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CEE Bulletin on Sexual and Reproductive Rights

No 07 (86) 2010

Table of contents:

burning issue

Rights Here, Right Now! 12 delegates of ASTRA Network will join health professionals, activists and community members to discuss main challenges related to AIDS epidemic during the bi-annual conference in Vienna. Given the 2010 deadline for universal access set by world leaders, AIDS 2010 will coincide with a major push for expanded access to HIV prevention, treatment, care and support. With a global economic crisis threatening to undermine public investments, the conference will help keep HIV on the front burner, and is a chance to demonstrate the importance of continued HIV investments to broader health and development goals. AIDS 2010 is also an opportunity to highlight the critical connection between human rights and HIV; a dialogue begun in earnest in Mexico City in 2008.The selection of the AIDS 2010 host city is a reflection of the central role Vienna has played in bridging Eastern and Western Europe, and will allow for an examination of the epidemic’s impact in Eastern Europe. ”Fighting Gender Stereotypes in Order to Overcome the HIV/AIDS Pandemic in Central and Eastern Europe” ASTRA Network panel will take place on Wednesday 21 July from 17:00-18:30 pm in GV Session Room 2 and will feature activists and HIV community members from Armenia, Georgia, Poland, Russia and Ukraine.

ASTRA network’s statement regarding empowerment of women and girls living with HIV/AIDS in Central and Eastern Europe is now available on our website: ASTRA Network

regional updates

Adoption of the report on assessment of the results of the 2006-2010 Roadmap for Equality between women and men, and forward-looking recommendations.The adoption of the report drafted by rapporteur Ilda Figueiredo (GUE/NGL, Portugal) is an important step towards the development of the next EU Roadmap for equality between women and men. The report assesses the results of the European Union’s 2006-2010 Roadmap for equality between women and men and provides some forward looking recommendations. The report calls for the support and particular attention to the situation of women belonging to ethnic minorities, including female migrants; the granting of adequate EU funding for the implementation of new strategy for equality between women and men; the development of reliable, comparable gender-based statistics and quantitative and qualitative indicators to enable the monitoring of the implementation of gender mainstreaming in all policies. The combat of gender stereotypes and gender-based violence is also underlined as an important focus for the future strategy on equality between men and women.

Report is available here: European Parliament

EU officials debate ways towards achieving MDG 5 at European Parliament hearing.During the European Parliament (EP) hearing on the EU process towards the UN summit on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in September, EU officials and invited stakeholders from civil society and academia discussed the Union's approach towards the achievement of the MDGs by 2015. A special emphasis was given to the role of health and education in the EU's development cooperation. Mr. Stefano Manservisi, Director-General of DG Development in the European Commission, underlined that MDG 5 (Improve maternal health) can only be achieved with the help of budget support and a strong involvement of the EU's partner countries in the developing world.

For more information on the EU's policy on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR), please go to: European Commission

Source: DSW

EU Development Ministers adopt Council conclusions on MDGs and EU Gender Action Plan.The Development Ministers of the 27 EU Member States agreed on Council conclusions on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which constitute the EU's position for the UN High-Level Plenary meeting on the MDGs in September and beyond. As such, the conclusions acknowledge the need for prioritising the MDGs most off-track and recognise the impact of maternal health on the achievement of other areas. Furthermore, the Council recognises the need for a rights-based approach towards the MDGs and for meaningful and strong partnerships with civil society organisations. As an annex to the conclusions, the Council also adopted the "EU Plan of Action on Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment in Development" for 2010-2015, of which one of the specific objectives is to strengthen EU support to partner countries in their efforts to achieve MDG 3 (Promote Gender Equality) and MDG 5 (Improve Maternal Health). In particular, the EU strives to increase support and expertise in health, addressing maternal mortality and universal access to reproductive health by adopting guidelines for specific policy dialogue on these issues by 2012.

The whole document can be retrieved here: EC

Source: DSW

EU Health Ministers Back the Directive on Patient Mobility.In the public debate at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), the majority of the Member States approved the new draft directive on cross-border healthcare drawn up by the Spanish Presidency, which finds the middle ground between the interests of different countries and the initial proposal by the European Commission (EC). The current commitment represents an important step towards establishing a Community framework for patient rights, after the first legislative proposal was blocked at the end of 2009 by a group of countries led by Spain. The new proposal, drawn up over the last four years, changes certain points that had caused disagreement among the 27 Member States. These notably included the definition of which countries should finance medical treatment received by their citizens in other Member States, conditions for accessing such services and quality and security requirements for patients. The draft text establishes that as a general rule, the patient's country of residence shall pay the cost of his or her treatment. Nevertheless if the patient decides to return to his or her native country for treatment - or to the country where he or she is registered with the social security system - the latter will pay for treatment costs despite the citizen residing in another Member State. The agreed text includes the need to have prior authorisation from the healthcare system of the country of residence for patients seeking certain types of medical assistance in a third country. For the Directive to be approved definitively, the Member States must negotiate the proposal with the European Parliament.


The UN Special Rapporteur calls on Poland to improve access to safe abortion, sex education and contraception. Mr Anand Grover, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health from the 14th session of the Human Rights Council of the 3rd of June 2010 criticized the Polish government for not providing access to safe abortion, sex education and contraception. Mr Grover had opportunity to examine how the right to health has been implemented in Poland during his visit in May 2009. The specific focus of his visit was on the right to sexual and reproductive health, HIV and harm reduction, drug dependence treatments and relevant laws, policies and practices, and their impact on enjoyment of the right to health.

The document can be also found under this link:UN

Bulgarian equality body facing potential budget and staff cuts.The Commission for Protection against Discrimination, national Equality Body of Bulgaria which functions as a Tribunal with the mandate to combat discrimination on 19 grounds and more is at risk of a severe downsize.The Council of Ministers has recently passed a draft law reducing the equality body’s size from nine to five Members, imposing also further budget cuts. The amendments have been drafted by the Minister of Labour in spite of the explicit advice of the Commissioner for Human Rights Mr. Thomas Hammarberg, the Open Declaration in Support of the CPD, initiated by eleven advocacy and human rights’ civil associations and signed by other 59 non-governmental organizations and 111 outstanding individuals, and in spite of the grounded opinion of the Commission for Protection against Discrimination, provided to the Government..



MDG 2010 Report Launched. A new UN report launched 23rd June by Secretary- General Ban Ki-Moon has shown that maternal mortality is failing to decrease at 5.5% annual target in order to be on-track to meet the Millennium Development Goal 5 (MDG) target. The report revealed that disparities remain between the wealthiest and the poorest women in getting skilled assistance at birth, especially in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, where the wealthiest women are five times more likely and three times more likely, respectively, as the poorest women to be attended by trained healthcare workers. In the developing world as a whole, “women in the richest households are three times as likely as women in the poorest households” to receive such care. Further, the report states that funding for family planning has declined during the first few years of the present decade. And inadequate funding for family planning is a major failure in fulfilling commitments to improving women’s reproductive health.

The full report can be retrieved here:UN

G8 Communiqué Commits to Maternal Health, Child Health, and Family Planning. Unsafe abortion causes 13 percent of maternal deaths worldwide – deaths that could be prevented if women had access to safe, affordable technologies. Almost all of these nearly 67,000 deaths occur in developing countries, half in Sub-Saharan Africa. On the occasion of the G8/G20 summit in Canada, G8 leaders agreed to pledge a total of $5 billion over the next five years to help reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in developing countries. In addition to the $5 billion pledged by world leaders, $2.3 billion will come from foundations and non-G8 countries, including Norway, South Korea and Spain. The G-8 leaders exchanged views on how to reduce maternal and infant mortality rates in developing countries with those invited, including the leaders of Algeria, Colombia, Haiti, Nigeria and South Africa. Reducing mortality among children aged under 5 by two-thirds and pregnant women by three-quarters by 2015 is part of the eight-point set of U.N. Millennium Development Goals, adopted by world leaders in 2000. While the chances of meeting the deadline are fading, the United Nations is planning to hold a summit on the goals in September. The G-8 leaders are trying to increase momentum prior to the United Nations meeting by demonstrating their leadership in improving maternal and infant health, as progress is particularly lagging in this area of the stated development goals.

Source:Women Deliver.


Facts on the Sexual and Reproductive Health of Adolescent Women in the Developing World- Factsheet released by the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Guttmacher Institute. The factsheet compiles new analyses of data on young women’s lives, marriages, childbearing, education and contraceptive needs, and discusses the need to help them avoid unintended pregnancies and obtain appropriate methods of contraception. Each year, an estimated 2.7 million adolescent women become pregnant unintentionally, the large majority after having used no method of contraception.

More:Guttmacher Institute

Facts on Satisfying the Need for Contraception in Developing Countries - Factsheet released by the International Planned Parenthood Federation and the Guttmacher Institute. The document takes an in-depth look at the need for improved contraceptive services worldwide and the global benefits of meeting those needs. About 818 million women of reproductive age want to avoid pregnancy; 140 million of these women are not using any form of contraception, and 75 million rely on less effective traditional methods.

More:Guttmacher Institute

Amnesty International Report- The State of the World’s Human Rights. The 2010 report documents abuses in 159 countries and shows how powerful governments are blocking advances in international justice by standing above the law on human rights, shielding allies from criticism and acting only when politically convenient.

The report is accessible at the AI website:Amnesty International

upcoming events

Achieving Excellence in Abortion-Care, International Federation of Professional Abortion and Contraception Associates (FIAPAC) conference, Sevilla, Spain, 21-23 October, 2010. The preliminary programme of the conference is available on the website.

For more information:FIAPAC

World Health Summit Berlin, Germany, October 10-13, 2010. Registration is now open for participants of the World Health Summit. The World Health Summit will bring together high-profile representatives from medicine, research, governments, industry, international institutions, and non-governmental organizations, to address the most pressing issues that medicine and health care systems will face over the next decade and beyond. Their aim is to develop cogent and timely responses and solutions to achieve better health for populations worldwide.

More at the Summit webpage:World Health Summit

action alert

Who is your unsung hero of international development? The Guardian and Marie Stopes International launch the 2010 International Development Achievement Award. The Award aims to honour the unsung heroes of international development, and we need your nominations. Nominations are welcome for individuals (not organisations) of any nationality and based anywhere in the world. Closing date for nominations is Sunday, 25 July 2010. For more information on the International Development Achievement Award, and to nominate, please visit www.guardian.co.uk/achievementsaward.

Join Us! ASTRA Network now on Facebook! ASTRA Network is excited to announce our presence on the social networking sites Facebook. Join us there and show your support for women's rights worldwide.

Link: ASTRA Network on Facebook