Addressing Maternal Mortality: What is the Added Value of Human Rights?
Alicia Ely Yamin, JD MPH

Time: 13:00-14:30
Venue: Bergen Resource Centre for International Development, Jekteviksbakken 31, Juss II

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) include a goal (MDG 5) on the reduction of maternal mortality by 75% from 1990 levels (by 2015).  This goal is unlikely to be met and the region that is farthest off target is sub-Saharan Africa, where improvements are most urgently needed.  At the same time, the MDGs have been criticized for failing to address the most basic human rights-related concerns, such as non-discrimination.  This talk will provide an overview of the history of MDG 5, exploring why human rights considerations were left out of the formulation of the goals relating to women’s health, and what the consequences have been.  The second part of the talk will discuss some of the normative and empirical implications of incorporating human rights into programs to reduce maternal mortality.  It will suggest ways in which using human rights approaches to effectively address maternal mortality challenges human rights paradigms as well as development practice.

Alicia Ely Yamin received both her JD and her MPH from Harvard University. In her fellowship research she is exploring the defining dimensions of rights-based approaches to health, including possibilities for, and challenges to establishing accountability for violations and progress. She has been a leader in the conceptualization of rights-based approaches to health, authoring dozens of articles and conducting ground-breaking fieldwork. Ms. Yamin Yamin is participating in the Litigating the Right to Health project.

Yamin is a Joseph H. Flom Fellow on Global Health and Human Rights at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program, and an Instructor at the Harvard School of Public Health. She is the Executive Editor of the Critical Concepts section for the Health and Human Rights Journal.