarantees that are recognized in internationally adopted United Nations and other multinational declarations, conventions and covenants;
  • Highlighting the connection between human rights guarantees and healthcare delivery relevant to maternal and newborn healthcare;
  • Increasing the capacity of maternal, newborn and child health advocates to participate in human rights processes;
  • Aligning women’s demand for high-quality maternal and newborn care with international human rights law standards;
  • Providing a foundation for holding governments, the maternity care system and communities accountable to these rights;
  • Supporting healthcare workers in providing respectful care to women and newborns and creating a healthy working environment.

The social media toolkit for promotion of the updated Respectful Maternity Care Charter can be found here.