22 August 2013

Sexual and reproductive health and rights must be prioritized in South asia

Parliamentarians from South Asia committed yesterday to prioritize people’s health and welfare through meeting their sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) needs, particularly those of women and young people.


Meeting in Bangkok, MPs discussed ways to reduce the unacceptably high maternal mortality rate in South Asian countries and how to tackle problems relating to Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Nepal having the highest birth rates among adolescents.


South Asian countries are lagging behind significantly in the achievement of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) Programme of Action and MPs, along with civil society groups such as conference sponsor the International Planned Parenthood Federation, believe that committing to sexual and health rights will bring effective benefits.


“Strengthened political will among parliamentarians is very crucial for the region to fully achieve the ICPD agenda,” said Mr. Ramon San Pascual, Executive Director of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD).


“The ICPD agenda elicits human rights-based policy changes that will improve the quality of life of every individual. Parliamentarians have a distinct role in crafting legislation and changing existing ones to achieve the ICPD agenda and advance sexual and reproductive health and rights.”


In the presence of Tewodros Melesse, Director General of IPPF, Ibrahim Zuhuree, Director in the SAARC Secretariat, parliamentarians from South Asia and CSO representatives, AFPPD and the IPPF South Asia Regional Office signed a Memorandum of Understanding to work together to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights for all and achieve IPPF’s Vision 2020.


Parliamentarians believe that the views, unique circumstances and needs of people of South Asia should be addressed at the Sixth Asia and Pacific Population Conference (APPC). They adopted a Statement of Commitment reflecting their full support on priority issues in the sub-region that are critical to be included in the APPC outcome document at the South Asia Consultation of Parliamentarians jointly organized by AFPPD and IPPF South Asia Regional Office with support from European Commission. 


ENDS    (Full Parliamentarian Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Statement attached)    August 21, 2013


Further information: John Hyde at AFPPD on +66 898723362 or (66 2) 219 2903-4;john@afppd.org


Reproduced with permission from AFPPD.  Visit their website at http://www.afppd.org

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