ASTRA Central and Eastern European Women’s Network for Sexual and Reproductive Rights and Health

Mar 27 2017

Feminist persistence pays off at UN Commission Status of Women, but challenges loom large in the changing world of work

Feminist activists have seen their hard work pay off as the UN 61st Commission on the Status of Women adopted a set of Agreed Conclusions that made significant commitments to advance women’s rights and economic empowerment in the changing world of work.

In response to feminists’ demands for gender-just strategies to confront the multiple impacts of climate change and related ecological damage, the Commission recognized the imperative of moving towards a just transition of the workforce toward low-carbon economies that deliver for women and the planet. “Now is the time for the strongest possible action toward a climate just planet, and this requires actions like a global moratorium on coal and keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, said Noelene Nabulivou of Diverse Voices and Action for Equality, Fiji. “This must be carried forward through a gender just and equitable and safe transition toward a low-carbon economy.” The Commission also called for gender-responsive strategies to increase women’s resilience to the economic impacts of climate change.  

Recognizing that women continue to shoulder the bulk of unpaid care and domestic work, the Commission established a blueprint for governments to reduce and redistribute this work through public services, labour and social protections, and affordable child and other care services. The Commission also urged governments to measure the value of unpaid care and domestic work through time use surveys, which will help measure progress towards the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

The Commission also recognized the role of trade unions, collective bargaining and social dialogue in addressing economic inequalities and the importance of strong, global labour standards that protect women’s rights in the world of work.

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Mar 23 2017

728 representatives of civil society have raised the issues of NGO access to the negotiations of 61st session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women as their access to the UNCSW has been subject to unprecedented attacks this year. Read the entire statement, also signed by ASTRA, here.

Mar 07 2017

The UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Karima Bennoune, told the Human Rights Council in Geneva: “We face a global avalanche of hate in the form of rising fundamentalism and extremism around the world. This must be tackled with urgency, using a human rights approach. Culture and cultural rights are critical components of this response”.

The Special Rapporteur is deeply concerned at the normalization of fundamentalist and extremist ideology and rhetoric in many political, cultural and media contexts, in diverse forms and in all regions of the world, and the increasing embrace they find in mainstream political parties and candidates.

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Mar 03 2017

On March 2nd the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Croatia reaffirmed the constitutionality of access to abortion.

The Constitutional Court decision rejected claims made by conservative groups and individuals that allowing women access to abortion on request was unconstitutional. In its decision, the court reaffirmed that women’s access to abortion is protected within their constitutional rights to liberty, personality, and privacy.

The Center for Reproductive Rights and the Center for Education, Counselling and Research submitted amicus briefs to the Constitutional Court that explain how international human rights law, comparative European law and international public health and clinical standards support women’s right to access safe and legal abortion.

“We welcome the Constitutional Court’s reaffirmation of Croatian women’s rights to access abortion services,” said Leah Hoctor, regional director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “Today’s ruling thwarts an attempt to rollback constitutional recognition of these rights. It is now essential that Croatian authorities ensure that future legislation also guarantees and respects these rights.”

“We are pleased that the Croatian Constitutional Court confirmed the constitutionality of women’s right to safe and legal abortion,” said Sanja Cesar, Program Manager at the Center for Education, Counselling and Research. “It is expected that under this Government ultraconservative forces will attempt to severely limit, if not outright prohibit, access to safe abortion. The Croatian authorities must not deviate from universal and regional human rights principles and standards that protect the sexual and reproductive rights of women.”

Croatian legislation, adopted in 1978, allows abortion on request within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and thereafter when a pregnancy is a result of a crime, if there is a risk to a woman’s health or life, and in cases of severe fetal impairments. The Court ruled that by allowing women’s access to abortion in these circumstances, the law gives effect to women’s constitutional rights to privacy, liberty, and personality and complied with international human rights law and comparative European law. As the 1978 law predated the current Croatian Constitution, the Court requested that the Croatian Parliament adopt new legislation within two years. 

Source: Center for Reproductive Rights

Mar 01 2017

On February 27, the Council of the EU adopted Conclusions on ‘EU Priorities at UN Human Rights Fora in 2017’. In these Conclusions, the Council says: “Recalling its Conclusions on Gender in Development of 26 May 2015, the Council remains committed to the promotion, protection and fulfilment of all human rights and to the full and effective implementation of the Beijing Platform for Action and the Programme of Action of the ICPD and the outcomes of their review conferences and remains committed to sexual and reproductive health and rights, in this context’.

This text will inform the EU’s position ahead of the 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council, which will run until March 24.

To access full text of Council conclusions click here.

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