On Thursday the 28th of February in Brussels, the ‘The State of African Women’ report was presented on the eve of International Women’s Day at the federal parliament. Gina Wharton, policy advisory at IPPF European Network presented the research report by the Dutch KIT Royal Tropical Institute, a report that is part of an awareness project that goes by the title ‘Right by Her’. The research report maps the realisations as well as the gaps in the ratification and implementation of the Maputo Protocol by African states. This protocol is a legally binding instrument in which the rights of African women have been recognised by the member states of the African Union.
Intensified HIV testing and treatment efforts are reaching more people than ever but persistent barriers remain
75% of all people living with HIV know their HIV status, but increased efforts are needed to reach the 9.4 million people living with HIV who are not aware that they are living with the virus, UNAIDS 2018 reports shows.
The power to choose. That is the central theme of the 2018 State of the World Population (SWOP), the annual report of the UN fund on population, UNFPA, which was presented in the Belgian parliament on Nov 8th.
Individuals and couples need to be able to choose if, when and how many children they want. It sounds simple but it’s not. Reproductive rights are violated when health services are not able to provide essential care and means, such as contraceptives, or when women and young people have no access to information about relationships and sexuality. In these cases it is hard to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
Kicking off with the success story of Ireland’s long road towards the recognition of the right to abortion, the annual 2018 EuroNGOs conference sought to re-energise the European SRHR community for the road ahead under the banner ‘Act on Hope’. Over 150 participants gathered in the heart of Ghent to share and exchange the lessons learned and to discuss the challenges promoting SRHR at home and in the world.
“Progress in SRHR requires confrontation of the barriers embedded in laws, policies, the economy, and in social norms and values (….) that prevent people from achieving sexual and reproductive health.”
This is what the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission “Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all” states in no uncertain terms. The report documents the magnitude of the SRHR needs, provides a comprehensive definition of SRHR and a roadmap on how to advance universal access to SRHR.
The commission underlines that the improvement of people’s health depends on individuals’ ability to make decisions about their own sexual and reproductive lives and respecting the decisions of others. The commission’s report is the result of two years of joint collaboration of 16 respected SRHR experts from different parts of the world. Belgian Prof. Dr. Marleen Temmerman was one of them.
Parliament calls on government to step-up the promotion of gender equality in Belgium's development cooperation
On March 15 the Belgian Chamber of People's Representatives adopted a resolution to promote gender equality and women's emancipation in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for sustainable development. The resolution, an initiative by MP Fatma Phelivan, calls on the Belgian government to step-up it's efforts.
Upcoming event 26 April: ‘Beyond the stigma: fistula and safe delivery in the South’, Federal Parliament, Brussels
Date: Thursday 26 April 2018, 12:30-14:00
Place: Belgium's federal parliament, Room Jacques Brel, Leuvenseweg 13, 1000 Brussels.
Dr. Shershah Syed, well known fistula surgeon from Pakistan, Wendy Marijnissen, photographer and
Felipe Sere, Public Health Officer at Memisa, the Belgian NGO dedicated to the right to primary health care.
Despite the progress in safe deliveries, 830 women a day die due to birth or pregnancy related complications. 99% of these deaths occur in developing countries. In addition, millions of women suffer from health problems as a result of these complications.
Fistula is one of the most serious delivery complications. Every year there are an estimated 50,000 to 100,000 new cases and an estimated 2 million women are living with the complication. Especially women living in remote areas where health care services are absent run the risk of fistula. Fistula can lead to stillbirth, incontinence, shame, stigma and social exclusion and in some cases death. With the 2030 Agenda we committed to substantially decrease the number of maternal deaths and to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
This lunch seminar is organised by the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda in the run-up to Mothers’ Day. The seminar is free and open to all interested parties but requires registration by Friday April 20th the latest. For practical reasons, the language of this seminar will be English.
Sandwiches will be provided.
“In too many contexts, she has actually never decided anything. Telling her that she decides WITHOUT giving her the foundation upon which to do so, could be naïve at best – and irresponsible at worst. We cannot raise expectations of autonomy and agency without providing a foundation for this to actually happen.” Lina Abirafeh, Director of the Institute for Women’s Studies in the Arab World at the Lebanese American University in Lebanon and She Decides Champion’s message was clear. Abirafeh delivered the key note at the She Decides’ anniversary event in the Belgium parliament, which sought to answer the question ‘Can She Decide in times of crisis?’, focusing on women’s and girls’ access to SRHR during humanitarian crises.