All posts by Action Canada

BC Launches $10-a-day Child Care Pilot

Congratulations to the government of British Columbia for beginning to fulfill their promise of universal access to childcare in the province through their $10-a-day child care testing program. Universal childcare is an essential step towards the realization of people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, and a move towards achieving reproductive justice. A lack of affordable, universal childcare has serious social and economic impacts borne disproportionately by low-income individuals and their families, but that ultimately affect families of all socioeconomic status. We look forward to seeing the government continue to progress towards the implementation of universal childcare in BC.

Press Release: 150+ international parliamentarians in Ottawa to advance sexual and reproductive rights at IPCI Conference

Ottawa – Parliamentarians and development experts from around the world are meeting in Ottawa from October 22-23 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

The IPCI Conference, which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago, will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights, including the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Canada’s Minister of International Development.

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

At a time of global backlash against women’s reproductive choices, the rights of LGBTQI people, and young people’s access to sex-ed, the IPCI conference provides an international space where parliamentarians can strategize ways to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminate discriminatory laws and policies, and advocate for increased funding toward sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

“More and more, we’re seeing Canada demonstrate increased support for global and domestic sexual and reproductive health and rights,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights. Adding that, “parliamentarians in Canada and internationally have a role to play in ensuring sustained political leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues, namely, safe abortion care, comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health.”

Canadian parliamentarians have been instrumental in safeguarding access to abortion, adding gender identity and expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, and advocating for human rights-based approaches in the development of new laws and policies domestically and internationally through Canada’s development assistance.

By the end of the two-day conference, participants will generate a forward-looking, action-oriented declaration that builds upon previous IPCI commitments and provides clear direction to further realize sexual and reproductive health and rights around the world.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and to mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

NOTES TO EDITORS

  • Sandeep Prasad is available for interview before, during and after the conference.
  • Parliamentarians from Canada and other countries will be available for interviews throughout the IPCI Conference. See attachment for complete list.
  • Press passes are available for reporters on the day-of and obtained at the registration desk.
  • Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information.
  • A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]
  • Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

 

Why Politicians are Trying to Rob a Generation of their Right to Sex-Ed

Sex-ed, when done well, saves lives, so what young people stand to lose in this fight is clear: health, safety and wellbeing.

Op-Ed by Action Canada
Originally published in the Huffington Post

Sex-ed has become a hot political topic across the country.

At the same time as tens of thousands of Ontario school students staged walkouts to protest the return of an outrageously outdated health curriculum, social conservatives in British Columbia are banding together to run municipal election platforms against LGBTQ curriculum content.

For many parents, voters and politicians, sex-ed is understood as part of the health and wellbeing of young people. At the same time, we’re seeing a rise in the exploitation of people’s fears with misinformation to win political points.

What young people stand to lose in this fight is clear: health, safety and wellbeing. Sex-ed, when done well, saves lives. Comprehensive and inclusive sex-ed leads to declining STI and unintended pregnancy rates, the prevention of gender-based violence, and increased school safety for LGBTQ students. When sex-ed uses an explicit human rights-based approach, it even increases open dialogue with parents about sex and relationships.

Those very facts should be enough to end the debate. Yet despite the research and overwhelming parental support for sex-ed in schools, a small but vocal minority who want it abolished are being rewarded by a disproportionate amount of media attention and political success.

The backlash to a resource that was developed in collaboration with the B.C. Ministry of Education to create safer learning environments for LGBTQ students is disturbingly similar to what transpired in Ontario.

Rallies are being held in front of the provincial legislature, rampant misinformation about the content of the toolkit and lesson plans is spreading, and political platforms are being built to roll-back the resource in schools where it’s currently being used and to ban it from schools where it isn’t.

The lobbying success of these groups in B.C., like Ontario, is a symptom of the growing political influence of a once-fringe brand of social conservatism. Conservatives are being told that their worldview is under attack and that the classroom is an appropriate venue to wage war against the human rights of women, girls and LGBTQ youth.

A genuine fight for human rights and freedoms is never won at the expense of others.

The morality showdown is cleverly cloaked in language appropriated from a human rights lexicon. Parental rights are pitted against the health and rights of young people, as if it’s a zero-sum game. Freedom of parental expression is invoked to curtail freedom of gender expression. Freedom of religion is used to undermine support for sexual minorities and the notion that a robust health education will benefit all of our children.

Misinformation about what is being taught is being used to gain political support under the guise of protecting children.

In the end it comes down to this: human rights are interconnected and equal, they extend only insofar as they don’t harm another person. A genuine fight for human rights and freedoms is never won at the expense of others.

Freedom of expression, for example, cannot override people’s right to health, to education and to live free from violence and discrimination; it cannot override the right to sex-ed, which is enshrined in international human rights laws and protected by global experts such as the World Health Organization.

In Ontario, bolstered by the many complaints made by young people and parents, the Ontario Human Rights Commission filed a notice of intervention last week with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario to protect the rights of girls and LGBTQ students who will suffer the most from sub-par sex-ed.

In B.C., resistance to backlash has taken the form of a youth-led campaign called “Sex ed is Our Right.”

Every one of us is entitled to receive relevant, accurate education and health information throughout our lives, and no government has the authority to deny it to an entire generation.

Resistance matters and your voice counts. If you believe in every person’s right to live a safe, healthy life that is free from violence, make yourself heard. Young people need you.

October Update: Abortion, sex-ed, human rights

Information and updates on sexual and reproductive health and rights this month:

Press Advisory: 150+ International Parliamentarians Meeting in Ottawa about Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Over 150 parliamentarians from around the world will meet in Ottawa on October 22-23, 2018 for the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI).

As secretariat to the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights is the Canadian non-profit co-hosting this conference alongside the Government of Canada, the Inter-American Parliamentary Group on Population and Development, the United Nations Population Fund, and the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development.

Leaders from around the world who are at the frontlines of defending laws and policies on sexual and reproductive rights in their countries and globally will meet to discuss protecting these rights within the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with topics that include ending maternal mortality, ensuring increasing access to contraception, ending harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

October 22-23, 2018
National Arts Centre
1 Elgin Street, Ottawa, ON
www.ipciconference.org

The Hon. Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development is among the high-level decision-makers and expert speakers who also include:

  • Dr. Natalia Kanam, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  • Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP, Chair of the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (Canada)
  • Cong. Huilca Indira Flores, prominent Peruvian congresswoman feminist and LGBTI activist (Peru)
  • Hon. Ulrika Karlsson, MP, President of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (Sweden)
  • Rhobi Samwelly, Manager of a safe house for girls escaping female genital mutilation in Tanzania (Tanzania)

MEDIA INQUIRIES

Ani Colekessian
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
[email protected]
613-241-4474 ext.7

Ruairi Talbot
European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development
[email protected]
0032(0)487358081

Lindsay Campbell
Office of the Honourable Hedy Fry
[email protected]
613-793-5392

NOTE TO EDITORS

Visit http://ipciconference.org/pages/speakers/ for a full list of speakers and additional conference information

Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director at Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and Hon. Dr. Hedy Fry, MP and Chair of the CAPPD are available for interviews. International Parliamentarians well versed on reproductive rights will also be available for interviews. Full list available upon request.

A reception will take place on October 22, 2018 from 5:30-8:30 at the Sir John A. Macdonald Building, hosted by the Canadian Association of Midwives, the UNFPA, and the CAPPD for attending parliamentarians, in collaboration with the Speaker of the Senate of Canada, the Hon. George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons of Canada, the Hon. Geoff Regan. Midwives from several countries will be on hand to demonstrate midwifery procedures and answer questions about their work. Reporters who wish to attend must RSVP by email to [email protected]

Parliamentarians from the following states will attend: Austria, Belgium, Canada, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, Croatia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Indonesia, Iran, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Liberia, Lithuania, Madagascar, Malawi, Mongolia, Montserrat, Niger, Niger, Palestine, Peru, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, South Sudan, St. Kitts and Nevis, Surinam, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, The Netherlands, The Philippines, Togo, Uganda, United Kingdom.

                                                                       

ACTION CANADA FOR SEXUAL HEALTH & RIGHTS is a progressive, pro-choice charitable organization committed to advancing and upholding sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (CAPPD) provides a forum for the exchange of ideas on population, sexual and reproductive health, human rights and development issues.

THE INTER-AMERICAN PARLIAMENTARY GROUP ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT (IAPG)is a regional alliance of parliamentarians working across party lines to advance and promote laws and policies within the framework of a broad human development agenda, which includes health, and sexual and reproductive health and rights, and women’s empowerment.

THE UNITED NATIONS POPULATION FUND (UNFPA) is the lead UN agency for delivering a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every childbirth is safe and every young person’s potential is fulfilled.

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENTARY FORUM ON POPULATION & DEVELOPMENT (EPF) is a network of members of parliaments from across Europe who are committed to protecting the sexual and reproductive health of the world’s most vulnerable people, both at home and overseas.

 

 

 

 

Canada shows support for global reproductive rights, launches UNFPA State of World Population Report 

Ottawa, October 17, 2018 – To realize each person’s ability to exercise reproductive choice, countries must provide universal access to quality reproductive health care (including contraceptives), ensure better access to comprehensive sex-ed that is inclusive, be champions of gender equality, and adopt a human rights-based approach to health-related policies and programmes. These are among the conclusions of the 2018 State of World Population Report published today by the UNFPA, the sexual and reproductive health agency of the United Nations.

This year’s State of World Population Report focuses on the power of choice when it comes to reproductive rights.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights and the Canadian Association of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (CAPPD), in collaboration with Global Affairs Canada, are pleased to host the Canadian launch of the report in Ottawa.

This launch signals Canada’s increasing role as a global leader on sexual and reproductive health and rights in the face of concerted attempts to roll-back previously won advances on these issues at regional, national, and global levels.

“The Government of Canada has truly stepped up its efforts when it comes to sexual and reproductive health and rights. We see this as part of a trajectory towards sustained political and financial leadership on the most stigmatized and neglected health and rights issues. Namely safe abortion care, comprehensive sex-ed, and young people’s sexual health,” says Sandeep Prasad, Executive Director of Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights.

The launch is taking place in the lead up to the International Parliamentarians Conference of the Implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action (IPCI), which was first hosted in Canada sixteen years ago. This conference will bring together more than 150 parliamentarians from around the world who champion sexual and reproductive health and rights.

The conference provides a strategic convening space for parliamentarians, who, as legislators, are critical in the fight to advance progressive laws and policies, eliminating discriminatory laws and policies, and advocating for increases to spending on critical sexual and reproductive health and rights issues – domestically and globally.

As part of Canada’s journey towards greater support for sexual and reproductive health and rights, the 2018 State of World Population Report and the IPCI Conference are opportunities to examine concepts of choice and reproductive rights domestically and globally.

“In Canada, realizing reproductive freedom requires equalizing access to abortion, including the abortion pill, cost-covered contraception, and quality sex-ed across all provinces and territories,” adds Prasad.

Action Canada is among the Canadian civil society organizations who are looking to Canada and all parliamentarians attending the upcoming conference to hold firm on their commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights and mobilize towards greater support for these issues as a community of champions.

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Media Contact
Ani Colekessian
[email protected]
613.241.4474 ext. 7

 

 

[Livestream] Abortion Rights Event at UN Human Rights Council!

In support of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, the Sexual Rights Initiative is organizing an event during the 39th regular session of the Human Rights Council.

Click here to download the invitation in PDF

The event will be held on September 13, 2018 from 1 PM to 2:30 PM at the Palais des Nations room XXV in Geneva and Livestreamed on the SRI Facebook page: www.facebook.com/SRInitiative

Panelists will highlight regional developments in abortion law and policy reform, shed light on regional commonalities and differences that have led to change, and illustrate the ways in which different stakeholders have used human rights law to develop innovative strategies to advance the right to access safe and legal abortion in their region. The event intends, through this exchange of practices and experiences, to inspire further action and collaboration among States, development partners, and civil society towards realizing abortion rights for all.

CART closed captioning and French and Spanish translation will be provided. 

Moderator

Varyanne Sika, Coalition of African Lesbians, Kenya

Confirmed Speakers

Rakshya Paudyal, Beyond Beijing Committee, Nepal
Victoria Pedrido, Akahatá, Argentina
Krystyna Kacpura, Federation for Women and Family Planning, Poland
Maeve Taylor, Irish Family Planning Association, Ireland

Sponsors

Sexual Rights Initiative
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
Akahata
ARROW
AWID
CREA
Beyond Beijing Committee
Coalition of African Lesbians
Center for Reproductive Rights
International Planned Parenthood Federation
Irish Family Planning Association
Federation for Women and Family Planning
Sexual and Reproductive Justice Coalition
Swedish Association for Sexuality Education – RFSU
Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights

Request for Sign-On: HRC39 Joint NGO statement on abortion rights

In support of the September 28 “Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion” Sexual Rights Initiative (which Action Canada is a part of), Center for Reproductive Rights, Ipas, the Asia-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, the Youth Coalition for Sexual Health and Rights and the Swedish Association for Sexuality and Education have developed a joint statement on abortion rights for delivery at the upcoming 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The focus of this year’s statement is on abortion right defenders (including service providers) and abortion stigma. This initiative builds on last year’s successful joint CSO statement to the Council when over 285 organizations signed on to the statement and we hope even more organizations across movements will voice their support this year!

The statement is available in English, Spanish, French and Russian:

The session runs from September 10th to 28th, and the most suitable Council agenda item for the statement would appear to be the general debate on the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, scheduled for Monday, September 24. A couple of requirements that need to be fulfilled include connecting the statement with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and observing the 1:30-minute limit for the delivery of the statement.

We invite groups and organisations to sign onto the statement by September 21:

  • If you have consultative status with ECOSOC and have a designated Geneva representative in the Indico system, please complete the attached form, email a signed copy to [email protected], cc or forward the email to [email protected] and we will add your name to the statement.
  • If your organization does not have consultative status with ECOSOC, please click here to fill out the sign in form: https://goo.gl/forms/mO7TW6cdkQFJI2XG2

Unfortunately, the UN will not accept endorsements by individuals. If you are not affiliated with an organization, you can show your support by helping to disseminate the statement far and wide.