Track D report by Angela Kelly-Hanku
This session brought into stark focus the
importance of ensuring the inclusion of gender and sexual and reproductive
health and human rights as we come to the close of the Millennium Development
Goals. Access to services, Advocacy and Ensuring gender and sexual and
reproductive health and human rights post 2015 framed the Non-Commercial
Satellite Session on Sunday.
- Access to sexual and reproductive health services
Young people, and young women in
particular, were represented by Nhey Shiel Grace Salalia from the Philippines.
She shared her personal experience of trying to find a space where as a young
woman in an Asian and Catholic dominated country she could claim her rights to
information and access services to meet her needs; sexual rights she exclaimed
are human rights.
Talking from Afghanisatan, Dr Akban spoke
as the CEO of a innovative and highly significant program that seeks to provide
integrated sexual and reproductive services to Afghani women in a Muslim
country where gender based violence is common and the status of women low. He
shared three lessons from the implementation of services for Afghani women : National and provincial level support is needed; Teaching
religious leaders to promote Muslim beliefs of non-violence and the rights of
women is essential and; addressing GBV while not easy needs to address poverty,
social stigma, the low status of women and political instability for real
As a transgender woman from South Africa,
Leigh Ann van der Merwe gave an impassioned and articulate call for the
inclusion of sexual and gender minorities in the post 2015 framework.
Describing the MDGs as hetero and gender normative, the needs of all women,
irrespective of class or race or of being a transgender woman, must be rectified
as we move forward post 2015. This would ensure the post 2015 agenda is also a
Sharing stories of violence and discrimination against sex workers from Central Asia, Lena Luyckfasseel reported on the HIV
prevention report cards developed for sex workers including: legal and social
context; availability of services; accessability of services; participation
and rights and; violence.
- Ensuring gender and sexual and reproductive health and
human rights post 2015
Christine Stegling called into question the role key populations will be granted in a post 2015 agenda. She stated
that given the chance, countries will not give priority to those who are most
socially and politically marginalized and as such the risk is that key
populations will be lost as countries move to integrate HIV into other (and
already fragile) health services. There is, she said, a need to make noise and
claim a space for all key populations including lesbian, gay, bisexual and
intersex people as well as people living with HIV.
Human rights must be the normative and
stable discourse by which we discuss access to sexual and reproductive health
services, chanted Kate Gilmore in her thought provoking and eloquent
presentation. Both human rights and
sexual and reproductive health belong in a post 2015 agenda and in doing so
such access must be made available to the exclusion of none and for the benefit
of us all.
The panel of international experts of women
and one sole man, detailed the the
critical importance of ensuring that sexual and reproductive health and human
rights is included in a post 2015 agenda, a claim that was made repeatedly. In
doing so they called for the expansion of services to all women, young and old,
irrespective of class, race, sexuality or being transgender. The first, and
most interesting question from the audience raised the issue of infertility
generally but also specifically for woman living with HIV with TB co-infection,
where TB leaves them unable to conceive. Without doubt for those in the
audience the importance of rights, both sexual and human, was made clear. It is unthinkable, but not
impossible, that such a call will not be heard and actioned. Silence and needed action about the need for men in all their diversity to be afforded
the same sexual and reproductive rights and indeed services.