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

Aug 14 2015

The finalised and agreed Post 2015 outcome document on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is now available online on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Aug 14 2015

The finalised and agreed Post 2015 outcome document on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda is now available online on the Sustainable Development Knowledge Platform.

Aug 06 2015

The final intergovernmental negotiations on the post-2015 development agenda took place in New York July 20-31, 2015 culminating in the adoption of Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by 193 Member States on Sunday evening, August 2 after long and arduous negotiations. Representatives of regional SRHR networks from around the world, together with UNFPA, advocated tirelessly at these negotiations to ensure that the post-2015 agenda guarantees human rights, particularly the SRHR of all people everywhere; brings gender equality to the forefront; recognizes young people’s role as key agents of change; and includes the active participation of civil society in shaping global development, both at country and global levels. 

The informal consultations were led by Member States with the broad and active participation of Major Groups and civil society stakeholders, such as ASTRA and partners within the SRHR Campaign launched together with UNFPA, the Youth Leadership Working Group (with ASTRA Youth as its member) and the Civil Society Platform to Promote SRHR Beyond 2015 (ASTRA is member of its Coordinator Committee). The impact of civil society advocacy was recognized by the co-facilitators and several Member States, and Amina Mohammed, the Secretary-General’s special advisor on post-2015, thanked civil society for their engagement and particularly recognized CSOs’ technical inputs, indicating a clear mandate for our continued engagement in the process. Statements made by Major Groups and other Stakeholders, including by SRHR Campaign members can be found here here.

The outcome document from this informal process will serve as the basis for the agreement to be formally adopted at the United Nations Summit to adopt the post-2015 development agenda in September 25-27.

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Jul 28 2015

The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW Committee) has called on the Croatian government to take concrete steps to improve the quality of care provided to pregnant women during child birth. It also called on Croatia to ensure women can access reproductive health services in practice, including legal abortion, regardless of health professionals’ personal objections.

In its concluding observations, the CEDAW Committee urged Croatia to guarantee that women’s rights and autonomy and informed consent requirements are upheld during childbirth. It further recommended that Croatia ensure that health professionals’ refusals to provide services on grounds of  conscience not be allowed to impede women’s effective access to reproductive health care services, especially abortion.

The Center for Reproductive Rights, the Center for Education, Counselling and Research (CESI) and Parents in Action (RODA), made a joint submission to the CEDAW Committee regarding the failure of the Croatian government to ensure women have access to quality reproductive health services, including abortion services and modern contraceptives. The submission also addressed serious concerns about the treatment of pregnant women during childbirth in Croatian hospitals including deficits in ensuring full and informed consent to medical interventions during childbirth as well as frequent disrespectful and abusive treatment of women by medical professionals.

“Croatian women have a right to receive quality reproductive health services, but instead they face abuse, disrespectful care, and a range of obstacles to critical services, said Leah Hoctor, regional director for Europe at the Center for Reproductive Rights. “The government of Croatia must take effective steps to ensure pregnant women giving birth receive medical care that respects their needs and wishes.”

Abortion in Croatia is legal within the first 10 weeks of pregnancy and thereafter under limited circumstances, including when the pregnancy is a result of a crime, if the pregnancy put a woman’s health or life at risk and in cases of severe fetal impairments. However, women are facing increasing difficulties in accessing legal abortion services in practice. According to 2014 research by the Gender Equality Ombudsperson, more than half of gynecologists in Croatia do not provide legal abortion services due to their personal objections.

The joint submission to the CEDAW Committee also included findings from RODA’s 2015 Survey on Experiences in Maternity Services that reported a large number of pregnant women being subjected to procedures that can be harmful to their physical and mental health, including 54 percent of women alleging that health professionals applied heavy pressure to their abdomens to speed up the delivery, a procedure not supported by medical evidence.

Source: Center for Reproductive Rights

Jul 15 2015

GLOBAL NGOS URGE U.N. HUMAN RIGHTS COMMITTEE TO REAFFIRM THE RIGHT TO LIFE BEGINS AT BIRTH

More than 50 NGOs are calling upon the U.N. Human Rights Committee (U.N. HRC) to reinforce and elaborate on the measures states must take to guarantee women’s right to life on the basis of equality and nondiscrimination, including by eradicating preventable maternal mortalities and morbidities and guaranteeing access to safe and legal abortion.

A broad coalition of human rights organizations, spearheaded by the Center for Reproductive Rights, submitted a joint statement during the U.N. HRC’s consultation on the right to life urging the committee to continue to protect women’s health and lives by calling on states to eradicate preventable maternal deaths, ensure access to modern contraceptives and expand access to safe and legal abortion.   

During the consultation, groups seeking to undermine women’s reproductive rights urged the U.N. HRC to contradict well-established international human rights law recognizing that the right to life begins at birth and expand the scope of when life begins. This could compel women to carry to term pregnancies that jeopardize their health and lives, and undermine women’s reproductive autonomy and equality.

Said Rebecca Brown, director of Global Advocacy at the Center for Reproductive Rights: “Close to 300,000 women around the world needlessly die each year because of governments’ failure to provide quality, comprehensive reproductive health care.

“Efforts to undermine women’s rights and access to essential services are an outright attack on their lives.

“The U.N. Human Rights Committee is a champion for women’s fundamental human rights, and we are confident the committee will do everything in its power to protect the well-being of women worldwide by rejecting efforts to deny access to critical health services.”

In the joint statement to the U.N. HRC, the Center and coalition partners address the ways that women’s health and lives continue to be jeopardized as a result of persistent discrimination which manifests in preventable maternal mortalities and morbidities, lack of reproductive health information, inadequate access to modern contraception and restrictive abortion laws. Specifically, the statement calls on the committee to reaffirm that the right to life provision in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights begins at birth and must not be invoked to jeopardize women’s fundamental human rights. 

International human rights law has long-established that the right to life begins at birth, and any other approach would be in direct contradiction and violation of reproductive rights. However, states continue to violate their human rights obligations and put women’s lives and health in grave danger in the name of protecting a fetusEl Salvador denied a 22-year-old pregnant woman from accessing abortion services even though she was pregnant with a non-viable fetus and suffering from complications related to lupus and kidney disease.

The Center has led some of the most important advances in reproductive rights worldwide. In 2008, the U.N. HRC ruled in the Center’s case of KL v. Peru that the denial of abortion services to an adolescent carrying a non-viable fetus constituted a violation of her rights to privacy and freedom from cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, among other rights. At the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Center secured a historic victory stemming from the preventable maternal death of a young Brazilian woman who was denied quality maternal health services—the first time an international human rights decision named a maternal death a human rights violation.

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