MDG 5, HUMAN RIGHTS, AND MATERNAL HEALTH IN AFRICA
obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the right to health, the CESCR
arms stakeholders with a great weapon to assess the performance of
relevant authorities in their respective jurisdictions.243 In other words,
countries with an acceptable level of maternal and other aspects of health
are easily recognized as compliant, whereas others not meeting this
threshold are denied such recognition. Countries that are seriously
committed to their health-related human rights obligations are also those on
the right track toward meeting their MDG 5 obligations. The reverse is
equally true. The fact that most countries in Africa are lagging behind in
meeting MDG 5 obligations strongly evidences that those countries are also
not in compliance with their human rights obligations relating to the health
of women and the general population. This much is incontrovertible, and it
is equally troubling.
VI. CONCLUSION AND COUNTDOWN TO 2015
Behold, I will bring to it health and healing, and I will heal them and
reveal to them abundance of prosperity and security.244
In what has aptly been described as a “wake-up call to all nations,”245 the
U.N. Human Rights Council246— was quite explicit in its proclamation that
“most instances of maternal mortality and morbidity are preventable, and
243. See id. (“The right to health, like all human rights, imposes three types or levels of
obligations on States parties: the obligations to respect, protect and fulfill. In turn, the
obligation to fulfill contains obligations to facilitate, provide and promote. The obligation to
respect requires States to refrain from interfering directly or indirectly with the enjoyment of
the right to health. The obligation to protect requires States to take measures that prevent
third parties from interfering with article 12 guarantees. Finally, the obligation to fulfill
requires States to adopt appropriate legislative, administrative, budgetary, judicial,
promotional and other measures towards the full realization of the right to health.”). For a
more detailed exposition of these terms, see id. paras. 34-37.
244. Jeremiah 33: 6 (ESV).
245. Ebenezer Durojaye, The Human Rights Council’s Resolution on Maternal
Mortality: Better Late than Never, 10 AFR. HUM. RTS. L.J. 293, 308 (2010). The U.N.
Human Rights Council is the most important intergovernmental body responsible for human
rights and the successor to the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. Id.
246. In 2006, the Human Rights Council replaced and assumed the responsibilities of
the U.N. Commission on Human Rights. See Office of the High Commissioner for Human
Rights, Who We Are: Brief History, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ABOUTUS/Pages/Brief
History.aspx (last visited Oct. 11, 2013). The latter was established in 1946 and reported to
the Economic and Social Council of the U.N. (ECOSOC Council). Id. Unlike the
Commission which reported to the ECOSOC Council, the Human Rights Council reports
directly to the General Assembly and enjoys expanded mandate. Id. The mandate includes
making recommendations to the General Assembly for further development of international
law in the field of human rights, and undertaking a Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the
compliance of each State with its human rights obligations and commitments. Id.