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

Jul 13 2017

The 2017 High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (2017 HLPF) officially began on 10 July at the UN Headquarters in New York. It is the main UN platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda. In the opening speech, Mr. Wu Hongbo, Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressed that “Gender inequality continues to persist worldwide, depriving women and girls of their basic rights and opportunities” and pointed out that “To ensure that sustainable development is realized by all people and for all people everywhere, a revitalized and enhanced global partnership that brings together all stakeholders and mobilizes all available resources is needed”. 

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Jul 12 2017

The EU’s accession to the Istanbul Convention will provide a coherent European legal framework to prevent and combat violence against women and gender-based violence.

Women’s rights and Civil liberties MEPs welcome the signing of the EU accession of the Istanbul Convention on 13 June 2017  and make following recommendations: 

  • urge Member States to speed up negotiations on the ratification and implementation of the Istanbul Convention;
  • EP should be fully engaged in the monitoring process of the Istanbul Convention following the EU’s accession;
  • Member States should allocate adequate financial and human resources to prevent and combat violence against women and gender-based violence;
  • victims should be compensated, in particular those living in areas where the protection services to the victims do not exist or they are very limited;
  • appropriate training, procedures and guidelines for all professionals dealing with the victims of all acts of violence should be available;
  • promote a change in attitudes and behaviours;
  • combat sexism and stereotyped gender roles - promoting gender-neutral language and address the key role of media and advertising; 

The denial of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including safe and legal abortion, is a form of violence against women and girls, says the text. MEPs reiterate that women and girls must have control over their bodies. 

The Istanbul Convention ensures that culture, custom, religion, tradition or so-called “honour” cannot be a justification of any acts of violence against women. Committee MEPs call on Member States to adopt measures to address new forms of crime, including sex-extortion, grooming, voyeurism and revenge pornography, and protect victims, who experience serious trauma leading sometimes even to suicide. 

Finally, MEPs stress that the EU’s accession will bring better monitoring, interpretation and implementation of EU laws, programmes, funds and better data collection.

Source: European Parliament

Jul 10 2017

YouAct, in partnership with ASTRA Youth, PETRI-Sofia, Y-PEER, and YSAFE launched a project in 2016 aiming to develop a strategy on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), by youth, for youth. Their initiative was supported by Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation (EYF), UNFPA Eastern Europe and Central Asia Regional Office (UNFPA EECARO) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation European Network (IPPF EN).

The project’s overall aim was to develop a Joint Youth Strategy based on the input, experience, needs and ideas of young people in Council of Europe and Central Asia countries, which will serve as an advocacy and awareness raising tool on SRHR of young people on the national, regional, and international level.

As a product of this, the group is happy to officially launch the “Youth in Power” Strategy which you can find HERE.

Young people expressed their perspectives on the current gaps, challenges, and recommendations regarding the realization of SRHR for young people in the region through an online questionnaire filled out by over 1000 young people from all over Europe and Central Asia. Young representatives from over 15 countries gathered in Kiev, Ukraine in December 2016 to analyze the collected results and to develop a strategy based on the results obtained.

Are you interested in learning more about the strategy and exploring ways you can engage? Attend the webinar on July 24th were we will present the results of the project and discuss how it could be used as an advocacy tool! If you would like to receive more information feel free to contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Stay updated on our future work by following the group on Facebook

Jun 29 2017

Women’s rights are facing an alarming backlash in many parts of the world, and it is critically important to press on with further setting of standards on gender equality, a group of UN independent experts* has warned.

“The world is at a crossroads, with the very concept of gender equality being increasingly contested in some quarters,” said the experts.

“We feel it is time to reiterate the backlash against the progress which has been made in promoting and protecting women’s human rights. The polarization in the battle for rights is being demonstrated increasingly, and regressive positions have become a serious threat to the human rights legal framework.

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Jun 28 2017

The United Nations Human Rights Council held its thirty-fifth regular session from 6 to 23 June 2017 at the Palais des Nations in Geneva. During the three-week session, the Council heard the presentation of more than 80 thematic and country reports by more than 30 human rights experts and investigative bodies on a wide range of issues. It also held two panel discussions, its annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women, and its annual half-day thematic discussion on technical cooperation. UN Member States debated and passed resolutions on cross-cutting human rights issues and human rights situations in particular countries.

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