Category Archives: Campaigns and Events

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


  • 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 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.


October Update: Abortion, sex-ed, human rights

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

[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:

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. 


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


Sexual Rights Initiative
Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
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:

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.

Action Canada calls on UN to intervene in Ontario sex-ed crisis

As students across the Province of Ontario return to school today, Action Canada in collaboration with SHORE Centre and The 519 are submitting a formal request to UN Special Procedures, calling out the Government of Ontario’s attack on young people’s right to receive quality, evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education.

By reverting to a 20-year old curriculum, Ontario is violating young people’s human rights. Sexuality education that ignores issues like consent, sexual orientation and gender identity, same-sex marriage, and safety online puts young women and girls, young people with disabilities and LGBTQ youth at risk of experiencing violence, discrimination, harassment and negative health outcomes. Governments, as duty-bearers, have an obligation to ensure laws and policy comply with international human rights law.

The Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council are independent human rights experts who monitor the situation of human rights around the world, contribute to the development of international human rights standards, provide technical cooperation to governments and act on complaints of alleged human rights violations, asking that violations are prevented, stopped, investigated or that remedial action is taken.

Evidence being submitted to UN Special Procedures draws attention to the July 11, 2018 announcement from Ontario’s Minister of Education, Lisa Thompson, that an outdated 1998 sex-ed curriculum would be reinstated in Ontario. In doing so, students in Ontario will receive one of the most outdated sexuality education curricula in Canada, compared to other provinces and territories. The submission further raises serious concern regarding the threatening reprisal for teachers in Ontario found to be teaching the 2015 curriculum.

Are you as outraged as we are? We’ve got 7 actions you can take! Click here to TAKE ACTION!

[Winnipeg Event] Rights from the Start: Advancing sexual and reproductive health in a National Pharmacare Strategy

You are cordially invited to attend Rights From the Start, Advancing Sexual and Reproductive Health in a National Pharmacare Strategy, a panel discussion in honour of the Federal Provincial and Territorial Health Ministers’ Summit. While momentum builds for a National Pharmacare Strategy, a progressive coalition of health advocates are joining forces to ensure that a truly equitable pharmacare plan is implemented.

Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, the Canadian Health Coalition, the Canadian Federation of Nurses UnionsWomen’s Health Clinic, and Sexual Education Resource Centre Manitoba, among other health sector advocates, share an inclusive vision of a pharmacare strategy that supports the full realization of people’s sexual and reproductive rights.

Join us to discuss these policies and principles with Ministers of Health, nurses and other health professionals, policy makers, and advocates.

Click here to RSVP


Thu, 28 June 2018
5:30 PM – 7:30 PM CDT


The Fort Garry Hotel
222 Broadway
Assiniboine Room
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0R3

Light refreshments, wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

UN Reviews Canada’s Human Rights Record

Last week, Canada had its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the United Nations.

What is the UPR? It is a UN human rights process where each country’s human rights record is reviewed by other UN members, and it was Canada’s turn. The UPR is a powerful tool to hold governments accountable for sexual and reproductive rights violations, and to advocate for change.

Sexual and reproductive rights are human rights. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights worked tirelessly to prepare for Canada’s review, ensuring that violations of sexual and reproductive rights were raised. We prepared a report on Canada’s track record focusing on unequal abortion access, lack of comprehensive sexuality education, and the criminalization of sex work. We spent weeks visiting embassies here in Canada to ensure that UN member states would raise our issues during Canada’s UPR Review.

Click here to read our report for Canada’s UPR Review

Because of our advocacy work, this is the first UPR review in which Canada received recommendations related to sexual and reproductive health and rights! 

Here’s what countries are asking Canada to do: 

  • Ensure equal access to abortion
  • Ensure equal access to comprehensive sexuality education across provinces and territories
  • Support programs to advance gender equality and prevent gender-based violence
  • Step up measures to address systemic discrimination against LGBTQ2SI people and communities
  • Take steps to investigate and prosecute perpetrators of forced sterilization
  • Ensure universal access to health care

Click here for the full list of UPR30 sexual rights recommendations for all countries under review. 

Canada now has until September to decide which recommendations it will accept or reject. Last week in advance of the UPR Parliamentarians across parties, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, rose in Parliament to declare that abortion is a right.

Now our work begins to ensure our government stays true to their words when September comes. We will work with government officials across the country to improve not only access to abortion but also access to a comprehensive package of sexual and reproductive health information and services, including comprehensive sexuality education.