STATEMENT: African Women & Girls Call on their Governments to Support Gender Equality in Totality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustain
African Heads of State and Government will join their counterparts in New York from 25th to 27th September 2015, to adopt the Post-2015 development agenda currently titled Transforming our World: 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals in a landmark Summit that crowns several years of consultations and negotiations.
As advocates for the rights of women and girls in Africa, we noted with concern that during the negotiation phase several governments, including some African governments, expressed reservations on goals and targets related to sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The African continent has some of the most progressive and inclusive regional instruments on sexual and reproductive health and rights, adopted by all 54 member states of the African Union (AU). These include The Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (2006) which aims to achieve universal access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services by 2015; The Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa (2003) popularly known as ‘Maputo Protocol’ which contains explicit provisions on the right to health, including sexual and reproductive health and the Common Africa Position (CAP) developed through wide consultation of different African stakeholders and adopted by the African Heads of State and Government as its united position on the Post-2015 development agenda. Further information on the specific provisions of the above instruments are annexed to this Statement.
Under the leadership and mechanisms of the AU, these instruments have been implemented to various degrees in individual member states, with increasing emphasis on monitoring and accountability.
In the recent concluded African Union Summit in June 2015, convened under the theme "Year of Women Empowerment and Development Towards Africa Agenda 2063", African Heads of State and Government, re-stated their commitment to sexual and reproductive health and rights by resolving to “ensure that Sexual and Reproductive Health and Reproductive Rights of African women are implemented and mutually accounted for in the existing commitments to women’s reproductive health and rights, as adopted by the African Heads of State in the AU Protocol on the Rights of Women (Maputo Protocol) in 2003, and the Maputo Plan of Action on Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights in 2006.”
Based on the regional commitments above and various national commitments at constitutional, legal and policy level, Africa has made commitments in line with the two key targets on SRHR in the Sustainable Development Goals, namely:
3.7 By 2030, ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health-care services, including for family planning, information and education, and the integration of reproductive health into national strategies and programmes;
5.6 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences.
We therefore urge our Heads of State and Government to stand in solidarity with the millions of African women and girls affected by poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, and explicitly support the SRHR targets 3.7 and 5.6 in the Post-2015 development agenda without any reservation.
We pledge our support to working with you to make these targets a reality.
Statement Prepared by:-
SOAWR – Solidarity for African Women's Rights (www.soawr.org)
A Coalition of 46 organizations drawn from 24 AU states to advance ratification, domestication and implementation of the AU Women’s Rights Protocol as read together with national, regional and international legal frameworks that advance the rights of girls and women in Africa. Equality Now’s Africa Regional Office serves as the SOAWR coalition secretariat and is committed to ending discrimination against girls and women. Contact on behalf of SOAWR, Kavinya Makau, firstname.lastname@example.org and Naisola Likimani - email@example.com
FEMNET – African Women's Development and Communication Network (www.femnet.co)
A women’s rights network of 503 African women’s rights organizations and individual gender advocates based in 43 African countries. Contact on behalf of FEMNET, Dinah Musindarwezo firstname.lastname@example.org and/or Rachel Kagoiya: email@example.com
HIV TESTING AND COUNSELLING: New technologies, increased urgency, same human rights
Statement by the UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights,
fully endorsed by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS,Tuberculosis and Malaria Human Rights Reference Group
The UNAIDS Reference Group on HIV and Human Rights (“UNAIDS Reference Group”) is issuing this statement on HIV counselling and testing with the full endorsement of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (“Global Fund”) Human Rights Reference Group (“Global Fund Reference Group”). This statement is informed by three key trends that have emerged since the last statement regarding HIV testing was issued by the UNAIDS Reference Group (in 2007):
Fast-Tracking the AIDS response for young women and adolescent girls in Africa
Considerable advances have been made in the global response to the AIDS epidemic over the last decades. Despite this progress, however, young women and adolescent girls in Africa are still being left behind.
In the sub-Saharan region, AIDS-related illnesses remain the leading cause of death among girls and women of reproductive age. In 2013, 74% of new HIV infections among African adolescents were among adolescent girls. Young women and adolescent girls acquire HIV on average five to seven years earlier than young men, and in some countries in the region HIV prevalence among this population can be as much as seven times that of their male counterparts.
In order to guide regional and global advocacy and inform political dialogue on HIV prevention and treatment among young women and adolescent girls, UNAIDS and the African Union have launched a joint report entitled Empower young women and adolescent girls: Fast-Tracking the end of the AIDS epidemic in Africa.
The document outlines three political commitments to advance the rights and empowerment of Africa’s young women and girls to help Fast-Track an AIDS response firmly rooted in gender equality and social justice. The commitments are to stop new HIV infections among young women and adolescent girls in order to ensure that AIDS is no longer the leading cause of death among adolescents; to empower young women and adolescent girls through comprehensive sexuality education; and to prevent HIV infections among children and keep their mothers alive.
The launch took place on 8 June as part of the 26th Gender is My Agenda Campaign pre-summit to the African Union meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa.
“It is fitting that this report is launched here in Africa, as this is the epicentre of the global AIDS epidemic. It is here that we must Fast-Track our responses in order to help end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.”- Patricia Kaliati, Minister of Gender, Children, Disability and Social Welfare, Malawi
“The commitment to end the AIDS epidemic by 2030 cannot be attained unless a strategic and comprehensive focus is placed on young women and adolescent girls in every single African country." -Fatima Acyl, African Union
“In the absence of a vaccine, ending gender-based violence, keeping girls in school and empowering young women and adolescent girls are the best options we have available.”- Sheila Tlou, UNAIDS Regional Director of the Regional Support Team for Eastern and Southern Africa
“We need to educate our children to speak out and we need to speak to them their own language. They need to know that HIV is real. The best teacher is the mother and the best place to educate young women and girls is in the home.” -Judith Sephuma, South African jazz artist
“As we work with our communities, our networks, our health service providers and our governments, we must commit to demanding a comprehensive focus on young women in the AIDS response.” -Rosemary Museminali, UNAIDS Representative to the African Union and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
Fact Sheet- Sex Work, HIV and Human Rights
Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights for all young women in the world!
Violence against women in Europe
Challenges by the numbers
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women; the start of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence. Sophia Forum are taking this opportunity to launch their campaign ‘Walk in Our Knickers’ to highlight the fact that women living with HIV are twice as likely to have been or be affected by gender violence. ‘Walk in Our Knickers’ aims to raise awareness, advocate for improved practice and prompt responses from policy makers and government.
This new viewpoint article entitled "Ethical, strategic and meaningful involvement of women living with HIV starts at the beginning" is based on the global values and preferences survey conducted for WHO in 2014, as it updates its guidelines on the SRH&HR of women living with HIV. This article can be found in the Journal of Virus Eradiction: http://viruseradication.com/journal-details/Ethical,_strategic_and_meaningful_involvement_of_women_living_with_HIV_starts_at_the_beginning/
In collaboration with UNAIDS and other partners, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and IRTG, a Global Network of Trans Women and HIV, have released a new publication entitled Implementing comprehensive HIV and STI programmes with transgender people: practical guidance for collaborative interventions. The publication presents concrete steps that public health officials, health workers and nongovernmental organizations can adopt to implement HIV and sexually transmitted infection (STI) programmes with transgender people.
Gender Equality and Key Populations Results, Gaps and Lessons From the Implementation of Strategies and Action Plans
The Gender Equality Strategy (2008) and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identities (SOGI) Strategy (2009) were the first formal, strategic commitments by the Board of the Global Fund to addressing these areas within the institution’s policies and investments.This Rapid Review focuses on the current frameworks for implementing the strategies - the Gender Equality Action Plan 2014-2016 and the Key Populations Action Plan 2014-2017. The review was conducted in January – March 2016 by an independent consultant, informed by over 45 key stakeholder interviews and 70 resources.
This report presents recent scientific evidence about the links between HIV, HPV and cervical cancer, and it supplies relevant epidemiological, screening, vaccination and innovation data. Ultimately, its goal is to (a) promote synergies between HIV and cervical cancer prevention programmes, (b) make the case for integrating cervical cancer prevention into existing HIV treatment and prevention programmes, (c) explain the opportunities for women’s health that exist in coordinating HIV and cervical cancer prevention, and (d) advance prevention and treatment literacy among affected populations.
Together for Girls’ (TfG) 2015-2016 stakeholderreport “Breaking the Cycle of Violence” is now available. The report includes findings from the 2015 Violence Against Children Surveys in Malawi, Nigeria and Zambia. It also highlights the partnership’s global advocacy accomplishments and country partners’ progress in responding to violence, including programs in Malawi and Cambodia that are working to change social norms and educate youth on skills that can be protective against violence.
UNAIDS Science now is a new platform for Discussions on HIV science and for sharing what’s current in scientific journals. It aims to support all of UNAIDS Geneva and field staff, co-sponsor organization staff, national AIDS offices, research institutions and university students with an interest in HIV, and hopefully become the “go to” place for HIV information.