The conference revealed the need for the ‘SRHR community’ to find new ways to build grassroots support for sexual rights and family planning. Neil Datta, of the European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, warned of the rise of the extreme right and its investment in building transnational networks and increased professionalisation, while many human rights activists feel a sense of protest-fatigue at the local level, because of the continuous attacks on acquired rights. The discourse of governments such as the USA, the Philippines, Brazil, Poland and Hungary testifies of an ‘anti-gender ideology’ which seeks to promote so-called ‘traditional’ values over ‘progressive’ ones. Halting the push-back requires the SRHR community to build bridges with other movements, such as the climate change and human rights movements.
There were hopeful sounds as well, such as the testimony of Antonina Lewandowska about how the Black Protest of Polish women against new anti-abortion legislation has led to growing public support to openly talk about abortion. On the second day there were reflections on the successes of the right and the backlash against SRHR. “The parties who win the votes of established parties are actually exposing their failure to provide social protection. In answer to that, we need to develop a vision as to how to live together, and provide people with a sense of dignity and let them feel that governments care for them”, researcher Elena Zacharenko said. She called on the SRHR community to take the criticism on the social-economic order seriously, and to develop its own answer, if it wants to achieve sexual and reproductive rights for all. A major step in that direction is to acknowledge and denounce structural inequality and to speak in a language that people understand.
Nairobi Summit on ICPD25+
The new members of the Parliamentarians for the 2030 Agenda will also get involved with the celebration of 25 years of the ICPD. From within this group Goedele Liekens (Open VLD/liberals), Fourat Ben Chikha (Groen/Greens) and Els Van Hoof (CD&V/Christian Democrats) will attend the summit in Nairobi.