Sexual/reproductive rights & health

A plan to make female high school students undergo mandatory virginity tests has been met with outrage from activists, who argue that it discriminates against women and violates their human rights.

NAIROBI, 30 November 2012 (PlusNews) - In August 2012, the African Gender and Media Initiative, a Kenyan NGO, released a report documenting cases of forced and coerced sterilizations of HIV-positive women, carried out by both private and government-run health facilities.

FREETOWN, 27 November 2012 (IRIN) - The new government is responding positively to health workers and youth groups who have long called for a change in the 1861 law banning abortion except in exceptional circumstances.

أطلق صندوق الأمم المتحدة للسكان يوم أمس الثلاثاء تقريره السنوي عن حالة سكان العالم لعام 2012 بعنوان ” بالإختيار وليس بالصدفة : تنظيم الأسرة وحقوق الإنسان والتنمية” ، مؤكداً على أن تنظيم الأسرة حق أصيل معترف به عالمياً وتقره وتدعمه حقوق أخرى كثيرة من حقوق الإنسان ، وهو بهذا الوصف ينبغي أن يكون تنظيم الأسرة الطوعي متاح للجميع دون تمييز وأن لا يقتصر فقط على الأغنياء وأصحاب النفوذ والمزايا.

Access to state-provided abortion services has worsened since the Tunisian Revolution, according to the Tunisian Association of Democratic Women (ATFD).

JUBA, 14 November 2012 (IRIN) - Cut off from development by five decades of civil war, South Sudan has the highest maternal mortality rate in the world and high levels of infant mortality and morbidity. Large families struggle to get by in the war-ravaged new nation. 

« Je ne peux pas consulter un gynécologue, car j'aurai des problèmes avec mon mari », dit Aicha. Comme elle, beaucoup de femmes musulmanes n'ont pas la permission de se faire soigner par un homme, c'est défendu. Dans un pays qui ne compte que trois gynécologues de sexe féminin, l'accès aux spécialistes, pour les musulmanes, est restreint.

"Child marriage is a human rights abuse. It constitutes a grave threat to young girls’ lives, health and future prospects. Marriage for girls can lead to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth, and in developing countries these are the main causes of death among 15–19 year-old girls. For a girl, marriage can mean the end of her education, can set aside her chances of a vocation or career, and can steal from her foundational life choices.

Investing in girls, developing their social and economic assets, ensuring they have access to education and health services, and ensuring that they can postpone marriage until they are ready; all this means greater dignity for women. It also means healthier families and higher levels of gender equality. This in turn makes for stronger societies and more vibrant economies.
Investment in later marriage for girls is investment in development for everyone."
To download the full report please click on the attachment below. 

The practice of men marrying underage girls - which has been an accepted social norm for centuries but has been linked in recent years to the spread of HIV - was recently declared illegal in Swaziland.

When rape is used as a weapon of war in places like Congo or Bosnia, thousands of women and girls can become pregnant, but a piece of 39-year-old U.S. legislation means that few if any aid groups are allowed to provide or even discuss abortion services with them.

There's a 38 year-old Congolese woman named Josephine who has probably never heard of U.S. Representative and Senatorial candidate Todd Akin. But, if she had, Josephine would know all too well how wrong Akin was when he said that a woman's body can "shut the whole thing down" and prevent a pregnancy if she experiences a "legitimate rape." When Josephine was 29, she, like many of the estimated 1.8 million other women and girls who were raped during the Congo's series of conflicts, became pregnant. Akin's comments will never affect Josephine, so she has little reason to care. But she cares very much about the U.S. legislative efforts to restrict abortion access, because that decades-long campaign, of which Akin is only an example, has changed her life permanently.

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