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International Day of the Midwife
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Conference Programme + Recordings
This presentation will focus on the Convention on Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) as a tool to raise international awareness of violations of women’s rights in childbirth and to advocate for safe motherhood and respectful maternity care. CEDAW is the most important international document on women’s rights. It has been ratified by all but a handful of countries worldwide. Every country who is a signatory to the Convention must report every 4 years on the progress it is making towards meeting its obligations under CEDAW. The CEDAW Committee is a group of women’s rights experts who meet 3 times a year and review the country reports. This is also an opportunity for civil society organizations to submit “shadow” reports that raise questions not covered by the government. This is a great opportunity to advocate for women’s rights in childbirth and raise international awareness of what is happening in a country. The presentation will describe the process for submitting shadow reports as well as explain how shadow reports have been used in Greece and the Czech Republic to advocate for lowering the C-section rate, informed consent for medical care, and out-of-hospital birth.
Erin Duncan is an attorney at The Reynolds Law Firm in Corvallis, Oregon, where she focuses primarily on domestic relations law, including dissolutions, custody, guardianship, and protective orders. Her academic interests include reproductive justice and domestic implementation of human rights norms. She is the author of "The United States' Maternal Care Crisis: A Human Rights Solution," published in Oregon Law Review and accessible online at
Eliška Kodyšová, Ph.D has worked at APERIO - Healthy Parenting Association in the Czech Republic since 2005. She has been promoting various parenting issues and supporting future parents and parents in their role. She has a Ph.D. in social psychology and 3 children.
Electra Leda Koutra is an Athens based lawyer specializing in human rights and criminal law. Since 2009, she leads the “Hellenic Action for Human Rights” – “Pleiades” (NGO) and is involved in activism and strategic litigation, currently representing hundreds of Applicants in front of the ECtHR. Besides Law, she has studied psychology, system dynamics and theatre. She is also a published poet, has had several exhibitions of her paintings and has been involved in acting. Being herself a mom who gave birth naturally in the country with the highest caesarean rates globally, she has attempted, among other human rights quests, to sensitize the public on human rights in childbirth, and to initiate proceedings related to homebirth in front of supra-national bodies.
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