International Solidarity Call-Out to all Health Rights, Women’s Rights, Human Rights and Economic/Social Justice Activists and Movements,
Friday February 4th is African Women’s Sexual and Reproductive Rights Day!
Across the African continent, from Cairo to Cape Town, women are mobilising for recognition and respect of their sexual and reproductive rights. On February 4th, women’s and health rights advocates in communities throughout Africa will hold forums, dialogues with parliamentarians, participatory community theatre, and outreach programmes in schools and the streets to raise their voices for the recognition and respect of their rights to sexual and reproductive autonomy. Young women are taking leadership positions in the upcoming events, standing shoulder to shoulder with older generations of sexual and reproductive rights advocates, while men are also participating as important allies.
United in their actions as health, women’s, sexual and reproductive rights defenders across the vast African continent, they are calling on the international community to note common concerning trends, including:
* A continued pattern of brutal sexualised violence against women, surrounded by a culture of impunity due to a lack of safe mechanisms for seeking justice and redress;
*Verbal assaults, physical attacks, sexual harassment, death threats and criminal charges directed at those who speak out for legal, safe, accessible abortion, and those who challenge patriarchal cultural and social norms, such as polygamy, child marriage, and female genital mutilation;
*Increasing incidences of HIV/AIDS amongst women, and systematic stigmatisation, including targeted instances of forced sterilisation and coercive abortions;
* Arrest, torture, rape and murder targeting people who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or intersex (LGBTI), and those who defend the rights of LGBTI communities.
* Continued lack of recognition of the sexual and reproductive needs and rights of diverse populations of marginalised peoples-including those with different abilities, minority ethnic populations, those who identify as LGBTI and sex workers.
*Increased restrictions on access to essential sexual and reproductive health supplies and services, as a result of ideological and religious pressure, conditionalities imposed by international financial institutions, fewer donors willing to fund these services and control by multinational pharmaceutical companies.
Now it is time to seize the opportunity to show your solidarity with women across Africa defending their sexual and reproductive rights!
1. Read the letter below that is addressed to the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights (ACHPR), the Court(AfCHPR) and Special Rapporteurs. On Friday, deliver this message by fax, email and phone the nearest Tanzanian and Ghanian Embassies to you. Addresses for these embassies can be found online by copying and pasting these links:
2. Continue to organise within your own community for respect for women’s and health rights and for reproductive and sexual justice for all people. If there are Afro-descendants in your community, reflect on whether your work is inclusive of them, open to their leadership and to that of other diverse populations. Collective policy, legislative and community actions to address women’s rights, health rights, sexual rights and reproductive rights from an inclusive, non-oppressive, human rights and social justice approach are important examples for others from around the world to hear and learn about.
3. Join the ongoing vigils and solidarity actions in your community that support of the efforts of sexual and reproductive rights defenders from diverse walks of life in Egypt who have been exerting courageous efforts to win respect for their rights despite severe factors of repression. If greater respect for sexual and reproductive rights is won in policy and practice, it could serve as an example for other parts of the continent.
4. Send us photos of your work and watch the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights website as we post updates from across the African continent where different actions are planned. email@example.com / www.wgnrr.org
For more information, contact:
Campaigns Officer, Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR)
Red Mundial de Mujeres por los Derechos Reproductivos
Réseau Mondial de Femmes por les Droits Reproductifs
13 Dao Street, Project 3 Barangay Quirino 3-A Quezon City, 1102