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

Jan 16 2017

The UN Committee on the Rights of the Child issued its new General Comment on Adolescents which includes very progressive and strong language on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of adolescents. Among other advancements, the new general comment:

  • Recognizes that states should remove parental authorization requirements for SRH info and services (para. 60)
  • Urges states to consider introducing a presumption of capacity for adolescents seeking preventative and time-sensitive SRH commodities and services (para. 39)
  • Urges states to decriminalize abortion to ensure that girls have access to safe abortion and post-abortion services, review legislation with a view to guaranteeing the best interests of pregnant adolescents and ensure that pregnant adolescents’ views are always heard and respected in abortion-related decisions (para. 60)
  • Recognizes that the voluntary and informed consent of the adolescent should be obtained whether or not the consent of a parent or guardian is required for any medical treatment or procedure (para. 39)
  • Calls on states to take into account the need to balance protection and evolving capacities in defining the legal age for sexual consent and avoid criminalizing adolescents of similar ages for factually consensual and non-exploitative sexual activity (para. 40)
  • Calls for age-appropriate, comprehensive and inclusive sexual and reproductive health education, based on scientific evidence and human rights standards and developed with adolescents to be  part of the mandatory school curriculum and reach out-of-school adolescents (para. 61)

Read the full text of the General Comment here.

Jan 10 2017

Brussels, 10th January 2017 // European Youth advocates concerned by recent developments in Poland call on the European Parliament to act now to monitor legislative developments and increasing restrictions to sexual and reproductive rights and services across Europe.

Recent developments in Poland have served to highlight the precarious state of women’s health and rights in Europe with rising political support for increased restrictions to women’s reproductive health such as access to contraceptives and abortion services. We are alarmed by statements being made by senior Polish government officials about the intention of the Polish government to withdraw from the Council of Europe Convention “Istanbul Convention” on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence.

Driven by their commitment to human rights and concerns over increased restrictions to reproductive health and services; youth advocates from ASTRA, ASTRA Youth, YouAct and CHOICE for Youth & Sexuality will be meeting with MEPs and policy-makers on Wednesday 11th and Thursday 12th January to demand a stronger European parliamentary response to increasingly regressive legislation in Poland and throughout Europe.

Jan 10 2017

The Ministry of Justice has prepared a project concerning Poland’s withdrawal from the Instanbul Convention. It went on to be negotiated between ministries. That information was received on January 3rd by the Advocate for Citizens' Rights, Adam Bodnar from the Prime Minister’s Office. In a December interview Prime Minister Beata Szydło assured that the government was not working on a withdrawal. Deputy Minister of Justice Łukasz Piebiak stated in December: “There is no government position that would aim to withdraw the Instanbul Convention, which does not imply that the members of the government do not debate it.”

Jan 09 2017

In 2016 The Polish Federation of Saving Life Movements submitted a petition aiming to alter the current law on family planning and termination of pregnancies (the so called “anti-abortion law”). The petition introduces a total ban on abortion – anyone who is found guilty of causing death of a conceived child will face a three year prison sentence (women will not be punished for illegal procedures).

The Sejm Petition Committee will debate in the morning on Thursday, January 12th whether this petition is recommended for further works. The ruling Law and Justice party already claimed, possibly one of the consequences of the vast protests last autumn, that they are not open for discussing such “difficult matters”.

The Sejm Bureau of Research issued a very negative opinion of the proposal.

Source: Federation for Women and Family Planning

Jan 02 2017

Sexual and reproductive rights are fundamental human rights that are already recognized in international, regional and national legal frameworks, standards and agreements. Persons with disabilities must be able to enjoy all sexual and reproductive rights guaranteed by international legal instruments and national policies. By ratifying the UN human rights conventions, especially the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Republic of Moldova has assumed the responsibility to ensure their enactment and guarantee the observance of the rights of people with disability – including sexual and reproductive rights.


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