Discussing this with a parent helps them understand the goal is to help them succeed and to enable the child to stay with the parent without further court or CPS involvement. She has left him and wants to keep her location a secret from him. She is terrified what will happen if he is contacted. Response: Address the issue with the judicial officer. Fostering Connections provides that no notice is required in family or domestic violence situations.
There should be some documented proof of domestic violence or at least a history of such provided under oath by the mother. It is not clear if the court can waive the requirement to locate and notify the other paternal relatives. Without such a court waiver, the agency must exercise due diligence to locate the father and his family. It must ensure the parent who has been victimized is protected. Below are recommendations:. Children have a right to have their biological and emotional relationships maintained and enhanced.
These relationships allow a child to develop resiliency and to work through and overcome the trauma they have experienced. These relationships help the child survive maltreatment and develop into a healthy successful adult. Incorporating a family-finding process early can thwart unnecessary losses for children. It also lets children maintain their natural support systems, rather than dismantling them, only to seek rebuilding in the future.
Rose Marie Wentz has worked in the child welfare field for 35 years. She provides training and consulting on various child welfare topics. She has worked with agency and staff in over 65 counties and state agencies. Beck, Kelly, et al. Furstenberg, F. Xiangming Fang et al. Avery, Rosemary. See, e. Wessler, Seth Freed. Illinois Adoption Act, Beck, K. The Geneva Convention of Masten, Ann S. Best, and Norman Garmezy. Search ABA. Close Search Submit Clear. How will children who are in care without a permanent family relationship or a sense of permanent belonging ever learn or re-learn to build these relationships in the future?
How will they begin to trust others when they believe the people whom they have loved or relied upon have left them? Will they ever be able to be part of a permanent family again? Overcoming Obstacles The professionals who support the child and parents often are overburdened by many responsibilities, lack resources, and face dwindling budgets and loss of staff.
Probation or Dually Adjudicated Youth Question: I am working with a year-old child who will be in custody until she is Extending Foster Care Age Question: Our state has just extended foster care until a youth is 21 years old, provided children meet certain criteria. Immigration Question: A child was placed in care after his parents were arrested. Family outside the U. Absent Father Question 1: The child does not want a relationship with his father.
Disrupted Adoption Question: The child was adopted as an infant. Response: There are several things you can do: Have an informal discussion with the social worker and ask why? Ask for permission to follow up with those family members or other adults, then do so. Raise the issue at monthly stakeholder meetings. If no stakeholder meetings are conducted, arrange one and invite representatives from all involved organizations.
Alternatively, set up a brown-bag training session so all are familiar with the goals of family finding, the legal requirements, and roles and responsibilities. Request an interim review hearing, or file a motion to set one. Cite Fostering Connections research, recommended best practice, and your attempts to have the social worker follow up. Make a record in court, reports, or pleadings of the individuals you have located and your attempts to follow up with the social worker.
Response: Take these steps: Set a stakeholder meeting. Include the judicial officer. Discuss training and funding available through the Fostering Connections grants. Provide research and articles showing poor outcomes for children who are not connected to family and lack a sense of belonging. Collaborate with child welfare agency staff and discuss permanency outcome data with the judicial officer.
Resistant Youth Question: How can I get my teenage clients to open up and discuss permanency, family, and important connections? Discuss who is missing from the map. With whom does the child want to reconnect?
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Ask if they want to find out how big their family really is? Perform a Mobility Mapping exercise with the youth. Sometimes riding in the car or talking on the phone is an opportunity to start or continue the conversation. Discuss loyalty issues with the child. Does the child feel that choosing a permanency option like adoption means being disloyal to his birth family? Is he curious whether adoption means changing his name, or if he will ever see his birth family members again if he is adopted? Retraumatizing Children Question: I think talking about his family and past will revictimize the child and he should stay with the foster parents who can keep him safe.
Sibling Contact Question 1: Many children have complex family relationships with siblings with different parents, or siblings with whom they have never lived. Resistant Parent Question: I represent the mother and she wants to reunify. Below are recommendations: Follow up to determine the facts of the abuse and intimate partner violence. Assume the parent is a victim of intimate partner violence unless there is clear evidence there was no physical, financial, or emotional violence.
Ensure all parties know about the intimate partner violence and that everyone seeks to ensure the safety of the parent who has been victimized, including keeping information about that parent confidential. Copies of court orders and agency case plans shared with the batterer should not identify when or where visits with the parent victim and the children will occur.
Court practices in family law-related intimate partner violence cases should be used for any dependency hearings. The batterer parent should arrive first and leave last. If you don't know your card issuer's number, contact Mastercard and we will assist you in finding that information. Contact us. A: Contactless acceptance is an excellent choice for any merchant, especially in environments where speed and convenience are valued or where cash is currently the dominant payment method. Examples include fast food outlets, supermarkets, quick-service restaurants, drive-thrus, convenience stores, vending machines, tollbooths, taxis, parking venues, fuel pumps and public transportation.
A: Yes, Mastercard contactless transactions are processed through the same financial payments network that processes billions of Mastercard magnetic stripe and chip card transaction each year. Even if the customer happens to tap twice by mistake, the technology ensures that consumer is bill once. To accept contactless payments, merchants can choose to implement a plug-in peripheral reader or a fully integrated POS or Stand-alone POS system.
A: For transactions up-to the country established contactless cardholder verification limit, no PIN or signature is required for cards and form factors. For purchases above this limit, PIN code or signature is required. For a purchase conducted with a mobile phone, the consumer will normally authenticate themselves on the mobile device with a Mobile PIN, biometric or pattern recognition. Many merchants display POS signage highlighting contactless acceptance as well.
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When paying with a mobile phone, your customer normally authenticate themselves on the mobile device with a PIN, biometric or pattern recognition. Click here to visit our Currency Conversion Tool. A: We recommend that you contact the financial institution that issued your card to determine the currency conversion charges that are applied to foreign transactions. Typically, there is a customer service number on the back of each card. Mastercard investigates all complaints of deceptive merchant practices.
A: The best place to get foreign currency is usually at your destination, not at home. Think about it, whether it is your bank or a foreign exchange bureau, they have to get the foreign currency to your home country. That costs money in terms of transporting, securing, storing… you get the picture. Those costs are passed on to you. ATMs are conveniently located at most airports and at major tourist destinations, as well as many other places.
A: Get foreign currency at your destination at an ATM, not an exchange bureau. Although getting money at an ATM may include fees, those fees generally do not add up to more when compared to the favorable exchange rates you often get from ATMs. A: Use a credit card to withdraw currency from an ATM only if it is your only option because using a credit card at an ATM is considered a cash advance, which:.
The best practice is to let the currency conversion be done by your home bank and decline the currency conversion option. A: Be sure to tell your bank you will be traveling cross-border and where you are going. Your bank might decline the transaction for your protection unless they know the card has been authorized for use in countries other than your home country. It introduces new and enhanced data protection requirements for companies.
Learn more about the GDPR here. A: It's easy to get started. The first step is to contact an acquirer or a payment services provider to apply for a merchant account with a bank or one of its agents. A: If your question is not listed, your best option is to contact the financial institution that issued your card as only they have your account-specific information. Typically, there is a customer service number for your financial institution on the back of each card that you can call. A: If you already have a deposit account with a bank or credit union, you might want to contact them first to see if they can provide you with a Mastercard.
A: A payment facilitator is a merchant of record who facilitates transactions on behalf of a sub-merchant. A: Also referred to as a merchant bank, an acquirer is a financial institution that is licensed by Mastercard to help a merchant accept Mastercard payments. Acquirers either sell their processing services directly to merchants or hire agents to sell on their behalf.
These agents must be registered with Mastercard and clearly identify the Mastercard issuing bank that they represent on their business cards and stationery. The merchant agreement should also clearly identify the name of the bank. A: Interchange rates are fees paid by acquirers to card issuers on purchase transactions conducted on payment cards.
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They are only one of many cost components included in a Merchant Discount Rate. Mastercard establishes its interchange rates, which are a necessary and efficient method by which Mastercard maintains a vibrant payments network. Learn more about Mastercard interchange rates. A: Contact your acquirer or payment facilitator if you have a question related to your terminals. Please do not include full card numbers in email; provide only the first 6-digits of the card number.
We will respond to your inquiry within 72 hours. Please also be advised that Mastercard does not maintain accounts or establish individual customer relationships with cardholders. While banks ad financial institutions do issue cards branded with the Mastercard name and mark under a license from Mastercard, the actual relationship with a cardholder is solely that of the issuing institution.
As a result, any account information is maintained by the bank or financial institution that issues the Mastercard card, and it is the bank or financial institution that also provides periodic statements, disclosures and communications to the cardholder. You may also order decals from the Brand Center. A: A Mastercard representative will be able to assist you in filing a lost or stolen card report.
You should also contact the financial institution that issued your Mastercard. A: If Mastercard Zero Liability protection applies to your Mastercard, once you report your card to Mastercard as lost or stolen, no unauthorized charges should be posted to your account in most situations. We recommend that you review the next two billing statements after you report a lost or stolen card to ensure that no unauthorized transactions have been posted. If you see unauthorized transactions, please promptly contact the financial institution that issued your card.
Typically, there is a customer service number for your financial institution listed on the back of the card or on your billing statement. Replacement cards require that your financial institution authorizes a new account number. Call to speak with a representative regarding:. You can also search for locations by entering an address in the search field. Select a location to display information, share the location via e-mail or text and, depending on your location, get driving directions.
You can also report a problem about a location from the app. You can also search for participating Mastercard contactless and cash back merchants by merchant name or category including:. If Location Services is not turned on, you can still search for a location by typing a street address into the Search bar. If you do not receive any results in a particular country or region, the information is currently not available. We are continually working with financial institutions and merchants around the world to expand our location database and provide you with the most up to date and accurate location information.
Street level mapping refers to geographic regions where location coordinates can be provided to street level precision. In countries where street level mapping is not yet available, location coordinates are provided at the city or postal code center. A: We are unable to provide driving directions in regions that do not have street level mapping capability.
To access it from within the app, go to About - View Tutorial. If you wish to view only a single service at a time, use the top slider bar to move to a single service. You may also want to modify your radius in your settings to ensure you don't have too small or too large of a radius selected. You can send location information via email or SMS text. A: Select ATM from the top slider bar and click the filter icon on the bottom bar. Then select the financial institution you want to search for from the drop-down list.
Select cash back or contactless from the top slider bar and click the filter icon on the bottom bar. You can filter by merchant name or category. Select the report a problem icon. Select a pre-defined problem from the drop-down list or select other and enter a description of the problem. A: Mastercard Send is a first-of-its-kind interoperable global platform that enables funds to be sent quickly and securely via three payment flows:. Additionally, there is a Remittance API that can be used for providers looking to enable cross-border payments originating in the United States.
A: In the U. Currently, the methods for these payments are slow, lack ubiquity and create security concerns. Consumers want to be able to send and receive money using their connected devices regardless of where they bank and disbursers are looking for cheaper and more efficient ways to send money to their consumers.
In line with Mastercard's vision to build a World Beyond Cash, Mastercard Send aims to make payments easier, safer and more efficient for all parties. A: While most electronic P2P and Disbursements' solutions rely on slow, batch-oriented ACH methods, the Mastercard Send solution leverages debit networks to move funds, typically within seconds. Mastercard Send is unique: funds can be transferred to virtually all debit cards in the U. Through a set of APIs, a service provider can request a transfer through a sending acquirer, which Mastercard then routes to any U.
A: Currently, the service is only available for U. However, the MoneySend mandate includes all consumer cards: debit, credit and prepaid. Mastercard recommends that issuers support all cards when migrating to Transaction Code 28 to prepare for future service enhancements. In this role, issuers are required to post funds to their cardholders' accounts. Once an issuer has complied with the MoneySend mandate to enable Transaction Code 28, they will be eligible to start collecting these fees. For more information on the mandate, see Global Operations Bulletin No. A: An issuer could offer P2P payment services by leveraging the Mastercard Send API to allow their cardholders to send and receive payments with their friends and family.
While Mastercard Send is a critical part of a P2P program, interested issuers should consider the other necessary implementation measures and development requirements. These considerations should include: customer acquisition costs, receiver management requirements for users without accounts at a bank, the necessary user interfaces for a standalone or integrated mobile application, among other considerations. A: Mastercard Send is the first-of-its-kind interoperable global platform that enables funds to be sent quickly and securely. In the U. MoneySend is the Mastercard transaction type Transaction Code 28 designed for real-time money transfers by issuers connected to the Mastercard network.
They are available at participating stores and online. A: Activation and registration requirements vary, so check your card packaging for detailed instructions. To take advantage of the reload function and card benefits such as zero liability or card replacement, you will need to register your card. A: When you're ready to make a purchase, give the cashier your card or, if asked, swipe your card at the terminal.
The purchase amount will automatically be deducted from the card balance. A: You can use your Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card anywhere that Debit Mastercard is accepted - that's millions of locations worldwide from retail stores to online, mail and phone orders. You can also use your card to pay bills online. A: Yes, just tell the cashier in advance how much to deduct from your prepaid card and how much you will pay using an alternate payment method.
Note that this process, known as "split tender," may not be supported by all merchants. A: When you make a return, the cashier may ask to see your card. The value of the returned merchandise will be credited back to the card. A: If you registered your Mastercard Everyday Prepaid Card, your issuer can use the information you provided during registration to issue a replacement card. Be sure to keep a record of the card number.
Contact the issuer of your card immediately to report the lost or stolen card. Certain exceptions apply. Take your card's direct deposit information to your employer to have your paycheck automatically put on your card each payday. Direct deposit information varies, so check your card packaging or contact the card issuer. You can also add money to your card at participating retail locations. Check your card packaging or contact the card issuer to find out which retailers are supported.
A: Mastercard Prepaid Gift Cards are available at bank branches and retail locations, as well as online and via phone. There are many card styles to choose from, some of which can be customized with unique designs, the recipient's name and personal messages. It's easy to find the prepaid gift card that's right for you. A: Check your gift card, the receipt or related packaging for any specific activation instructions. Many Mastercard Prepaid Gift Cards sold in retail locations are automatically activated when the card is purchased. Call the customer service number on the back of the card if you have questions about how to activate the card.
For online and telephone purchases, you may need to register your card with the card issuer. A: When you're ready to make your purchase, give the cashier your card or, if asked, swipe your card. A: You can use your Mastercard Prepaid Gift Card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted - that's millions of locations worldwide from retail stores to online, mail and phone orders.
The value of the returned merchandise will be credited back to your card. A: Prepaid travel cards work just like all Mastercard prepaid cards, which means you can spend up to the value placed on the card anywhere Debit Mastercard is accepted. You can shop in stores, online or over the phone. As you make purchases with the card, funds are immediately deducted from the available card balance. You can continue to use your card until the card balance has been depleted or until the expiration date shown on the card.
You might want to check your card balance before you shop since the merchant or service provider may not be able to retrieve this information for you. A: Depending on your card, you may be able to check your balance on the issuer's Web site. Certain merchants will also have the ability to read your card's balance for you. A: Contact the issuer of your card immediately to report a lost or stolen card. There is a customer service number listed on the back of the card. Be sure to keep a record of the Mastercard Travel Card number.
Your issuer may need this information to cancel the card and issue a replacement.
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If you registered your Mastercard Travel prepaid card, it may provide Zero Liability protection. A: The Mastercard rePower Load Network is a service from Mastercard that allows you to add money your eligible Mastercard prepaid card at participating merchants. Some retailers support the card swipe method, which enables you to add funds in-store by asking the cashier to swipe your card. Western Union locations will ask you to fill out a form and an agent will load the money onto your card. Type in a city and state, or a zip code to search the thousands of retail locations for the one nearest you.
You can further narrow down the list by providing a street address or a merchant's name. Retailers who support both card swipe and MoneyPak will have "Both". A: Reloadable Mastercard or Maestro prepaid cards are the only cards that can be loaded using the Mastercard rePower load network. You can find out if your card is eligible by looking for the Mastercard rePower logo on the back of your card or by contacting your card issuer. A: You can get your balance by following the instructions provided with your card.
Generally, this includes either visiting the card issuer's Web site or by calling the phone number on the back of the card. A: Retailers may charge reload fees. Please refer to the fees section and also check with your local participating retailer for the most up-to-date information. A: When processing a purchase transaction, we collect limited information such as the payment card number, the merchant name, merchant location and the date and amount of the transaction.
We may collect additional personal information in other contexts, such as for fraud monitoring and prevention, authentication, risk management and dispute resolution, or when individuals decide to participate in one of our optional programs such as Priceless Cities. A: We help businesses, governments, the public sector and individuals better understand the world around them. To achieve this, we remove personal information by anonymizing data and produce aggregated trends and insights. One way that we use these trends and insights is for social good, thereby advancing financial inclusion and humanitarian efforts around the globe.
A: Transparency is core to Mastercard. As a service provider, we refer individuals to the privacy notice provided by those third parties for more information on how their personal information is handled. A: We do not share transaction data without consent or as otherwise legally permitted such as in the context of fraud prevention. For instance, we will soon make our online portal available globally, so that individuals everywhere will be able to access, correct, modify or move their personal information.
A: We believe that personal information is just that — personal. And, we take great care to ensure it stays that way. We embed privacy safeguards into the design and creation of all our products and services. In addition, we employ rigorous standards to ensure the safety and security of data not only within Mastercard, but with all our partners and vendors as well. A: We provide individuals with privacy rights and choices. You can opt out of your personal information being used for marketing , data analytics and web analytics at any time and at no cost, using our online forms.
Individuals also have the right to access, correct, modify or move their personal information via our online portal , which is currently available for all users located in the European Union and will shortly be accessible worldwide. Merchants are not permitted to require a Mastercard cardholder to pay a minimum amount for a Debit Mastercard or Mastercard prepaid card transaction.
A: As a result of a court-approved settlement, Mastercard agreed to modify its rules to permit U. Merchants have the option to add a surcharge at the "brand level" where the surcharge is the same for all Mastercard credit cards, regardless of the card's issuer, or they can add a surcharge at the "product level" e. Click here for the details. A merchant's ability to surcharge on credit cards is subject to any restrictions or prohibitions imposed by applicable state law. Mastercard rules continue to prohibit merchants from applying a surcharge on debit cards.
The outbreak had a huge impact on the economies of affected countries. The United Nations Development Programme has estimated that in economic growth in Guinea declined from 4. In Liberia, for example, women comprise 85 per cent of daily market traders. Closure of schools in response to Ebola has disrupted the education of girls, already lagging behind that of boys, 50 while school closure has also been associated with an increase in adolescent pregnancies.
It has been estimated that an additional 4, women will die annually in childbirth in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone as a result of the Ebola-related deaths of health-care workers in these countries. In all these ways, women and girls have been at disproportionate risk from Ebola. They have also been central to the recovery efforts. While it is unclear whether this temporary ban on and reluctance to carry out FGM will endure, there is a renewed focus on how to advance the anti-FGM movement on the back of the Ebola outbreak.
But was this foreseeable? The potential link between the Zika virus and microcephaly is particularly alarming for pregnant women in affected areas.
Governments in Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Jamaica have all recommended that women delay becoming pregnant until more is known about the mosquito-borne virus. Recommendations that women avoid or delay pregnancy, practise safe sex or abstain from sex during pregnancy all assume that women in affected regions have high levels of reproductive freedom and self-determination. Yet the high rate of unintended pregnancies in these regions suggests the contrary, 65 indicating a lack of official understanding of the pre-existing conditions of structural gender inequality in these situations.
In Brazil, for example, a public health adviser could point out that 79 per cent of women use contraceptives. The Guttmacher Institute has estimated that there were 4. For example, even in a country where there are restrictive abortion laws, such as Brazil, women of higher education and socio-economic status are more likely to gain access to safe abortion. In Brazil, for example, [it is no coincidence that] the epidemic is concentrated among young women of color living in the least developed areas of the country. Therefore, in a public health emergency, where a virus like Ebola and Zika can be spread by sexual relations, attention to the location and equality of the women and girls affected by the disease outbreak is vital to ensure that advice on containment and treatment compensates for the limited choices likely to be available to this population.
In the three countries affected by the Ebola outbreak, the extent of disease morbidity and mortality in general prior to the Ebola outbreak reveals the complexity of health-care provision in an environment where health inequality is high in both communicable and non-communicable diseases. In Guinea, the leading causes of premature death are malaria, lower respiratory infection, and neo-natal pre-term birth data. The highest risk factors, in terms of disability adjusted life years, are child and maternal malnutrition, air pollution and unsafe sex.
Child and maternal malnutrition, unsafe water and poor sanitation, and air pollution remain leading causes of death and disability. Compounding these indicators of poor health in the Ebola outbreak was the lack of access for women to the health-care services necessary to support their own and their children's health. To what extent could the relationship between gender, health and women's access to health-care services have been determined at the point of the crisis? The OECD Social Institutions and Gender Index SIGI is a composite measure of each country's gender inequality score, drawn from five sub-indices restricted physical integrity, discriminatory family code, bias in favour of sons, restricted resources and assets, and restricted civil liberties that provide a broad snapshot of the economic, political and social status of women in each country.
The countries measured are ranked in five categories from very low inequality to very high. In Guinea, for example, approximately 92 per cent of women have experienced domestic violence, and 95 per cent have been subjected to FGM. In Sierra Leone, despite the recent introduction of rather progressive legislation to prevent violence against women, including banning FGM and outlawing early marriage, the low social and economic status of many girls and women continues to render them vulnerable to these practices.
Women in Liberia have access to free contraceptives, and the take-up is reported to be quite high; however, the reported use of contraceptives is quite low. In Brazil and Colombia, the two countries most affected by the Zika outbreak at the time of writing, the picture for gender inequalities is markedly different to countries most affected by Ebola in west Africa. Yet, like the African countries discussed above, the sub-index scores that make up the overall SIGI score reveal gender inequalities that may hinder access to treatment and care for particular segments of the population.
Given that most of the population groups affected by Zika are of lower socio-economic status, and that levels of access and inequality differ markedly across the rural-urban divide, these scores indicate a clear need to prioritize differentiated levels of access and support. In recent months this point has been noted in relation to Zika by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who has said that upholding the human rights of women is an essential element of an effective response to the outbreak. Had lessons been learnt from the Ebola outbreak to enable the differentiated gender experience of a public health emergency to be better addressed?
We were also interested to know how the social conditions of the women affected by Zika have been researched with a view to better understanding the relationship between infection and gender. Given the association between risk of infection and social vulnerability to this disease for women in particular, it is disappointing to see so little discussion about engaging with the gendered social conditions that have led to the vulnerability of women and their children to this disease.
As the Zika outbreak is still under way, however, it may be too soon to judge the direction of research. We therefore decided to explore the status of contemporary research on the role of human rights and gender in the case of the Ebola outbreak in west Africa. Of the 4, articles published on Ebola in Scopus during this period, examined Ebola and human rights; 14 examined gender relations in the context of the Ebola outbreak; and one paper examined the relationship between human rights, gender relations and the outbreak.
Overall, then, less than 1 per cent of published research papers on the recent Ebola and Zika public health emergencies have explored the gendered impact and implications of these outbreaks. During the Ebola and Zika outbreaks a range of social and economic conditions have affected women's options and their ability to control their bodies. The complex emergency created by the Ebola outbreak fuelled health inequalities that women were already experiencing as a result of their status in each of the three worst-affected countries. A similar situation is occurring today in Zika-affected populations in South America.
In other words, there was enough evidence to indicate that women and children would be rendered particularly vulnerable to an infectious disease and that it would exacerbate already existing health inequalities for these vulnerable groups. One lesson from the Ebola outbreak in west Africa, and now the Zika outbreak, is that renewed priority needs to be given to human rights-focused approaches in addressing prevailing health vulnerabilities in post-conflict countries and situations where a PHEIC has been declared under the IHR.
In both the Ebola and Zika cases, the populations most vulnerable to the consequences of these infections, women in particular, were rendered particularly susceptible by a combination of poverty and pervasive gender inequalities. Prioritizing health as a human right is essential not only in addressing future public health emergencies, but also if the Sustainable Development Goals SDGs are to be met by Below, we focus on one particular way to align health and human rights that has been relatively underappreciated to date: the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health.
The WHO's constitution states that health is a universal right. The replacement of the Commission in by the Human Rights Council reaffirmed the appointment of the Special Rapporteur, whose mandate is to provide an annual report to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly on investigation and discussion of general trends related to the right to health; country visits and reports on specific countries; and investigation and advice on alleged cases of violations of the right to health. Significantly, two of the targets essential to meet Goal 3 Health are Target 3. The intervention of the Special Rapporteurs was well placed in highlighting the relationship between the social institutions vital to deliver these services and equitable access for both sexes and all genders.
We are not arguing that Special Rapporteurs have powers that are independent of the control and influence of the Human Rights Council, nor are we presuming that Special Rapporteurs are well-funded, empowered agents who are invulnerable to the politics and diminished resources of the United Nations. This intervention, we contend, illustrates the particular importance of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health's engagement with the SDGs to begin articulating what steps states must take, including tracking progress, to realize the specific rights that improve the health quality of women and identify the relationship between gender inequality and health—as permitted in the Special Rapporteur's mandate.
The relationship between the specific aspects ofwomen's rights and the universal aspect of human rights has often been complex. As Charlesworth has noted: The universality of application of human rights is indeed their most radical feature. To suggest there is a special category ofwomen's human rights may undermine the claim of universality by fracturing the field.
At the same time, it has provided a powerful political platform for women to draw attention to continuing areas of inequality. The human rights focus onwomen's health is important. First, the Special Rapporteur could provide a thematic report on states' responsibility to facilitate gender-equitable health care.
The timing of such a report now would significantly add to its impact, as the Ebola and Zika outbreaks provide an important opportunity to examine the lessons that need to be learnt from the complex relationship between health care, gender equality and governance. Second, the Special Rapporteur should be permitted by the Human Rights Council to prioritize country visits to the countries affected by Ebola and Zika. These visits would have a threefold purpose: i they would provide important cases for piloting the implementation of the thematic report on gender-equitable health care while serving as a direct assistance tool to these affected countries; ii they would entail engagement with a variety of actors whose voices and experiences may not have received as much attention as those of governments, including health-care workers, civilians and civil society groups affected by the Ebola and Zika crises; and iii the Ebola and Zika outbreaks provide an important but underexplored lesson on gender relations.
For example, investigating the reduction in FGM in Sierra Leone and the impact of Ebola on the availability of obstetric and neo-natal care could inform better understanding of the relationship between a crisis, the introduction of legislation to protect women's physical integrity, and the distribution of services to protect and address women's health-care needs and rights. Specific reference to sexual and reproductive health has been included as one of the five attributes of physical and mental health under the Special Rapporteur's framework.
As such, these country visits would serve to focus not just on states' performance in implementing legal provisions concerning human rights, but also on the formulation of indicators to identify what legislative and service provision targets must be addressed to support a gender-equitable right to health. This assessment framework would require tracing states' legal ratification of rights as well as their efforts to provide—in this case—the policy, economic and social initiatives necessary to ensure women can access and use health care.
Third and finally, the Ebola outbreak in particular reveals that donor investment cannot be adequately matched to the need of the target health system without factoring in the equity and stability of service provision across urban and rural locations. The Ebola outbreak was particularly devastating because health systems in the countries affected were already fragile, weakened by decades of political instability and conflict. A rights-based indicator model permits more discussion about the performance of states in meeting their population's needs, and also provides the opportunity to have more discussions about the responsibilities of donor states for ensuring that they support countries that are particularly vulnerable after conflict, disasters and other emergencies.
Realization of the SDGs will come about not only through efforts made at domestic level to improve gender-equitable health care, but also through donor states' fulfilling their obligations to assist others in meeting the SDGs. In advocating strengthened engagement of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health, we are calling for WHO and future IHR Emergency Committees to incorporate in their meetings and advice the findings of the Special Rapporteur on the gender-related aspects of public health emergencies.
As the report of the UN Secretary-General's High-level Panel on Responses to Global Health Crises pointed out, women faced disproportionate exposure to the Ebola virus through their care-giving roles and their roles in burial practices; the virus placed pregnant women at risk of death or loss of the pregnancy; and women were also more likely to be affected by the negative broader socio-economic impacts of Ebola. The emergency posed by the Zika virus has prompted much-needed discussion about the sexual and reproductive rights of women in Latin America.
Addressing the legal barriers to reproductive freedom is necessary and essential, yet in complex health emergencies more advice must be directed towards predicting the likely constraints onwomen's right to exercise their choice and rights arising from pre-existing social and economic disadvantage.