Civil Society Declaration: Rights must be at the centre of the Family Planning Summit


Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women'...

Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women’s Sexual Fantasies (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

CALL FOR ENDORSEMENT

 

Amnesty International, Center for Reproductive Rights,  Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN),  International Women’s Health Coalition and RESURJ have prepared a statement *Rights must be at the centre of the Family Planning Summit *in advance of the DFID/Gates Family Planning Summit which will be held in London on 11 July 2012.

 

We would like to invite you or your organization to endorse this statement (at bottom of this email), which will be presented to the organisers prior to the Summit.

 

To endorse this statement, please send the following information to CRR’s Kate Meyer (kmeyer@reprorights.org).

 

Name of organization or individual (please specify which):

Country:

Name and email of contact person:

 

Please also circulate this statement to your contacts and networks. The deadline for endorsements is Monday, 11 June 2012.

 

* We will circulate the statement again after endorsements have been received.

 

——————–

 

Rights must be at the centre of the Family Planning Summit: Civil Society Declaration

 

We, civil society organizations working to promote women’s and young people’s human rights, call on world leaders on the eve of the “Family Planning Summit”, hosted by the UK Government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights are at the centre of all efforts to meet reproductive health needs, including family planning.

 

Contraceptive information and services – “family planning” – form an essential part of the health services that women need throughout their lives. Any steps to increase demand for contraceptives must actively support efforts to improve comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health. Contraceptives must be provided through primary healthcare, with full regard for women’s human rights and the specific needs of young and unmarried women and other groups.

 

Our experience, built over decades of work around the world, has taught us that the failure to take actions guided by women’s human rights – to health, to life, to live free from discrimination among others – can have devastating consequences. Policies that accept or tacitly condone forced sterilization, the coercive provision of contraceptives, and the denial of essential services to the young, poor and marginalized women that need them every day have violated, and continue to violate, women’s human rights.

 

Nearly twenty years ago, governments at the International Conference on Population and Development agreed that respect for women’s reproductive autonomy is the cornerstone of population policy. Any return to coercive family planning programs where quality of care and informed consent are ignored would be both shocking and retrograde. The Family Planning Summit must ensure that the clocks are not put back on women’s rights: women’s autonomy and agency to decide freely on matters related to sexual and reproductive health without any discrimination, coercion or violence must be protected under all circumstances.

 

In order to expand contraceptive access with full respect for women’s human rights, we urge governments, donors and other actors supporting the Family Planning Summit to:

 

·           Take all possible measures to ensure that this initiative is designed with quality of care and human rights at its core, so that no coercive measures are introduced in the provision of contraceptives;

 

·           Ensure that meaningful participation by women, including young women, is built into all stages of program design and implementation to ensure that services are responsive to their needs and to prevent any human rights violations;

 

·           Ensure that the provision of contraceptives is integrated into existing and new sexual and reproductive health services, and that a full range of contraceptive methods is offered;

 

·           Design and implement a system for monitoring, evaluation and accountability to track and measure its impact on the rights of women as this initiative is rolled out, and urgently make necessary corrections should violations come to light;

 

·           Commit to tackling the existing legal and policy barriers that hinder access to contraceptive information and services, without which efforts are likely to be ineffective and exacerbate disparities in access.

 

In 2012, nothing less will do.

 

Endorsed by:

Center for Reproductive Rights

Amnesty International

Development Alternatives With Women for a New Era, DAWN

International Women’s Health Coalition

RESURJ

A Victory for Young People at the United Nations


From April 23 to April 27, 2012, the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) met at the United Nations in New York City. The CPD is an annual week-long meeting at the UN where advocates and members states gather to create a resolution document that upholds the Programme of Action created at the International Conference on Population Development (ICPD) in 1994. Since the theme of this year’s CPD was Adolescents and Youth, a main focus of the negotiations was ensuring the sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRRH) for young people. Prior to the CPD, IWHC held an intensive multi-day Advocacy in Practice (AiP) workshop to help support participants advocating for SRRH at the national and international levels (pictured left).

International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC) and our advocate colleagues, including members of RESURJ, are very excited that late Friday, UN member states issued a bold resolution in support of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and human rights. This victory is a result of a week of very long days: hard work and strategic advocacy was put forth by an amazing group of advocates, who camped out at the UN here in New York for many long hours, going over language, making suggestions, and working with country delegates to make much-needed changes in the resolution.

Key points of the final resolution include:

  1. The right of young people to decide on all matters related to their sexuality
  2. Access to sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion where legal, that respect confidentiality and do not discriminate
  3. The right of youth to comprehensive sexuality education
  4. Protection and promotion of young people’s right to control their sexuality free from violence, discrimination and coercion“At this time of global uncertainty, there is no more important investment to be made,” said south African youth delegate Kgomotso Papo during the closing plenary. “Only healthy young people whose human rights are protected can be fully productive workers and effective participants in their country’s political processes. Only when young people are healthy and empowered can they contribute to building strong communities and vibrant nations.

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