CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights 

No 8 (30) 2005


table of contents:



BURNING ISSUE - 2005 World Summit 


In this Burning Issues will provide you with diversity of information related to upcoming September Millennium Summit + 5 which is expected to be the largest gathering of world leaders in history. 

2005 Word Summit Updated 

Ø       At the final preparatory conference before September's Millennium Summit +5 UN agencies and some countries took an opportunist to lobby for reproductive health and rights to be linked to the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). The outcome of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) meetings, which took place between June 29 and July 27, is very important in this context, since this UN body will be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the MDGs. An outcome of the ECOSOC meetings will be a Ministerial Declaration which will be presented to the participants at the Millennium Summit +5 where future strategies to achieve the MDGs will be decided on. At the ECOSOS meetings the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) distributed a new report "Reducing Poverty and Achieving the MDGs: Arguments for Investing in Reproductive Health & Rights". The report argues that reproductive health care and sexual and reproductive health services (including abortion) are necessary to eliminate poverty and hunger, and to effectively fight HIV/AIDS.

Source: Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute www.c-fam.org 

Ø       A strong NGO representation from most regions participated in informal hearings attended by NGOs, civil society and the private sector which were part of the preparation for the September Summit. Governments listened to the recommendations from NGOs including those emphasizing the need to guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights. Participants of the Freedom from Want session emphasized that ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive health services, information, and education, and protecting sexual and reproductive rights are crucial for achieving the MDGs. They also addressed HIV including ensuring sexual and reproductive rights of people living with HIV/AIDS.

Ø       On July 15th, the World Association for Sexual Health adopted the Montreal Declaration: "Sexual Health for the Millennium." The declaration aims to influence governments, international agencies and others to recognize the contribution of sexual health to the health and wellbeing of individuals and societies and to integrate sexual health into strategies to achieve the MDGs. Full text of the declaration http://www.montrealsexo.com/en/PressRelease.pdf

Ø       On July 18th, the European Union General Affairs and External Relations Council adopted Council Conclusions on the 2005 World Summit. It repaeated their commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights and recognizes that the MDGs cannot be achieved without reaching the Cairo goal of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights. Summary of the Conclusions http://europa-eu-un.org/articles/cs/article_4929_cs.htm   

Source (above three points): Millennium Development Goals and Sexual and Reproductive Health E-Bulletin







Cervical Cancer Prevention. Women in Easter Europe and Newly Independent States, and especially the poorest women, suffer disproportionately from cervical cancer. Annually 85% of new cases and deaths occur in these countries, where cervical cancer is the number one cause of cancer-related deaths among women. High rates result from a lack of adequate screening services and treatment for precancerous lesions. Cervical cancer prevention by screening for and treating precancerous lesions is an effective public health strategy. Well organized Pap smear programs have significantly reduced the extent of disease in developed countries, but it is not the case yet in the EE/NIS region. The Alliance for Cervical Cancer Prevention (www.alliance-cxca.org) is currently conducting research to gather evidence on the impact of VIA and VILI screenings’ impact on the disease. The results will be available in 2007. Efforts are under way throughout the EE/NIS region to strengthen existing prevention activities. A 2004 meeting in Albania brought together representatives from nongovernmental agencies and health ministries from Eastern and Central Europe and the NIS to share lessons learned and receive information on cervical cancer prevention strategies. The meeting was organized by the Open Society Institute (OSI) and PATH, in collaboration with the Open Society Foundation for Albania and the Open Society Fund Lithuania. Conference materials in English and Russian are posted on OSI seminar’s website at http://health.osf.lt/en/seminars


Poland: Gay activist fined. President of Poland’s Campaign Against Homophobia, Robert Biedroń was fined for offending Catholics District Court for insulting Roman Catholics. Biedroń intends to appeal against this decision. He has been fined for his comment on the words of Dorota Ekes, activist of a Catholic organization "Stowarzyszenie Rodzina Polska (Polish Family Association)" who referred to homosexuality as an illness (“If somebody bears this illness, they should be aware in advance that they will be forbidden to perform certain activities, which particularly concerns a function of a teacher who educates our children and shapes their consciences, and in a sense also their social ideas" – she said in one of the catholic daily. Biedron stated that "(Her words) mirror in full the fascist-nationalist-Catholic character of the witch-hunt against homosexuals". The sentence in Biedroń's case was reached by the ordering procedure, without a process, at a closed session. For two years now Campaign Against Homophobia has been involved in legal action against Dorota Ekes, Polish Family Association's representative on family matters. But the court proceedings were discontinued by the decision of the District Court. Appeal was filed against the decision for discontinuation.
More information: Robert Biedroń, e-mail: biedron@kampania.org.pl


Russia: Discrimination of HIV-positive women and children. According to Human Rights Watch Report HIV-positive women and children in Russia often face discrimination and abuse, even from health care professionals. They are stigmatized everywhere including school, work, medical services and even their own homes. Many HIV-positive women experience verbal abuse from health care providers and some are refused treatment. HIV-positive children which are abandoned at birth are segregated in orphanages and hospital from others because people are scared of coming into contact with them. The Human Rights Watch criticized the Russian government for failing to protect HIV-positive women and children and not addressing the epidemic in the country sufficiently. Full report is available at:



Ukraine: ads for birth control and feminine hygiene. At the end of June Ukrainian churches called on authorities to restrict advertising of birth control and feminine hygiene, stating that such advertisements in the mass media were "insulting to social morality." At the same time churches called for restrictions of advertisement of alcohol and tobacco and forbidding consumption of alcohol and smoking in public places. A representative of Ukraine's Greco-Catholic Church said that a school course on Christian ethics in public schools would help decrease alcohol and tobacco use.

Source: Push Journal





G-8: Disappointing. The outcome of the G-8 meeting attended by Canada, Italy, France, Germany, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States that took place in Gleneagles, Scotland was disappointing as far as Sexual and Reproductive Health is concerned. One positive aspect of the meeting was that G-8 members recognized the importance of education in reducing the spread of infectious diseases as well as providing better care to women and children. Still the G-8 outcome does not place enough emphasis on recognizing and protecting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of Africa’s women, men and youth.
Source: Millennium Development Goals and Sexual and Reproductive Health e-Bulletin

Male pill. Men are often viewed as too selfish to take the main responsibility for contraception while women are viewed as too unwilling to give up control over reproductive matters. If this is true the introduction of male pill will not be effective. But two companies: Schering and Organon think that changing patterns of behavior mean there is a market for their product. Schering, which is based in Berlin, is already a specialist in female contraception, it introduced the pill in the 1960s. Schering/Organon contraceptive drug for men is called "the male pill", but it is actually a combined implant and injection. Phase II trials are expected to conclude soon, Phase III trials will take place later this year. If they are successful, the product could be on sale by 2008-2009. If it was successful, “the male pill” could shift more of the burden of responsibility for contraception from women to men, and through this lead to form of a social revolution, similar to this caused by the pill in the 1960s. The companies believe that the possible side effects are not worse than those facing women on the pill.

Source: Push Journal


China: women and HIV/AIDS. The proportion of women infected with HIV to the total in China has risen from 19.4 percent in 2000 to 28.1 percent in March 2005. Women's affairs leader says social and family status inequality leads to this situation. Illegal blood sales and sexual transmission are the two major ways women get infected with HIV. The sexual transmission includes infection by HIV-infected husbands who refuse to wear condoms. Chairman of the United Nations Theme Group on HIV/AIDS and representative of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), said one way to address this problem is to bring China's family planning and AIDS programs closer. The UN Population Fund (UNFPA) and National Population and Family Planning Commission (NPFPC) are carrying out HIV/AIDS prevention programs in eight provinces or autonomous regions in China. Full text:  http://news.xinhuanet.com
Source: China View


UK: Abortion in Northern Ireland. UK: Abortion in Northern Ireland. A number of UK MPs in Westminster have called for a change in the abortion law in Northern Ireland. The 1967 Abortion Act legalized the pregnancy termination in England and Wales, but not in Northern Ireland, where abortion is strictly limited. Abortion in the province is only allowed when the pregnant woman’s life is in danger or when there is a serious long-term threat to her mental or physical health.
Full story: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/1/hi/northern_ireland/4698347.stm







Reproductive Rights and disability. There are threats to the sexual rights of people with disabilities. Paradoxically, these threats are arising as a consequence United Nations discussion on a new Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. The Convention is a proposed international treaty that would prevent discrimination and protect the basic rights of people with disabilities including full right for people with disabilities to experience their sexuality and have sexual relationships. Conservative forces want to limit those rights to sexual experience within a “legitimate marriage”. Further, others proposed to permit national law, tradition or culture to impact sexual freedoms of people with disabilities. This would be particularly disadvantage lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender disabled people, which is those whose sexualities are in conflict with legal, social or cultural norms of particular countries.

More info http://www.worldenable.net/rights


Ireland: ban on the leaflet. Catholic Bishops asked Church centers not to distribute a government leaflet for pregnant women addressing abortion. More information: http://www.righttodecide.org//newsletter/article.html?editie=61&entry=760da9f00dab987a

Source: Right to Decide








Seminar: "Abortion, Contraception and Women's Health". An international seminar of FIAPAC in collaboration with the Russian Society of Obstetrics and Ginecology and the Research Centre of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Perinatology titled "Abortion, Contraception and Women's Health" will take place in Moscow on October 27/28, 2005.

The program, registration form and further details are available website of FIAPAC, www.fiapac.org Participants from Russian Federation and Eastern European countries please register with the local organizing committee interotdel@mail.ru


AWID: 10th International Forum. AWID’s 10th International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development “How does change happen’ will take place in Bangkok, Thailand from 27th to 30th October 2005. Up to two thousand activists, academics, policy makers, founders, students, researchers and practitioners working for women's rights and gender-sensitive development will meet to discuss the urgent question, How does change happen? The meeting will consist of plenary sessions, general sessions and issue based sessions. HIV/AIDS, sexuality, sexual and reproductive rights (including the right to decide and abortion) will be one of the topics addressed during issue based sessions.

Registration deadline: 15th August 2005.

Registration closes October 14, 2005.

More info: www.awid.org/forum


Women and HIV/AIDS in CEE seminar. ASTRA Network is organizing - together with OSI - a seminar: "Women and HIV/AIDS in CEE: Bringing different Communities Together to Advance Common Goals". The seminar will take place on 11-12 November 2005 in Warsaw. The main objectives of the seminar agenda are: to gain a better understanding of the AIDs pandemic in CEE and specifically its impact on women; to foster collaboration and information sharing from different communities working to address the AIDS pandemic in CEE (HIV/AIDS Service providers, Reproductive Rights advocates, Sex Worker advocates, etc.); to offer "next step" recommendations to the research, advocacy and service provision communities on steps forward in best addressing and preventing the AIDS pandemic in the CEE, particularly for women and high-risk populations.

More information: Aleksandra Solik, e-mail: federa@astra.org.pl







Publication: Misoprostol. PATH has published an issue of Outlook, titled "Misoprostol Use in Gynecology and Obstetrics." It provides evidence-based information on the emerging use of misoprostol in obstetrics and gynecology. It describes current research, regulatory issues, availability, and administration, as well as misoprostol's use during labor and delivery for labor induction and for prevention and treatment of postpartum hemorrhage. An electronic version of the issue is available on the PATH website http://www.path.org/publications/pub.php?id=1005 ). PATH has a limited. For printed copies write to outlook@path.org).


Newsletter. The third edition of PATH's EC and Beyond newsletter. The newsletters focus on emergency contraception and reproductive health topics of interest to readers in Eastern Europe and the Newly Independent States. The content of the newsletters is based in part on the Emergency Contraception Newsletter published twice a year by the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception (ICEC) and the American Society for Emergency Contraception (ASEC). To receive this newsletter or to be added to the email distribution list please write to ecnetwork@path.org





Reproductive Health Matters. “Reproductive Health Matters” is seeking submissions of papers for its May 2006 edition which will focus on the following theme: Human resources and sexual and reproductive health care services. Submission date: 1 September 2005. More information including “Author and Submission Guidelines’ which have to be followed can be found on the RHM website: www.rhmjournal.org.uk