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

May 24 2017

MEPs of the EP Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality visited Poland from 22 - 24 May.

MEPs observed the situation of women’s rights in the country with a special focus on the implementation of the Istanbul convention and victims of violence, sexual and reproductive rights and women’s economic empowerment.

The delegation composed of Maria ARENA (S&D, Belgium), Malin BJÖRK (GUE/NGL, Sweden), Terry REINTKE (Greens, Germany) and Daniela AIUTO (EFDD, Italy) met with representatives of the civil socjety, among these was ASTRA Network and the Federation for Women and Family Planning, Polish authorities, Deputies and Senators, academics, human rights professionals and service providers in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the situation on women's rights in Poland.

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May 22 2017

The mission of the EU Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality will visit Warsaw in order to observe the situation of women’s rights in Poland. It will focus on the application of the Istanbul convention, the state of victims of violence, sexual and reproductive rights and women’s economic empowerment in Poland. Composed by Ms Maria Arena (S&D, Belgium) (Head of Mission), Ms Malin Björk (GUE/NGL, Sweden), Ms Terry Reintke (Greens/EFA, Germany), Ms Daniela Aiuto (EFDD, Italy) and Ms Jadwiga Wiśniewska (ECR, Poland), the delegation is planning to meet government representatives, civil society, among them ASTRA Network Coordinator and Federation for Women and Family Planning Excecutive Director and other independent equality experts.

The mission will visit Poland from May 22nd to 24th.

Source: FEMM Nesletter

May 21 2017

Croatian’s Platform for women’s reproductive rights organized a series of actions in order to highlight the real intension of the so-called “March for life”

Zagreb, Croatia: Platform for women's reproductive rights warns that the so-called "March for life" is a political gathering that has nothing to do with the preservation of life but has an agenda to restrict abortion accessibility and to make it illegal. In other words, to take away a women's right to decide if she wants to, when and with whom to have children. 

Activists that are defending women's right to abortion have organised a series of actions along the route of the so-called "March for life" in the capital of Croatia, Zagreb, as well on the buildings on the main square in which the "March for life" took place. All actions were organised in order to highlight the real intentions of the gatherings and warned that this is a walk on women and their rights.

With a transparent that said "March for life is attacking women" that was being carried in front of the "March for life", non-violent sit-in action of women in front of the "March" that got them arrested, transparent "Church and the state in a war against women" and "March for life is attacking women" on two buildings that are facing the main square, the activists have sent out a message that they will not let women's rights be eliminated. 

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May 11 2017

On 11 May 2017, the Council adopted two decisions on the signing of the Council of Europe Convention (Istanbul Convention) on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence. 

By deciding to join the Istanbul Convention, the European Union confirms its commitment  to combating violence against women within its territory and globally, and strengthens the  existing legal framework and its capacity to act. 

Helena Dalli, minister for Social Dialogue, Consumer Affairs and Civil Liberties of Malta said : "Violence against women is a violation of human rights and an extreme form of discrimination. By joining the Istanbul convention, the EU reaffirms its leading role in ending violence against women and tackling all forms of discrimination based on gender. This is yet another achievement that will surely have a positive effect on those who are vulnerable to gender-based violence." 

All EU member states have already signed the Convention. Having the EU join the Convention as well will ensure complementarity between the national and EU level and will consolidate the capacity for the EU to play a more effective role in international fora such as the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (GREVIO). 

The decision on signing is the first step in the process of the EU joining the Convention. Following the official signing,  accession requires the adoption of the decisions on the conclusion of the Convention. These decisions will need the consent of the Parliament.

Source: European Council

May 04 2017

The Great Coalition for Equality and Choice, consisting of over 70 non-governmental organizations, was established as a reaction to the offensive of anti-women groups. Among them these threatening actions are regular draft regulations directly attacking the life and health of women, restricting access to emergency contraception, frightening doctors in their work places, the shocking anti-abortion campaigns, the fight against comprehensive sexuality education, as well as the systemic weakening of the protection of women against domestic violence. These actions call for active and organized resistance of the civil society and all actors.  

The Coalition’s goal is the comprehensive fight for women’s human rights: quick threat identification, coordination of legal activities, and building social awareness. The group demand sexuality education, good standards of perinatal care, the fullness of reproductive rights, and the total elimination of violence against women. The coming weeks will shape the actions of the Coalition.

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