The Equality Rights Group has said it is considering taking legal action to press for the legalisation of abortions in Gibraltar.
In a statement ahead of International Women’s Day, the ERG said it is “ironic” that 18 years after its formation to call for equality in Gibraltar, it was contemplating legal action to safeguard what is already a “well-established set of international rights”.
“We have been saying it for years, and recently we have said it again in support of the Gibraltar Women’s Association’s call: we fully support a woman’s right to be able to terminate a pregnancy on a number of grounds and subject to medically approved time limitations,” the ERG said.
It added that all women should be able to choose to do so or not do so, without imposition from anyone.
“For ERG, as a human and civil rights organisation, it is now a question of whether the continued absence of legislation in Gibraltar making these rights a reality is illegal under international law or not,” the group said.
The ERG said it is therefore in the process of studying action, starting in the Gibraltar Courts, but with a view to proceeding further, as necessary.
“Under articles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the United Nations Human Rights Committee has long affirmed the obligation of countries where there is a failure to ensure access to safe, legal abortion.”
The issues touch some very specific areas of international human rights law, and the ERG said it will not hesitate to take whatever action arises out of legal advice.
“Women’s rights in Gibraltar need to be robustly defended and advanced to ensure women of whatever view on this subject are able to freely decide for themselves without imposition from anyone.”
“Too many political figures are robustly sitting on the fence on this,” the group added.
ERG Chairman Felix Alvarez added that “equal pay for equal work is a call that has for too long also been made, but I am constantly receiving complaints from women that this does not consistently match local reality.”
“Again, it is high time women in Gibraltar should be paid the same rate for the same work as men in our market place.”
This is a matter that needs to be taken up not only by Government, but also by the Unions and NGOs, the ERG said.
“As on the issue of reproductive rights, we are presently studying options on this matter.”
“Let International Women’s Day 2018 not be an opportunity for lip service, but a point at which Gibraltar finally takes conscience on these questions,” the statement read.