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

Mar 08 2018

Kvinna till Kvinna launched this week a very interesting report: “Suffocating the movement – shrinking space for women’s rights”. Due to growing nationalism, extremism and traditional values, women’s rights organizations are now facing major setbacks in their ability to work for gender equality and peace.

Through different tactics and methods, state and non-state actors are limiting our rights to act and express ourselves. For women, who normally are excluded from the political arena, the civil society is a key arena to work for change.

Read more about what this is, how women are affected and why it is happening in the report which includes input from our region; Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Poland and more.

Download the report “Suffocating the movement – shrinking space for women’s rights”.

Link to webiste

Mar 01 2018

The 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council is taking place in Geneva from February 26th until March 23rd. See the full programme of work for HRC37 here.

Click here to read the summary of the anticipated sexual rights related resolutionspanels and reportsUPR outcomes, and parallel events taking place during the 37th session put together by the Sexual Rights Initative.

This session also marks the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 25th anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action. To mark this occasion a high level panel discussion on what can be done to make human rights popular again in times of increased populism and skepticism will take place on March 6th: Beyond jargon: Reframing our communication on human rights.

The United Nations Human Rights Deputy High Commissioner Kate Gilmore and Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Nils Muižnieks are among speaker, click here for details. Those who will not be in Geneva in person can watch the panel live on Facebook.

Source: UNHRC

Feb 27 2018

Civil society organisations in the European Union play a crucial role in promoting fundamental rights, but it has become harder for them to do so – due to both legal and practical restrictions. This report looks at the different types and patterns of challenges faced by civil society organisations working on human rights in the EU.

While challenges exist in all EU Member States, their exact nature and extent vary. Data and research on this issue – including comparative research – are generally lacking. The report also highlights promising practices that can counteract these worrying patterns.

Access the report by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights HERE

Source: FRA

Feb 15 2018

UN Women launched its flagship report, “Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. The report demonstrates through concrete evidence and data the pervasive nature of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, and puts forth actionable recommendations on how to fulfil the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Two and a half years after the adoption of the 2030 Agenda, this first-of-its-kind report examines through a gender lens the progress and challenges in the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Agenda’s focus on peace, equality and sustainability provides a powerful counter-narrative to the current rise of conflict, exclusion and environmental degradation. Yet, women are up against an unprecedented set of challenges in all these areas, and urgent action is needed to address them.

Feb 08 2018

The worsening state of SRHR in Poland has brought multiple reactions from international human rights bodies. Please below find here the most crucial observations and recommendations.


In a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Poland, the Commissioner refers to recent developments affecting the independence of the judiciary; women’s access to sexual and reproductive rights; the deteriorating  environment for NGOs active in the area of women’s rights and assistance to victims of domestic violence; and attacks against the independence and effectiveness of the Ombudsman.

Regarding women’s rights, the Commissioner regrets that new barriers are being created to hinder women’s access to comprehensive sexuality education, emergency contraception and abortion care. He urges the authorities to repeal any retrogressive laws and to reject any legislative or policy proposals which would weaken women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. Here the main fragment related to SRHR:

“Another issue which I regularly address in my country work and which is of direct relevance for Poland are women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights. In my 2016 report on Poland, I made a number of  recommendations regarding women’s access to sexuality education, contraception and safe and legal abortion care. My observations and recent exchanges with interlocutors in Poland left me with the impression that the situation in all these fields has worsened since the publication of my report. In particular, I have learned that the provision of comprehensive sexuality education that is respectful of relevant human rights standards is still not ensured. I have also been informed of the recent reintroduction of the requirement that all women obtain medical prescriptions for emergency contraception , abolishing previous policies that had allowed the purchase of some forms of emergency contraception over the counter in pharmacies. This is a move that goes against the recommendation I made to remove barriers in access to contraception for all women in Poland.


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