CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights 

No 9 (53) 2007


table of contents:







Astra Youth’s participation in All Different, All Equal Campaign at the 55th session of the European Youth Parliament, Bialystok, Poland, 31st of July. Astra Youth representatives from Poland in cooperation with Ponton, Polish group of peer educators working under the auspices of the Federation for Women and Family Planning (www.ponton.org.pl) participated in the event linked to All Different, All Equal campaign that promotes Diversity, Human Rights and Participation. It was developed jointly by the Council of Europe, European Commission and the European Youth Forum to reinforce the fight against racism, anti-Semitism, Xenophobia, Intolerance and other forms of discrimination. Forty-two member states of the Council of Europe participate in the campaign. Poland did not join it because the country did not establish the National Campaign Committee. In this context it is especially significant that the campaign did take place in Poland, Bialystok. It was organized by the European Youth Parliament (EYP) at its 55th International session. Astra Youth had been invited to attend the event called EYP ALL DIFFERENT-ALL EQUAL Olympics that was based on content-related quizzes, NGOs stands and presentation of a film recommended by Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights followed by a theme-related Panel Debate. During the Olympics, Astra Youth presented its currently being carried out YES campaign, and spread their educational materials to the participants. The event was attended by over 250 young parliamentarians from more than 30 countries. Astra Youth’s and Ponton’s activities met with great interest from the youth and their participation appeared to be a big success. It turned out that young people care about sexual and reproductive health and rights although they are not entirely familiar with the issue which suggests that awareness-raising efforts need to be reinforced and the youth’s participation empowered. Thus Astra Youth is looking forward to cooperating more closely with EYP in the future.

More information on the All Different, All Equal initiative is available at:


To learn more about the 55th session of the European Youth Parliament go to: http://bliss07.com




CROATIA: Predictors of consistent condom use among young people. The aim of the recently conducted research was to examine the link between HIV/AIDS related knowledge, attitudes on sexuality, sexual behaviour and the condom use. The sample was representative. It included 1093 of Croatians aged 18-24. The participants were interviewed and filled put structured questionnaires. Consistently with the results of previous studies, it turned out that reliable knowledge on HIV/AIDS, as well as one’s perceived risk of HIV infection have only marginal effect on the actual sexual behaviour. What proved to be significant predictors of the condom use are attitudes towards condoms and previous experience with condoms. Basically, the more positively one perceives condoms, the more likely she or he is to use it in real-life situations. The likelihood of condom use also rises when the individual has used it many times before, so has this kind of schema behaviour fixed in mind. Furthermore, in case of women their peers standpoints also played a role. The less traditional attitudes towards sexuality their peers have, the more eager women are to use condoms. However, the experimenters examined only the attitudes and the usage of male condoms. It is still interesting what are the predictors of female condom use since there is a well-founded concern that attitudes toward female condoms might differ from those toward well-known, widespread male’s ones.

Source: International Family Planning Perspective, June 2007, 33, 2         



MOLDOVA: Strategic Approach to Strengthening Reproductive Health Policies and Programmes as defined by World Health Organization (WHO) has been adopted by the Moldovan Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MoHSP) and is being realized within a National Strategy on Reproductive Health for 2005-2015. The first stage of implementation, namely “The Strategic Assessment of abortion and Contraceptive Services in Republic of Moldova” has been conducted in September 2005 by a team of 25 persons from the MoHSP, local partner institutions, the WHO, and Ipas. This investigation indicated that abortion remains a common, widely used form of fertility control in the country. However, the quality of abortion and post-abortion services leaves a lot to be desired. For example, currently used methods for first- and second-trimester abortion are outdated and there is a need to standardize fees charged for abortion services. This month (September 2007) the project enters its second phase, that is “Testing a Pilot Comprehensive Abortion Care Intervention in Moldova. It consists of four major components: development and introduction of national standards and guidelines for comprehensive abortion care (CAC), revision of the national abortion training curriculum, introduction and assessment of CAC in two model clinics, and finally dissemination of project findings through a national-level workshop.

Source: Rodica Comendant and Irena Digol; Reproductive Health Training Center (Moldova)



KYRGYZSTAN: HIV scandal in the public hospital. Ten children and one adult were accidentally infected with HIV in the southern Osh region’s children’s hospital in Bishkek. The Ministry of Health reacted immediately and fired four doctors that are believed to be responsible for this tragedy, including the head of the hospital. Two other physicians were reprimanded but retained their positions. Most probably, the victims were infected through injections and contaminated blood transfusions. Currently, there are at least 1,193 people living with HIV/AIDS in suffering from poverty Kyrgyzstan with   a 5 million population.

Sources: Kaiser 01/08/2007; International Herald Tribune 30/07/2007       



POLAND: Sexuality education wanted now. According to the lateest national survey conducted by the Public Opinion Research Centre (CBOS), 9 out of 10 Poles support the incorporation of sexuality education into the school curriculum. In this context, politicians’ reluctance to make it happen is especially unaccountable. The support for sexuality education has risen by 13 points since 1998. At the same time, we observe growing support for the conviction that parents should talk about sexuality and reproduction with their children. There is also a steep decrease in the number of opponents of sexuality education. The figure of 18% in 1998 dropped to 7% now. The majority of respondents stated that youth aged 13-14   should be taught about sexuality and contraception. One fifth of Poles believes that this kind of classes should be carried out even earlier.  

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza Daily; 17/08/2007



RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The dynamics of HIV/AIDS pandemic in Novgorod region. Till the date of May 2007, the number of people living with HIV/AIDS in the Novgorod region with the population of 680 000 amounts to 1000. The situation in Russian Federation is dramatic in general. The most up to date data (May 2007) indicates that there are 680 000 HIV positive individuals living in the country (according to official data, independent estimates indicate a number even as high as 1.3 million) while the overall population amounts to 141 700 000. In Novgorod region, the steepest rise of newly-reported HIV/AIDS cases was reported in 2001 (244 cases) in comparison with 41 cases registered year before. In 2006, there were 100 new cases reported. The pandemic in the Novgorod region affects more and more women (49% of cases in 2006) in comparison with 23% registered in 2001. Furthermore, the major mode of HIV/AIDS transmission is changing: from drug injections (34%) to sexual intercourse (57%). The overall number of infections via sexual intercourse for the whole country is even larger – 69%. In 1990 intravenous drug usage was responsible for almost 70% of all cases. It also appears that in Novgorod, young people are most vulnerable for contracting the disease. There are over 120 HIV positive youth aged 15-19 living in the region but the largest percentage of infected individuals is observed in 20-29 age group (over 340 persons).

Source: Novgorod Center of AIDS-prevention and control “Helper”



RUSSIAN FEDERATION: The country ascribes its baby boom to pro-family policy. Russian women give more and more births in the whole country: in the largest cities equally with country sides. In the last few years, the birth rate increased up to 3 percent. Furthermore, since the beginning of the year 2007, this percentage doubled reaching an unprecedented 6- point increase. It turned out that motherhood pays back and is profitable for the family. Introduced in May 2006 by Vladimir Putin new pro-family policy is said to be linked to the observed increase in pregnancies. Alternatively, as demographers claim, the increase is caused by the simple fact, that the demographic boom of the 1980s has now entered  reproductive age. Putin’s policy includes a family allowance called “maternal capital” of about USD 10,000 for those women who deliver a second baby. It is stipulated that this allowance can be spent exclusively on children’s education, mother’s pension fund or the purchase of a flat. Moreover, beginning from the 7th month of pregnancy, women can go on maternal leave (they are paid half of their regular salary until giving  birth) and after the delivery, women receive single allowance (about USD 300). In addition, women get monthly USD 60 when being a mother of only child and doubled amount in case of raising two children. The monthly allowance rises to USD 315 when being a mother to three children.  

The policy was developed in order to address the demographic situation of the country, since Russia experienced an exceptionally steep decrease in birth rate becoming one of the most rapidly shrinking states. However, employers now complain that it is difficult to hire women because most of them choose the role of being a mother exclusively.

Source: Gazeta Wyborcza Daily, 06/08/2007        



RUSSIAN FEDERATION: Is it going to celebrate the Conception Day? Siergiej Morozov, governor of the Ulyanovsk region, proposed to enact “Conception Day” which would be celebrated every 12th of September. Currently, region authorities announce a contest called “Give birth to a patriot!” on that day each year. Now they intend to officially sanction this celebration. The idea is to devote this date to love making in order to deliver as many babies as possible nine months later, on the National Russian Holiday celebrated on 12th of June. The first prize in this controversial competition is a roadster UAZ-Patriot produced in the local industrial unit. Regional authorities clam that the initiative proved to be effective. This year, 78 babies were delivered on 12th of June – 50 more than the year before. This peculiar competition and the top initiative to sanction it illustrates the determination with which Russian authorities respond to the demographic situation of the state.

Source: Rzeczpospolita Daily; 03/08/2007 



EUROPE: More and more babies are being born. Although experts, including the European Commission, highlight nowadays the burning problem of shrinking states, apparently, we observe increases in birth rates in Europe. During the last two years, the awaited baby boom has been witnessed. The birthrates enhanced in at least 16 European states, most remarkably in the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Sweden and Hungary. In some countries the observed rise amounted even up to 8,5%. New figures alter the twenty year old trend of steep decrease in fertility rates that worried poor politicians and helpless demographers so much. Although the increase is significant and sound it is still far too slow and low – claim experts.

Source: WUNRN 18/08/2007

To read more about this issue go to:




United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC): NGOs contributions to the development of the Programme of Work for 2008. Non-governmental organizations have jointly asked the President of the UNHRC to integrate gender perspective into yearly programme of work. In the open letter, civil society represenatives proposed allocating a full or half-day slot for discussing this issue at the next session of the Council that will be held in September – a proposal that reflects the requests made by 57 States in a joint statement delivered at last session of the Council. Furthermore, NGOs suggest that the review of mandates and protection gaps as far as human rights are concerned is needed. Importance of exploring a number of important substantive human rights concerns has been also highlighted.

Proposals relating to the Programme of Work for the upcoming year of the Human Rights Council have been developed and supported by: Action Canada for Population and Development, ARC International, Center for Women’s Global Leadership, CREA, DAWN, Femmes Africa Solidarité, Global Rights, Human Rights Watch, International Service for Human Rights and IWRAW (International Women’s Rights Action Watch) Asia Pacific, as well as Mission of Slovenia.



Amnesty International AI issues statement in response to Vatican Secretary of State who reacted badly to AI’s development on the position on legal and safe abortion. Tarcisio Bertone, Vatican Secretary of State condemned the liberalization of the attitudes towards abortion and claims it should remain illegal even if the pregnancy results from crime such as incest or rape. Amnesty assured that it does not “promote abortion as a universal right and the organization remains silent on the rights or wrongs of abortion”. Furthermore, a right to abortion should be framed within the women’s human rights context. AI reminded that the primary concern of the organization is to intensify efforts to prevent unwanted pregnancy and reassured that the organization “stands by its policy, adopted in April this year, that aims to support the decriminalisation of abortion, to ensure women have access to health care when complications arise from abortion and to defend women's access to abortion -- within reasonable gestational limits -- when their health or life are in danger”.

Press release is available at: http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGPOL300192007  



Mother’s index 2007: The best and worst places to be a mother. This is already the eighth volume of the annual report. Situation regarding safe motherhood was examined in 140 countries, including 99 developing countries and 41 developed nations. Not surprisingly, among top three best countries we find Sweden, Iceland and Norway followed by New Zealand and Australia. At the very end researchers found Yemen, Sierra Leone and Niger. It has been concluded that mothers and their children have the best chances to survive if women have access to education, equal with men employment opportunities and access to proper health care, including obviously family planning.

The full ranking of countries and the methodology of the research is available at:




On 12th August we celebrated International Youth Day! - message of UN Secretary General. There is 1.2 billion youth in the world and their voices grow in strength. It has been recognized, that young people’s participation on every level of decision making process is crucial. At the International Youth Day 2007 with commemoration ‘Be seen, Be heard: Youth Participation for Development”, Ban Ki-Moon, secretary general of the United Nations gave  credit to young women and men. It has been especially highlighted that young people are valuable and committed partners in the global efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. Ban Ki-Moon also mentioned the growing HIV/AIDS pandemic that poses threat for future generations. Secretary general called the national governments to increase educational, technical and most importantly financial support for youth. We can only hope that this message will be recognized with due seriousness.                         

Source: http://www2.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-203/0708127277140350.htm  



PHILLIPINES: Manila’s ban on contraceptives has a devastating impact on women. Issued in 2000 under the Vatican’s pressure ban on family planning services in public facilities in Manila has cut the access to contraceptives in the city that has dreadfully serious consequences for women. Center for Reproductive Rights in collaboration with Likhaan and ReproCen has evaluated the long-term and irreversible effects that it has on women, that are not only health matters, but impact women’s position in the society as such. The ban has to be recognized as the violation of women’s fundamental human rights under the constitutional and international laws as experts claim. In order to avoid pregnancy some women choose to refuse sexual intercourse and this makes them especially vulnerable to domestic violence. Limited reproductive choices are interlinked with many other serious violations of women’s rights.

There have been attempts to lift the ban in July this year when a new mayor of Manila  was appointed but women’s voices were ignored by authorities.  

The report on the issue entitled "Imposing Misery: The Impact of Manila’s Contraception Ban on Women and Families” is available online at:


For more information or to arrange interviews with someone from the Center for Reproductive Rights, Likhaan or ReproCen, please contact Howli Ledbetter at 212-245-0510/hledbetter@pro-mediacommunications.com or Tara Lombardo at 917-637-3618/tlombardo@reprorights.org.



UNITED KONGDOM: Indicating the way the child was conceived. At the review of the United Kingdom’s bill on Human Tissues and Embryos, a group of legislators proposed to enact a new legal act, which will require that birth certificates of donor children include information on how the child was conceived – whether it was egg or sperm donation. It will enable 18 year-olds to identify their origins and obtain identities of biological parents. This proposal caused a lot controversy on the island. The proponents claim that everyone has the right to know how he or she was conceived, while the adversaries argue that it is up to parents to inform their offspring and that it is not favorable if young people learn such important things from birth certificates. Furthermore, some suggest that this kind of bill will violate an individual’s right to privacy since birth certificates are public documents. Besides that idea, the parliamentary committee calls for a general reform of tBritish fertility laws. 

To read more on the issue go to: http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/law/article2176357.ece

Source: Kaiser 02/08/2007            





UN Trust Fund calls for projects on combatting violence against women. Non-governmental organizations and regional networks from Central and Eastern Europe (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, Serbia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova and Ukraine) can apply for three years grants ranging from USD 100,000 – 300,000. The deadline for project submission is 10th of September.

Detailed information is available at: http://www.unifem.org/gender_issues/violence_against_women/trust_fund_guidelines.php



European Federation of Mentors for Girls and Young Women: Call for project partners. Launched by Projektbüro für innovative Sozialpolitik (project office for innovative social policy www.projectoffice. at) which is a non-profit  and non governmental organisation with a current focus on developing support networks for girls and young women, the initiative’s aim is to strengthen the support for girls and young women. Organizations interested in this area are invited to create a European thematic network focused on girls and young women mentors. In 2008, methods and backgrounds of the prospective work as well as the structures of European federation with a strong focus on the exchange of experiences and knowledge will be discussed. In order to apply at the European Union for the necessary funds the organizers want to ask for your participation in this project as one of nine partner organisations.  If you are interested in this, please contact the initiators for further information and the partnership agreement. Deadline for the project is the end of August.

Contact information: hacker@projectoffice.at






Conference on Sexual Awareness for Europe (SAFE), 8-9 October 2007, Brussels, Belgium. SAFE is a joint project of IPPF European Network, Lund University and the WHO Regional Office for Europe that has been implemented for the past three years. It is a European partnership to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights of youth. The SAFE project will come to and end this year with a final conference, to be organized in Brussels on October 8-9. The main objectives of the conference are to: share the SAFE project results and outputs, gain the participants’ commitment to use the project outputs in furthering policy and programme development on the SRHR of young people in Europe, demonstrate the value-added of youth participation in SRHR programmes, and finally to facilitate the establishment of linkages for potential and/or further partnerships.

To register, you need to contact Mr. Yannick Godin at: ygodin@ippfen.org.



Africa – Europe Youth Summit, 4 -7 December 2007, Lisbon. Prior to this event, a preparatory meeting will be held from 22 to 24 August in Johannesburg (South-Africa). It is organized by The North-South Centre of the Council of Europe in partnership with the Africa Institute of South Africa.   

For detailed information go to: http://www.coe.int/t/dg4/nscentre/ 

More information on how to submit an application is available at:




Sex and Technology: Focus on Youth, 22 -23 January 2008, San Francisco, USA. This conference will explore available tools and methods for reaching youth with culturally appropriate STD/HIV prevention and sex education interventions from a youth perspective, with input from public health professionals, educators, researchers and technology developers. It will be accompanied by the digital video content. It is organized by the National Sexuality Resource Center (nsrc.sfsu.edu) and Internet Sexuality Information Services, Inc (ISIS-inc.org).

More information is available at: sxtechconference.org    



International Symposium about Misoprostol and Mifepristone in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Valencia (Spain), 4-5 October 2007. Organized by the Mediterranea Medica that works in the field of the Contraception and the Women Reproductive Health, the symposium is free of charge for participation.

To learn more about this event go to:  http://www.mediterraneamedica.com/congreso_in.php



Financing & Action for Global Health Conference, 13-14 September 2007, London, Great Britain. This conference will be devote to health in developing countries.

To register your interest in attending email: ukadvocacy@actionforglobalhealth.eu.

More information is available at:







New IPAS website. We encourage you to check out the brand new look of the Ipas website http://www.ipas. org/






State-sponsored homophobia – A world survey of law prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults. New ILGA report examines the LGBT community situation around the world, mainly Africa and Asia. It is emphasized that at least 85 member states of the United Nations still criminalize same-sex acts. The report consists of excerpts from national laws.

It is available online at: http://www.ilga.org/news_results.asp?LanguageID=1&FileID=1058&FileCategory=6&ZoneID=7



WORLD BANK: Population Issues in the 21st Century – The role of the World Bank. The series has been produces by the the Health, Nutrition, and Population Family (HNP) of the World Bank's Human Development Network. The overall aim is to discuss the wide variety of issues linked to population policies in order to prioritize for investment and most burning problems that need to be urgently addressed. 

Full report is available at:



Pathfinders International: Advanced Training for trainers. This training manual is designed for reproductive health trainers who wish to proceed to higher level of training facilitation. It consists pf two parts: one addressed to trainers themselves called: “Trainers Guide”, while the other one is “Participant’s Guide”.

You can download it from:




International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC): Overlooked and Uninformed: Young Adolescents' Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights. This publication is focused on the needs and expectations of young adolescents aged 10-14 as regards their sexual and reproductive health and rights. It highlights that matching adolescents’ needs in this field is of crucial importance since adolescence is the time for intense socialization into gendered sexual attitudes and behaviours.      

It can be accessed at: http://www.iwhc.org/docUploads/Overlooked&Uninformed_FINAL2.28.07.pdf