CEDAW General Recommendation No. 24: Article 12 of the Convention (Women and Health) Adopted at the Twentieth Session of the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, in 1999 (Contained in Document A/54/38/Rev.1, chap. I) 1. The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, affirming that access to health care, including reproductive health, is a basic right under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, decided at its twentieth session, pursuant to article 21, to elaborate a general recommendation on article 12 of the Convention. Background 2. States parties’ compliance with article 12 of the Convention is central to the health and well-being of women. It requires States to eliminate discrimination against women in their access to health-care services throughout the life cycle, particularly in the areas of family planning, pregnancy and confinement and during the post-natal period. The examination of reports submitted by States parties pursuant to article 18 of the Convention demonstrates that women’s health is an issue that is recognized as a central concern in promoting the health and well-being of women. For the benefit of States parties and those who have a particular interest in and concern with the issues surrounding women’s health, the present general recommendation seeks to elaborate the Committee’s understanding of article 12 and to address measures to eliminate discrimination in order to realize the right of women to the highest attainable standard of health. 3. Recent United Nations world conferences have also considered these objectives. In preparing this general recommendation, the Committee has taken into account relevant programmes of action adopted at United Nations world conferences and, in particular, those of the 1993 World Conference on Human Rights, the 1994 International Conference on Population and Development and the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women. The Committee has also noted the work of the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and other United Nations bodies. It has collaborated with a large number of non-governmental organizations with a special expertise in women’s health in preparing this general recommendation. 4. The Committee notes the emphasis that other United Nations instruments place on the right to health and to the conditions that enable good health to be achieved. Among such instruments are the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.

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