Sexual Rights

Sexual Rights refer to human rights related to sexuality that contribute to every person’s freedom and entitlements to live in dignity. Reproductive Rights are part of sexual rights and the government of every country in the world is required to respect, protect and fulfill these basic human rights.

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.

 

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

 

 

[Ottawa Event] Sexual & Reproductive Health & Rights: The Foundation for Gender Equality

A free public event presented by the Canadian Council for International Co-operation (CCIC) in partnership with Women Deliver and the Future Planning Initiative

Part of Women Deliver 2019 Mobilization Canada’s effort to engage Canadians and bring awareness about gender equality

The rights of girls and women to bodily autonomy and full sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) are in the spotlight like never before. From the #MeToo movement, to the referendum on abortion in Ireland, to new political attention in Canada– girls and women around the world are demanding and making change.

With the announcement of the Feminist International Assistance Policy in June 2017 and subsequent SRHR funding announcements, Canada has committed to leading global action in support of sexual and reproductive health and rights. Domestically, Canada is also making progress, but challenges remain.

The international community is now looking to Canada as a leader in this area. But are we up to the challenge?

Join us for a dynamic evening to discuss and learn about the importance of putting sexual and reproductive health and rights at the centre of the gender equality agenda—to advance the health, rights, and well-being of women and girls in Canada and around the world.

Event Programme:

6:00 – 7:00 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

7:00 – 8:30 Introductions, panels and closing remarks

8:30 – 9:30 Reception: CSO fair, refreshments and networking

Light snacks will be served, and a cash bar will be available during both receptions.

The program will include two lively panels, featuring SRHR experts from Canada and abroad as well as Canadian political representatives:

  • Gabrielle Bouchard, President, Quebec Women’s Federation
  • Aminata Bintu Wurie, Executive Coordinator, Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
  • Katja Iversen, President/CEO of Women Deliver

Moderator: Susan Ormiston, CBC Senior Correspondent

For more information, please visit the Public Event page on our website.

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook: #SRHRnow

[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

DATE AND TIME

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

LOCATION

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

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

[Event] Empowering Women in Emergencies

Sexual and reproductive healthcare in emergencies saves lives – just like food, water and shelter. Activists, parliamentarians and humanitarian actors discuss best practices and remaining gaps for upholding the right to sexual and reproductive health information and services in humanitarian settings.

Annual Report 2016-2017

Whether it’s been campaigning for universal cost coverage of medical abortion, launching a cutting-edge resource for teaching sexuality education in schools, securing a major investment in global SRHR from the government Canada, offering thousands of people the health information they are looking for, or supporting sexual and reproductive rights defenders around the world to hold their governments accountable, we’ve been working tirelessly to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in Canada and globally.

Read our Annual Report to learn about the significant strides we made in 2016-2017 »

Having trouble reading the report? Click here to download in PDF

An Open Letter Supporting Recent Changes to the Canada Summer Jobs program

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, Ms. May, Ms. Ouellet, Mr. Scheer, and Mr. Singh,

The undersigned organizations wholeheartedly support the recent changes made to the Canada Summer Jobs (CSJ) program, which seek to secure greater fulfillment of human rights in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.[1] We call on all political parties in Canada to do the same.

These changes align with Canada’s existing domestic and international human rights obligations, including to guarantee the right to security of the person, equality rights, the right to be free from discrimination (including discrimination on the basis of sex, sexual orientation and gender identity and expression) and the right to access accurate, scientific and non-judgemental health information (including information related to safe abortion care).

Significant misinformation has been widely circulated in the media about the nature of the attestation that is now required by organizations that wish to apply for federal government grants for student jobs through the CSJ program. We are confident that the safeguards introduced to the CSJ program are not discriminatory, and do not represent any infringement on freedom of religion, conscience, or any other rights that people in Canada enjoy. The attestation does not force any organization or institutions to, for example, engage in work to promote access to abortion or perform same-sex marriage if they do not wish to do so. Nor does it require any individual employee in any organization to change their religious beliefs. These new safeguards are designed to ensure that federal grant monies are not used to fund discriminatory activities that undermine human rights, including as they relate to bodily autonomy, sexuality, gender identity and expression.

Federal government grants should not be used to undermine human rights, including the legal right to safe abortion (an essential medical procedure), which has long been recognized in Canada.[2]  Indeed, no government funding should be made available to any organization or for any activities that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or are meant to undermine women’s rights, equality rights or any other human rights.  In regards to abortion, which has dominated conversation regarding recent changes to the CSJ, groups that oppose the right to access safe abortion services[3] should not receive federal grants to create or disseminate misleading information, or support activities, centres, networks or facilities that work to restrict, control, or manipulate information people receive about abortion.

The provision of accurate, non-discriminatory, non-biased, scientific and evidence-based information on sexual and reproductive health is part of the right to sexual and reproductive health and rights as defined in international human rights treaties, including the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) and the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). In upholding this right, States must “refrain from censoring, withholding or intentionally misrepresenting health-related information…”[4] In addressing violations of this right, Canada, like all States, must take active steps to address barriers in access to sexual and reproductive health information that include biased counselling and the dissemination of misinformation.

The Government of Canada has a responsibility to ensure that its policies, programs and budgets respect, protect and fulfil human rights. There is, therefore, no justification for federal grant monies to be made available for any organizations or activities that undermine any human rights.

The changes made to the CSJ program are grounded in respect for the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and Canada’s obligations under international human rights law. We welcome the steps taken to ensure that the rights of all people in Canada are protected and call on all political parties to support these changes.

The letter is open to sign-on from organizations across Canada (not individuals). If you are a Canadian organizations interested in signing the letter, please click here »

ORGANIZATIONAL SIGNATORIES

  1. Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights
  2. National Association of Women and the Law (NAWL)
  3. Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE)
  4. Catholics for Choice Canada
  5. Oxfam Canada
  6. Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions
  7. Fédération du Québec pour le Planning des Naissance (FQPN)
  8. Women’s Legal Education & Action Fund (LEAF)
  9. CATIE
  10. Alberta Society for the Promotion of Sexual Health
  11. Egale Canada Human Rights Trust
  12. YWCA Canada
  13. Canadian Health Coalition
  14. Trans Health Information Ottawa
  15. Ontario Council of Agencies Serving Immigrants (OCASI)
  16. CARE Canada
  17. National Abortion Federation (NAF) Canada
  18. Thunder Bay Emergency Shelter House
  19. Women’s Network PEI
  20. Canadian Federation of Students
  21. SHORE Centre
  22. Abortion Support Services Atlantic
  23. HN Pro-Choice Coalition
  24. The Canadian Centre for Gender & Sexual Diversity
  25. Women’s Wellness Within: An Organization Serving Criminalized Women
  26. Ten Oaks Project
  27. Pro-Choice Peterborough
  28. Media Action Media
  29. Well Woman Counselling
  30. Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada
  31. Women’s Human Rights Education Institute
  32. Alberta Pro-Choice Coalition
  33. Options for Sexual Health
  34. The Network of Black Business & Professional Women
  35. Humanists, Atheists & Agnostics of Manitoba
  36. Women and Gender Studies Department, University of Regina
  37. Sexual Health Lunenburg County
  38. Planned Parenthood Ottawa
  39. Abortion Access Now PEI
  40. PEI Abortion Rights Network
  41. Women’s Shelters Canada
  42. PEERS Alliance
  43. South Asian Legal Clinic of Ontario
  44. Chinese & Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
  45. Ubuntu Ottawa
  46. Interagency Coalition on AIDS and Development (ICAD)
  47. International Council of AIDS Service Organizations (ICASO)
  48. Positive Living North
  49. San Patten and Associates, Inc.
  50. Colour of Poverty – Colour of Change
  51. Social Rights Advocacy Centre
  52. HIV North Society
  53. Canadian Arab Federation
  54. Peel HIV/AIDS Network
  55. Canadian Research Institute for the Advancement of Women (CRIAW)
  56. Saskatoon Sexual Health
  57. Canadian Association of Elizabeth Fry Societies
  58. Health Initiative for Men (HIM)
  59. Ottawa Victim Services
  60. Society of Edmonton Atheists
  61. Kind Space
  62. Canadian Federation of University Women
  63. HIV / AIDS Legal Network
  64. Ottawa Rape Crisis Centre (ORCC)
  65. Women of Halton Action Movement
  66. Ottawa Coalition to End Violence Against Women
  67. Canadian Positive People Network
  68. Women’s College Hospital
  69. Inter Pares
  70. Sexuality Education Resource Centre (SERC)
  71. Canadian Association of Social Workers (CASW)
  72. Canadian Women’s Foundation
  73. University of Ottawa Centre for Health Law Policy & Ethics
  74. Planned Parenthood Toronto
  75. Nelson House Ottawa-Carleton
  76. Oasis Centre des Femmes
  77. The Gender and Sexuality Resource Centre, Carleton University
  78. Sheet Harbour Sexual Health Centre
  79. Friends of Medicare (Alberta)
  80. Informed Choice Coalition
  81. Mothers of Change of the National Capital Region
  82. Calgary Sexual Health Centre
  83. WAVAW Rape Crisis Centre
  84. Asian Community AIDS Services (ACAS)
  85. The AIDS Committee of Durham Region
  86. BullyingCanada Inc.
  87. Canadian Syrian Cultural Club
  88. Arabic Cultural Club of Ontario
  89. LGBT Youth Line
  90. S.O.S. Grossesse
  91. Réseau des Lesbiennes du Québec (RLQ)

MEDIA CONTACT
Ani Colekessian
613-241-4474 ext 7
[email protected]


[1] https://www.canada.ca/en/employment-social-development/services/funding/canada-summer-jobs/supplementary-information.html

[2] The right to safe abortion care is legally protected in Canada. The 1988 Supreme Court of Canada decision R. v. Morgentaler, found that the existing legislation surrounding the regulation of abortion in Canada violated section 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms by infringing upon a woman’s right to security of the person. Hearing arguments using section 15 (equality) of the Charter in 1989, the SCC determined that the only individual that could make the choice of terminating a pregnancy was the woman in question and that no other individual had a legal say in a woman’s choice to either carry a pregnancy to completion or to have an abortion, further enshrining reproductive rights within the Canadian legal context.

[3] https://www.arcc-cdac.ca/CPC-study/list-anti-choice-groups.pdf

[4] UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General Comment 14 on the right to health, 2000.