Pursuing Accountability for Human Rights Abuses Associated with Maternal Mortality in India
Melissa Upreti, Senior Regional Manager and Legal Adviser for Asia Centre for Reproductive Rights (New York)
October 13, 2010 12:30-2pm
University of Toronto Faculty of Law
Falconer Hall, 84 Queen’s Park Solarium
Melissa Upreti is Senior Regional Manager and Legal Adviser for Asia in the International Legal Program. She is coordinator and main editor of two of the Center's signature publications, Women of the World, South Asia, and Women of the World, East and Southeast Asia. She led a fact-finding mission to investigate women imprisoned for abortion in Nepal and is coauthor of Abortion in Nepal: Women Imprisoned. She has designed and conducted human rights trainings in India, Nepal, and the Philippines and is involved in reproductive rights litigation projects in those countries. More recently, she was instrumental in securing the constitutional recognition of reproductive rights in Nepal and has been involved in efforts to promote the use of the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in the region. Prior to joining the Center in 2000, she was a Program Officer at the Asia Foundation in Nepal. She has a LLB from India and received her Master of Laws from the Columbia University School of Law, where she was a Stone Scholar.
Her presentation will focus on the human rights dimensions of maternal mortality and morbidity and legal strategies being used in India, the country with the highest number of maternal deaths in the world, to hold the government accountable for its failure to prevent pregnancy related deaths and injuries. In June, 2010, the Delhi High Court issued a groundbreaking decision recognizing the right to health as an inalienable right, particularly the right of women to pregnancy related care. The decision addresses the Indian government's failure to ensure that entitlements and benefits introduced by the state to prevent maternal deaths and disability are indeed implemented. It recognizes the right of pregnant women who are denied maternal health care and benefits to obtain compensation. Above all, it reaffirms the important connection between the right to health and the right to food as constitutionally protected fundamental rights.
Note: If you are interested in the practical uses of CEDAW in building case law, this is a good example. Mary