CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights 

No 1(45) 2006


table of contents:




UN CEDAW: At 37th Session of the Committee on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women reports from 15 countries will be examined, 15 January – 2 February 2007  Governments from the following countries will report to the CEDAW Committee: Austria, Azerbaijan, Colombia, Greece, India, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Namibia, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Peru, Poland, Suriname, Vietnam, and Tajikistan. In case of Poland, the government will report for the first time since 1991. The Polish government’s official report, comprising fourth, fifth and sixth periodical reports, covers the period from 1990 until 2002. Simultaneously, a shadow report has been submitted by Polish women’s NGOs to the CEDAW Committee. Polish Federation for Women and Family Planning coordinated the process of preparing the NGO report, which discusses a wide variety of issues. Most burning problems of Polish women have been identified, including violations of sexual and reproductive rights (restrictive anti-abortion law, limited access to modern contraceptives), domestic violence, trafficking in women and discrimination on the labour market. An electronic version of this report will be available online soon.

NGO shadow/alternative reports submitted to CEDAW Committee for its 37th session are available at:







CZECH REPUBLIC: Photo collection titled The World through the Eyes of Victims of Involuntary Sterilization is exhibited in the Chamber of Deputies in Praha. The exhibition which is an initiative of women harmed by forced sterilization was opened to the public on 11th December under the auspices of MP – Katerina Jacques. Previously the exposition was displayed in other two Czech cities: Brno and Ostrava. At present women choose to acquaint with their drama presented by artistic means politicians and decision-makers in the Chamber of Deputies in state’s capital, Praha. The cases of involuntary sterilization continue to be a burning problem in the Czech Republic. In August 2006 the country was urged by the UN Committee for the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) to fight illegal medical interventions and violations of women’s rights, particularly the government was recommended to enact law that would adequately criminalize instances of unwanted sterilizations.  


SERBIA: Human trafficking and Internet -- Serbian NGO Astra Anti-trafficking Action (http://www.astra.org.yu) presents new data polled in the innovative research      Based on the unique research, the publication “The Trafficking in Human Beings (Children) – A Look through the Internet Window” examines the link between Internet and recruitment of human trafficking victims. It gives a deep insight from multiple angles into this not very widely elaborated issue. This project is a starting point for further analysis of this problem and development of preventative measures. The publication also aims to draw attention of the main actors in this neglected problem. In the publication, reports form the surveys curried out in Serbia are to be found, but also those of more universal character, among others, the authors search for the answer of the following questions: “Are internet chat rooms safe places?” and “Is the link between victim recruitment in internet and trafficking an assumption or a burning problem?” Another advantage of this publication is an overview of European domestic anti-trafficking laws. Additionally, international legal framework is elaborated, including European Union’s regulations.

Electronic version of the report is available at: http://www.astra.org.yu/ 


International Fellowship Programme (IFP) for Eastern and Central European foundations and NGOs. This programme of the Robert Bosch Foundation and European Foundation Centre is developed to reinforce leaders in the third sector of CEE region and to improve and deepen cooperation between European Foundations and NGOs. The programme is also meant to foster the development of the civil society through strengthening activists from the non-profit sector. The prospective candidates for fellowship should come from the following countries: Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, or Ukraine.

More information available at: www.efc.be/ifpwww.efc.be/ipf 



EU 2007: A year of equal opportunities for all. Year 2007 has been designated as the European year of equal opportunities for all. Among raising European citizens’ awareness on the issue of equality, there will also be a campaign promoting opportunities that stem from diversity. The Commission has proposed this theme for 2007 because it recognizes still present in Europe problem of discrimination based on race or ethnic origin, religion or belief, age, gender, sexual orientation or disability. All 27 member states, including Bulgaria and Romania that joined the union this month, will be engaged in activities scheduled for 2007 to promote equal opportunities. Year 2007 might be also a chance for women to raise their voices and address women’s problems. There will be an awareness raising campaign on the European anti-discriminatory policies and legislation. The official launching of the 2007 European Year of Equal Opportunities will take place at the conference in Berlin at the end of January, chaired by the German Presidency.         

To learn about particular activities visit the following website: http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/equality2007/index_en.htm 


UN: Breakthrough statement on sexual orientation and gender identity. The statement was pronounced by Norway on behalf of 54 states in the United Nations Human Rights Council. The critical objective was to draw attention to the somehow forgotten and neglected issue of discrimination based on gender identity as well as to reinforce the concern of marginalization based on sexual orientation.  This statement has been supported by almost half a thousand of NGOs from 69 countries. This event coincides with the historic recognition of LGBT organizations at the United Nations: one of ILGA’s (International Lesbian and Gay Association) regions and two of its members are granted consultative status by the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).  

To read and watch the Norwegian statement please go to: http://www.ilga.org/news_results.asp?LanguageID=1&FileID=944&FileCategory=44&ZoneID=7    


Links between high birth rates, poverty, maternal and infants’ health: UK parliamentary group on Population, Development and Reproductive Health examines the issue. According to the UK parliamentary group, population growth jeopardizes the realization of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – gender equality, reduced child mortality and improved maternal health, among others. In order to make the MDGs come true we need to improve access to family planning services, as well as access to education, particularly for women – because   both lead to curbing population growth. Thus there is a real need of the recognition of the linkages between those intertwined factors: population growth, poverty, access to family planning. Beyond any shadow of a doubt, advocating for sexual and reproductive health and rights globally appears to be of great importance, however not commonly acknowledged.              

Source: BBC News 


Care services in the European Union: European Women’s Lobby (EWL) Petition. EWL recognizes that women around the world still face a challenge of reconciliation of family and professional lives. Household duties still appear to jeopardize women’s careers. Thus EWL acknowledges that the provision of care services is crucial for women’s empowerment and achieving gender equality. In its petition, the European Women’s Lobby urges the EU and national governments to adopt adequate measures in order to improve the accessibility of care services. Particularly, it calls for the achievement  of the childcare targets adopted during the Barcelona Council.

To sign the petition, please go to: http://www.womenlobby.org/site/form_3.asp 


She changes the world: MamaCash has launched 88 days campaign. This is a follow up of the last year’s campaign and will last until 8th March 2007 (International Women’s Day). There are three main objectives of the campaign: to raise money, to raise awareness and to raise women’s voices in order to make them heard all around the world.

Join the campaign: http://88days.mamacash.org/









http://www.athenanetwork.org/   ATHENA Network: Advancing Gender Equity and Human Rights in global response to HIV/AIDS. The mission of this organization is the common recognition of the need for the advancement of women’s and girls’ human rights in policies/programmes developed to fight HIV/AIDS. ATHENA has the following priorities to deal with: access to comprehensive sexuality education for women and girls, supportive work with marginalized groups such as sex workers and substance users, resistance to anti-prostitution pledges, harm-reduction strategies, and reproductive choices for women affected by and living with HIV/AIDS. ATHENA works under the Barcelona Bill of Rights, that designates the link between women and girls and HIV/AIDS.

The organization is a member of Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR).             



Sexuality Policy Watch (SPW)  launches its new website. Established in 2002 International Working Group on Sexuality and Social Policy (IWGSSP) after changing its name into Sexuality Policy Watch, presents its new website, where constantly updated information is to be found. A wide variety of visual materials, including short films presenting interviews with authorities in the field will be available soon.

Sexuality Policy Watch is a forum for researchers and SRHR activists from all over the world. The SWP has two main objectives: to contribute to sexuality related global policy debates through strategic policy-oriented research and analysis projects, and to promote more effective linkages between local, regional and global initiatives.

For more reading go to: http://www.sxpolitics.org           







WHO Report Opportunities for Africa’s Newborns. Practical data, policy and programmatic support for newborn care in Africa. The Africa region registers the highest rate of infant mortality in the world. It is estimated that approximately 1.6 million newborns die every year and no significant decrease in these numbers has recently been recorded. At the same time, at least 700 women die of pregnancy–related causes. Most infant deaths can be attributed to poor maternal health. Additionally, there are three other factors identified as main mortality causes, namely: infections, prematurity and asphyxia. World Health Organization reports on gaps in health care system and reviews current programmes related to newborn health. Section II of the publication elaborates on care for maternal, infant and child health and how those issues are intertwined. Section III deals, among others, with the problem of mother-to-child HIV transmission.   

Full text of the report available at: http://www.who.int/pmnch/media/publications/oanfullreport.pdf



World Disasters Report 2006 Focus on neglected crisis – Discrimination against Women recognized as burning issue. International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent issued its fourteenth annual report that covers the period 2005-2006, in which neglected crises and  tragedies that unfortunately have not drawn media and donors attention are depicted. Among such a disasters as hunger in Malawi or drowned migrants’ boats struggling to reach Europe, unsafe motherhood and discrimination against women are identified as burning issues. In Nepal every one and half hour, a women dies in childbirth. That amounts to over 5,000 women a year. No adequate actions addressing this tragedy have been developed, although they are urgently needed.

Chapter VI of this report elaborates how gender-based inequalities scale up women’s vulnerability to additional suffering during disasters – limited access to aid, for example.

Report available at: http://www.ifrc.org/publicat/wdr2006/index.asp?navid=09_03



New issue of Reproductive Health Matters. It is a women-centered journal devoted to reproductive health and rights. What’s inside? Extensive coverage on condoms, safer sex, non-abstinence based HIV prevention and a great variety of articles describing the situation in different regions of the world.  

Check it up at: http://www1.elsevier.com/homepage/sab/womenshealth/doc/journals/rhm.html



Special report on Poland in the last issue of Conscience Magazine. Barbara Crossette provides a deep insight into the Polish situation, and elaborates on how growing conservative forces impact sexual and reproductive health and rights. The problem is presented from different angles, including the unique position of the Roman Catholic Church in Poland and current political situation.       

Article is available at: http://www.catholicsforchoice.org/cEuropeanSupplement_Specialreportonpoland.asp