image image Follow Us:

Astra youth

Protest to encourage politicians to solve the problem of sexuality education in Lithuania

Lithuanian Centre for Human Rights and young activists lead the protest near the Lithuanian Ministry of Education and Science office. With this protest, the activists wanted to encourage politicians to solve the problem of sexuality education in Lithuania. They highlighted that HIV spreads rapidly among youth and teen girls get pregnant two times more often than girls in the Western Europe countries. The protest participants held the banners with messages: ‘Ignorance doesn’t protect from diseases’,   ‘I want to know about contraception’, ‘I want planned parenthood’.

As the data of the Statistical Department shows, there were 13,3 labours for 1000 teenagers in Lithuania. It also evidences that teenagers start their sexual lives at the average of 16-17 years old, but one out of five doesn’t use any contraception at all.

The photos from the protest are accessible here.

Source: FPSHA

UN adopts the resolution on youth, peace and security

United Nations Security Council has adopted unanimously the ground-breaking resolution on youth, peace and security in early December.

The resolution builds on five blocks: participation, protection, prevention, partnerships and disengagement and reintegration. It recognizes youth as important group able to contribute positively to prevention and resolution of conflicts as well as influencing maintenance and promotion of peace and security. The Council urges Member States to increase youth participation in decision-making processes at all levels and consider ways to develop mechanisms for prevention and conflict resolution. Facilitation of inclusive and enabling environment in which youth actors, local communities and non-governmental agents can be engaged to develop strategies to counteract violent extremist narrative is also addressed in the document. Member States are also urged to increase their political, financial, technical and logistical support which pays attention to young people’s needs and participation in peace efforts, conflict and post-conflict realities.

The resolution is accessible at UN website.

Source: UN

ASTRA Youth photo event for 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence


To mark ‪#‎16DaysofActivism‬ campaign, ASTRA Youth organized a social media photo event 'I have the right to...' to bring attention to SRHR of young people in the region.

ASTRA Youth members published their photos with messages calling for recognition of young people's right to CSE, access to SRH services, contraception and safe abortion. They also paid attention to the fact that limiting or banning the access to SRH services is a form of institutional violence.

On the occasion of Human Rights Day we want to remind: Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights!

All the photos can be viewed at ASTRA Youth Facebook page.

From MDGs to SDGs, WHO launches new report

WHO launched a new comprehensive analysis of global health trends since 2000 and an assessment of the challenges for the next 15 years.

"Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs" identifies the key drivers of progress in health under the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It lays out actions that countries and the international community should prioritize to achieve the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which come into effect on 1 January 2016.

The 17 SDGs are broader and more ambitious than the MDGs, presenting an agenda that is relevant to all people in all countries to ensure that "no one is left behind." The new agenda requires that all 3 dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental – are addressed in an integrated manner.

Access the report here:

"Health in 2015: from MDGs to SDGs"

Shelter From the Storm: A transformative agenda for women and girls in a crisis-prone world

State of World Population 2015

More than 100 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance - more than at any time since the end of the Second World War. Among those displaced by conflict or uprooted by disaster are an estimated 26 million women and adolescent girls in their childbearing years. The State of World Population 2015 is a call to action to meet their needs and protect their rights.

While remarkable progress has been achieved during the past decade protecting the health and rights of women and adolescent girls in humanitarian settings, the growth in need has outstripped the growth in funding and services. Yet, these services are of critical importance, especially for very young adolescent girls, who are the most vulnerable and least able to confront the many challenges they face, even in stable times.

Every day, 480 women and adolescent girls die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth in emergency situations and in fragile States. And gender-based violence continues to take a brutal toll, shattering lives and prospects for peace and recovery.

When women and girls can obtain sexual and reproductive health services, along with a variety of humanitarian programmes that deliberately tackle inequalities, the benefits of interventions grow exponentially and carry over from the acute phase of a crisis well into the future, as countries and communities rebuild and people reclaim their lives.

Investments in institutions and actions that build girls’ and women’s human capital and agency and in the resilience of communities and nations over the long run are needed so that when a new crisis strikes, disruption and dislocation may be minimized and recovery accelerated.

The surfeit of crisis and upheaval around the world today demands better economic and social development, better humanitarian action, better risk management, better attention to prevention, preparedness and resilience, and better connections among all of these. And running through them is a common thread: gender and all other forms of equality, achieved in part through full realization of sexual and reproductive health and rights, which will lead to far less vulnerability and much greater resilience for individuals and societies as a whole.

The distinction between humanitarian response and development today is a false one. Humanitarian action can lay the foundations for long-term development. Development that benefits all, enabling everyone to enjoy their rights, including reproductive rights, can help individuals, institutions and communities withstand crisis. It can also help accelerate recovery.

Related links:

SWOP 2015 launch page

Regional overview: Addressing the Needs of Women and Girls in Humanitarian Emergencies in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Regional feature story: When time won't wait: Meeting basic health needs for pregnant women on the move

Regional map: Interactive Map on Emergencies and Humanitarian Response and Preparedness to Provide SRH Services in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

Source: UNFPA

Macedonian youth activists at the SRHR seminar in Paris

From November 20th to 23rd youth activists from ASTRA Youth member organization, H.E.R.A. were involved in a seminar that took place in Paris, France. The theme of the seminar was to share experiences on resolving SRHR issues in Europe. The purpose of the project was to create a network between several organizations from Macedonia, France, Netherlands, Portugal, Greece and Cyprus. It was focused on discussing experiences of civil society in the field of SRHR. The meeting served also as an occasion to broaden youth activists’ perspectives on SRHR realities in other countries. H.E.R.A. activists presented the issue of law on abortion in Macedonia, the general condition of Macedonian society, government’s policies and H.E.R.A.’s activities. Other participants shared their experiences and provided some tips on how this ‘battle’ should be continued.

Source: H.E.R.A.

‘It’s about you’ campaign on abortion stigma in Macedonia

On the International Human Rights Day (10th December), the campaign ‘It’s about you’ was launched as part of H.E.R.A. Youth project ‘Abortion Stigma’.

The launch of the campaign was accompanied by a statement from the HERA Youth calling the Government and the Ministry of Health to take into consideration the concluding observations of the UN Human Rights Committee to review the law and stop the anti-abortion campaign. 

Young girls and activists developed four videos, in which they share their opinions on the situation in Macedonia. The first video was focused on the analysis of the effects of the anti-abortion campaign launched by the government. This campaign included spreading films with upsetting and shocking anti-abortion messages such as ‘Women who had an abortion are killers’ broadcasted on national TV. In the second video the activists were looking back at the protests that were organized against the restrictive changes on abortion law, as well as were discussing the proposed changes, how they affected and will affect women, and how they discriminate and stigmatize women. The third video depicted the analysis of the changes of law and limits in the access to abortion in Macedonia. Finally, in the last video girls of diverse ethnicities shared their opinion on abortion stigma and abortion.

The videos are available at YouTube here and here.


Trainings on CSE and social media in Macedonia

In November and December, H.E.R.A. has implemented two cycles of workshops on comprehensive sexuality education. The first workshop was organized with 15 volunteers and young people interested to volunteer in H.E.R.A. The second workshop was organized in the high school for 25 students, as a project activity conducted by H.E.R.A. Youth. The outcome of workshops was positive, as participants improved their knowledge and indicated changing opinions and attitudes, particularly regarding violence and relationships.

Moreover, H.E.R.A. Youth volunteers working in the radio show ‘Sexy Hood’ took part in two trainings on social media and visual marketing, so they could better promote ideas, opinions and values in the social media. In December, the shows ‘Sexy Hood’ tackled topics such as human rights and LGBTI rights, gender-based violence and how to eliminate violence against women as well as summary of 2015.

The radio show can be followed at Facebook fanpage.


New law banning early marriage in Georgia

Georgian Government considered the recommendation given by the CEDAW and Human Rights committee regarding the issue of early marriage and Georgia’s legislative body has approved an amendment and has provided a legislative proposal, which bans early marriage in the country. According to the draft of the law, parents will not have a right to allow minors to get married and only the court will be allowed to grant youth such permission. 
The amendment is going through the formal steps and after that the changes it will be reflected in the national civil code of Georgia. Association ‘HERA-XXI’ was involved in the advocacy on early marriage on the national as well as international levels and monitored the process of amendment’s development.

To bring public attention to early marriage and mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Georgian Women’s Movement organized an event ‘Don’t Make Her Marry’, which took place in 13 different cities of Georgia. HERA-XXI joined the event held in front of the government building.

Source: Association HERA-XXI

National consultations of young SRHR leaders on the 2030 Agenda in Poland

Global Youth Coalition on HIV/AIDS (Eastern Europe & Central Asia Region) along with International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA-Poland) and ASTRA Youth have organized a national consultation for Polish NGOs working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights, particularly young people and adolescents. The consultation were focused on bringing the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and SDGs from global to local levels, taking into account local opportunities and challenges the civil society faces. The consultation was held as part of ‘Have you seen my rights?’ campaign.

The meeting brought together ten civil society activists working for enhancement of sexual and reproductive health and rights in diverse fields: comprehensive sexuality education, rights of people with disabilities, rights of LGBTQ people and HIV/AIDS-related issues. The participants of the meeting had the occasion to acknowledge with 2030 Agenda and SDGs relevant to sexual and reproductive health, as well as European Parliaments’ reports and resolutions addressing SRHR. Participants have also discussed the strategies of transforming international frameworks into specific local actions and summed up the current realities regarding realization of SRHR in Poland. Consultations concluded with strategizing on potential future advocacy activities aiming to remind the government of their accountability to enhance sexual and reproductive health and rights of all, in particular young people.

Page 10 of 36