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trans people graphic
news item

| 20 November 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the Trans Day of Remembrance, IPPF remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost globally to transphobic violence. We salute the community which is severely affected by COVID-19, discrimination, political neglect, violence and exclusion from access to health services. IPPF demands an inclusive and safe society which recognizes everyone, including trans-people’s sexual freedom and reproductive rights. This year the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project added 350 trans and gender-diverse people to the list of people to be remembered worldwide. This project systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide. The world needs to wake up and understand that transphobia and its violence is a destructive aggression of social prejudice that denies people their human rights. IPPF works to change laws in countries to support gender and sexual diversity. We spotlight the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA/PKBI) who are fighting for to halt the Penal Code revisions that criminalizes and stigmatizes gender and sexually diverse persons, including trans people. IPPA produced a short film "Emak Menolak", highlighting the challenges of trans people in Indonesia.  IPPF will continue to fight and stand in solidarity with the trans community until their rights are realized and respected, because trans rights are human rights.   

trans people graphic
news_item

| 20 November 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the Trans Day of Remembrance, IPPF remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost globally to transphobic violence. We salute the community which is severely affected by COVID-19, discrimination, political neglect, violence and exclusion from access to health services. IPPF demands an inclusive and safe society which recognizes everyone, including trans-people’s sexual freedom and reproductive rights. This year the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project added 350 trans and gender-diverse people to the list of people to be remembered worldwide. This project systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide. The world needs to wake up and understand that transphobia and its violence is a destructive aggression of social prejudice that denies people their human rights. IPPF works to change laws in countries to support gender and sexual diversity. We spotlight the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA/PKBI) who are fighting for to halt the Penal Code revisions that criminalizes and stigmatizes gender and sexually diverse persons, including trans people. IPPA produced a short film "Emak Menolak", highlighting the challenges of trans people in Indonesia.  IPPF will continue to fight and stand in solidarity with the trans community until their rights are realized and respected, because trans rights are human rights.   

news item

| 15 September 2020

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region 5 August 2020 IPPF regrets the decision of the Western Hemisphere Region, taken by its Board, to withdraw from the Federation, and is deeply sorry to see a number of Member Associations from the region resign from IPPF. As the largest global Federation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, in more than 160 countries, IPPF is committed to continuing to work in all parts of the Americas to provide healthcare and fight for sexual and reproductive freedom for women, girls, men, boys and all people of all gender identities. This is more urgent than ever during a health pandemic and with continued opposition to sexual care and rights from repressive conservative forces in the Americas and around the world.  IPPF is completely open to all our current Western Hemisphere Region members remaining part of the global Federation while they also form a new regional relationship and pledges its continuous support to those in the region that have committed to remaining part of the Federation. Membership is voluntary and it is entirely up to individual members to decide on their own course. As a locally owned, globally connected movement however, IPPF has always believed that we are stronger together.  Over the last fifteen months, IPPF has been on a journey of reform. It has changed by choice, for choice. It has worked in partnership with members, donors and its regulator to develop best practice safeguarding policies and processes. It has dealt with and continues to deal with any cases of unacceptable behaviour. A safeguarding system is in place across the entire Federation to allow clients, staff, volunteers and any individual to report concerns confidentially. In November last year reforms to IPPF’s governance and funding model were agreed unanimously at a General Assembly of member delegates drawn from every region, including Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the Board of Western Hemisphere Region felt it could no longer support this new model. Discussions between the region’s Board and IPPF’s Board on a way forward had been ongoing. We are sorry these will not now continue.      IPPF has been a locally owned, globally connected Federation for 68 years, supporting all its members and the millions of women, girls and vulnerable clients they serve. That will not change, and we remain committed to working with members and partners across the globe.

news_item

| 05 August 2020

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region 5 August 2020 IPPF regrets the decision of the Western Hemisphere Region, taken by its Board, to withdraw from the Federation, and is deeply sorry to see a number of Member Associations from the region resign from IPPF. As the largest global Federation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, in more than 160 countries, IPPF is committed to continuing to work in all parts of the Americas to provide healthcare and fight for sexual and reproductive freedom for women, girls, men, boys and all people of all gender identities. This is more urgent than ever during a health pandemic and with continued opposition to sexual care and rights from repressive conservative forces in the Americas and around the world.  IPPF is completely open to all our current Western Hemisphere Region members remaining part of the global Federation while they also form a new regional relationship and pledges its continuous support to those in the region that have committed to remaining part of the Federation. Membership is voluntary and it is entirely up to individual members to decide on their own course. As a locally owned, globally connected movement however, IPPF has always believed that we are stronger together.  Over the last fifteen months, IPPF has been on a journey of reform. It has changed by choice, for choice. It has worked in partnership with members, donors and its regulator to develop best practice safeguarding policies and processes. It has dealt with and continues to deal with any cases of unacceptable behaviour. A safeguarding system is in place across the entire Federation to allow clients, staff, volunteers and any individual to report concerns confidentially. In November last year reforms to IPPF’s governance and funding model were agreed unanimously at a General Assembly of member delegates drawn from every region, including Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the Board of Western Hemisphere Region felt it could no longer support this new model. Discussions between the region’s Board and IPPF’s Board on a way forward had been ongoing. We are sorry these will not now continue.      IPPF has been a locally owned, globally connected Federation for 68 years, supporting all its members and the millions of women, girls and vulnerable clients they serve. That will not change, and we remain committed to working with members and partners across the globe.

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!
news item

| 22 June 2020

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!

While the global attention and efforts are focused on dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic, the ever-present human rights crisis named Gender Based Violence (GBV) is steadily peaking in its incidence and intensity!  The strategies to effectively delay the transmission of COVID 19 virus have led to lockdowns, loss of incomes, lack of access to many clinical services (even when these are essential services), lack of psychosocial support and multiple types of deprivations which lead to an overall human rights violation on a large scale. Family Planning Association of India has developed multiple types of interventions to reach out to these survivors and support them through existing mechanisms and designing new strategies. The incidence of violence is significantly increasing even after COVID 19 measures are relaxed, GBV intervention programmes will need to be redesigned and recalibrated to ensure that we reach the most underserved, who may be hidden in plain sight! Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India Tailoring Responses, Tailoring Screening Tools! In India, the reported incidences of violence received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) doubled[1] during the lockdown (started in last week of March 2020). As complaints surged, the NCW announced a WhatsApp number to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes. Triggered by these increased cases due to the pandemic, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has moved swiftly to adapt its services to capture and respond to the specific forms of violence being reported. Gender based Violence screening and counselling is a standard practice in FPAI clinics, an integral part of the IPPF wide Integrated Package of Essential Services (IPES). Based on experiences shared by branches; front line workers and community mobilisers about women and girls experiencing newer forms of violence, FPAI has tailored its GBV screening tool to better meet the needs of the survivors. The adapted ‘GBV Screening -COVID 19 Response 2020’ form lists the new forms of violence and coercion being reported in the context of the pandemic. These pertain to: Lack of availability of essential commodities during the lockdown Forced to go out of the house for errands thereby increasing the risk of infection Threatened to be exposed to the infection Prevented from adopting prevention measures like use of mask, hand sanitizer Forced to adopt unscientific methods of infection prevention      FPAI intends to generate evidence against the shifting forms of violence and tailor its service delivery to best meet the needs of survivors. The data being provincially collected for the period April to July 2020 is currently being analyzed.  Counsellors are being trained using virtual forums to build their capacities to provide information and referral services on the new forms of violence being reported by women and girls. [1] https://www.epw.in/engage/article/covid-19-domestic-abuse-and-violence-where-do Keeping the Spotlight on One of the first and only organization of its kind in Bhutan, RENEW is dedicated to ensuring that the rights of women and families remain a priority and has taken a leadership role for the COVID response in the country. Setting the priority early, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck RENEW Patron endorsed that the pandemic response must address gender- based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Such a pronouncement at the highest echelons of the government ensured that health sector response to gender-based violence services continue to receive priority throughout the crisis situation. Recognizing the need to build capacities of service providers and sensitizing the most vulnerable populations about the pandemic, RENEW in collaboration with Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan is developing a module on COVID 19 and Gender based Violence. This module includes range of COVID19 related information including how to stay safe at home and at the facility (shelter home), provision of legal, health and economic support and psychological first aid.  The module comes at an appropriate time wherein evidence from the National Commission of Women and Children has already alerted about an increase in GBV cases which is further corroborated by data from RENEW- an increase of almost 20% cases handled by the counselling center. Building on its coalition work with other partners in the country, notably the UN agencies, RENEW is part of the National Contingency Plan on Gender Based Violence developed in response to COVID 19.  The significance of the National Plan lies in the fact that it coordinates multi agency response avoiding duplication with thematic leads identified for each core sector. At the same time, it amplifies efforts; pools resources towards a common agreed goal and priorities GBV response to the pandemic. Besides RENEW, UNDP, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNFPA, Royal Court of Justice, Royal Bhutan Police and the National Commission on Women and Children are key members of this Plan. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional experience exposing our vulnerability to the social issues such as sexual and reproductive health, mental health and abuse caused by gender-based violence. It has opened our eyes to understand the underlying complexities and the need for more specialized counseling and protection services. Post COVID-19 we look forward to a new world and a new era better prepared to address GBV."  Ms Tshering Dolkar, Executive Director, RENEW A COVID19 ready GBV responsive system On an average, one in four women experience emotional, physical, or sexual violence in Pakistan accounting for approximately eight million women grappling with various forms of violence every year[1]. The risk of violence has further increased as economic and social pressures mount amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protection and response services are also under pressure[2]. As health systems try to respond to the pandemic, collaborative partnerships show how best this can be achieved. Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan has been at the forefront both for responding to the COVID crisis, as well as to GBV.  Close coordination and relationships with all Provincial Women Development Departments, critical presence in Taskforce like the LSBE Task Force (Government of Punjab) and coalitions such as  National Parliamentarians Caucus, Pakistan Alliance for Post Abortion Care (PAPAC), National Youth Network, Alliance Against Child Marriage have been mobilized to keep the focus on GBV and ensure institutional response. Such coalesced efforts have resulted in the government, despite facing challenges in resources, to keep national helplines operational and publicizing it through various mediums so that it reaches the ones who need it the most.  [1] PDHS 2017-2018 [2] Connecting women with safety in Pakistan at a time of COVID-19 – and beyond, 19 April 2020, UNFPA A critical link between survivors and services The COVID 19 pandemic has compromised access to SRH information and education as social distancing measures and restrictions prevent the use of traditional face-to-face interaction between providers and clients. Under such circumstances, digital interventions through a range of channels and platforms including SMS, applications , social media, and hotlines characterize the new face of service delivery. Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB), like many other Member Associations in the South Asia Region has quickly adapted to this change.  It has invested in leveraging changes in service delivery as a response to the COVID-19 situation by expanding its teleconsultation and counselling for SRH and GBV services. These services are operational in all 21 clinics of FPAB. Besides, information on SRH services including contraception, abortion (both MMR and surgical); linkages to GBV services including referrals comprise an essential component. FPAB has effectively leveraged its cadre of committed 1260 Reproductive Health Promoters (RHPs) who function as frontline workers providing information and contraceptives to communities. The RHPs who are drawn from the same community where they function play an important role in linking women to these services. It is through their routine visits (though reduced in number now and with full protective measures) that they create awareness in the community on tele consultation facility available in clinics in their respective areas for GBV survivors. Given the trust and continued relationship that the RHPs have with the survivors in their community, many women who need such support services have been linked to the clinic and onward to referral services as required. For referral services, FPAB has relied on its partnership with organisations like Bangladesh Legal Services Authority, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha and other NGO partners. A Hotline service for providing e-counselling for GBV and SRH has been set up as a COVID specific response. These calls are handled by trained counsellors of the clinics. There are ongoing efforts to strengthen these services and secure more resources to transition from a central hotline service to a more decentralized SDP level service.

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!
news_item

| 22 June 2020

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!

While the global attention and efforts are focused on dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic, the ever-present human rights crisis named Gender Based Violence (GBV) is steadily peaking in its incidence and intensity!  The strategies to effectively delay the transmission of COVID 19 virus have led to lockdowns, loss of incomes, lack of access to many clinical services (even when these are essential services), lack of psychosocial support and multiple types of deprivations which lead to an overall human rights violation on a large scale. Family Planning Association of India has developed multiple types of interventions to reach out to these survivors and support them through existing mechanisms and designing new strategies. The incidence of violence is significantly increasing even after COVID 19 measures are relaxed, GBV intervention programmes will need to be redesigned and recalibrated to ensure that we reach the most underserved, who may be hidden in plain sight! Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India Tailoring Responses, Tailoring Screening Tools! In India, the reported incidences of violence received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) doubled[1] during the lockdown (started in last week of March 2020). As complaints surged, the NCW announced a WhatsApp number to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes. Triggered by these increased cases due to the pandemic, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has moved swiftly to adapt its services to capture and respond to the specific forms of violence being reported. Gender based Violence screening and counselling is a standard practice in FPAI clinics, an integral part of the IPPF wide Integrated Package of Essential Services (IPES). Based on experiences shared by branches; front line workers and community mobilisers about women and girls experiencing newer forms of violence, FPAI has tailored its GBV screening tool to better meet the needs of the survivors. The adapted ‘GBV Screening -COVID 19 Response 2020’ form lists the new forms of violence and coercion being reported in the context of the pandemic. These pertain to: Lack of availability of essential commodities during the lockdown Forced to go out of the house for errands thereby increasing the risk of infection Threatened to be exposed to the infection Prevented from adopting prevention measures like use of mask, hand sanitizer Forced to adopt unscientific methods of infection prevention      FPAI intends to generate evidence against the shifting forms of violence and tailor its service delivery to best meet the needs of survivors. The data being provincially collected for the period April to July 2020 is currently being analyzed.  Counsellors are being trained using virtual forums to build their capacities to provide information and referral services on the new forms of violence being reported by women and girls. [1] https://www.epw.in/engage/article/covid-19-domestic-abuse-and-violence-where-do Keeping the Spotlight on One of the first and only organization of its kind in Bhutan, RENEW is dedicated to ensuring that the rights of women and families remain a priority and has taken a leadership role for the COVID response in the country. Setting the priority early, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck RENEW Patron endorsed that the pandemic response must address gender- based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Such a pronouncement at the highest echelons of the government ensured that health sector response to gender-based violence services continue to receive priority throughout the crisis situation. Recognizing the need to build capacities of service providers and sensitizing the most vulnerable populations about the pandemic, RENEW in collaboration with Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan is developing a module on COVID 19 and Gender based Violence. This module includes range of COVID19 related information including how to stay safe at home and at the facility (shelter home), provision of legal, health and economic support and psychological first aid.  The module comes at an appropriate time wherein evidence from the National Commission of Women and Children has already alerted about an increase in GBV cases which is further corroborated by data from RENEW- an increase of almost 20% cases handled by the counselling center. Building on its coalition work with other partners in the country, notably the UN agencies, RENEW is part of the National Contingency Plan on Gender Based Violence developed in response to COVID 19.  The significance of the National Plan lies in the fact that it coordinates multi agency response avoiding duplication with thematic leads identified for each core sector. At the same time, it amplifies efforts; pools resources towards a common agreed goal and priorities GBV response to the pandemic. Besides RENEW, UNDP, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNFPA, Royal Court of Justice, Royal Bhutan Police and the National Commission on Women and Children are key members of this Plan. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional experience exposing our vulnerability to the social issues such as sexual and reproductive health, mental health and abuse caused by gender-based violence. It has opened our eyes to understand the underlying complexities and the need for more specialized counseling and protection services. Post COVID-19 we look forward to a new world and a new era better prepared to address GBV."  Ms Tshering Dolkar, Executive Director, RENEW A COVID19 ready GBV responsive system On an average, one in four women experience emotional, physical, or sexual violence in Pakistan accounting for approximately eight million women grappling with various forms of violence every year[1]. The risk of violence has further increased as economic and social pressures mount amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protection and response services are also under pressure[2]. As health systems try to respond to the pandemic, collaborative partnerships show how best this can be achieved. Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan has been at the forefront both for responding to the COVID crisis, as well as to GBV.  Close coordination and relationships with all Provincial Women Development Departments, critical presence in Taskforce like the LSBE Task Force (Government of Punjab) and coalitions such as  National Parliamentarians Caucus, Pakistan Alliance for Post Abortion Care (PAPAC), National Youth Network, Alliance Against Child Marriage have been mobilized to keep the focus on GBV and ensure institutional response. Such coalesced efforts have resulted in the government, despite facing challenges in resources, to keep national helplines operational and publicizing it through various mediums so that it reaches the ones who need it the most.  [1] PDHS 2017-2018 [2] Connecting women with safety in Pakistan at a time of COVID-19 – and beyond, 19 April 2020, UNFPA A critical link between survivors and services The COVID 19 pandemic has compromised access to SRH information and education as social distancing measures and restrictions prevent the use of traditional face-to-face interaction between providers and clients. Under such circumstances, digital interventions through a range of channels and platforms including SMS, applications , social media, and hotlines characterize the new face of service delivery. Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB), like many other Member Associations in the South Asia Region has quickly adapted to this change.  It has invested in leveraging changes in service delivery as a response to the COVID-19 situation by expanding its teleconsultation and counselling for SRH and GBV services. These services are operational in all 21 clinics of FPAB. Besides, information on SRH services including contraception, abortion (both MMR and surgical); linkages to GBV services including referrals comprise an essential component. FPAB has effectively leveraged its cadre of committed 1260 Reproductive Health Promoters (RHPs) who function as frontline workers providing information and contraceptives to communities. The RHPs who are drawn from the same community where they function play an important role in linking women to these services. It is through their routine visits (though reduced in number now and with full protective measures) that they create awareness in the community on tele consultation facility available in clinics in their respective areas for GBV survivors. Given the trust and continued relationship that the RHPs have with the survivors in their community, many women who need such support services have been linked to the clinic and onward to referral services as required. For referral services, FPAB has relied on its partnership with organisations like Bangladesh Legal Services Authority, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha and other NGO partners. A Hotline service for providing e-counselling for GBV and SRH has been set up as a COVID specific response. These calls are handled by trained counsellors of the clinics. There are ongoing efforts to strengthen these services and secure more resources to transition from a central hotline service to a more decentralized SDP level service.

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19
news item

| 05 August 2020

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19

New data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reveals how opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) around the world are attempting to use the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to try to push back against progressive reforms.  The latest IPPF survey of its worldwide membership on COVID-19 reveals that opponents of SRHR are employing a range of tactics to try to undermine sexual and reproductive rights. This includes spreading misinformation (18 members), framing the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce traditional values (15), increasing discrimination against vulnerable populations (10), pushing for regressive measures against SRHR (eight) and blocking progressive debates on SRHR laws and policies (seven). One member reported social media platforms being used to spread a message that “COVID-19 is the answer from God on abortion.” Another reported opposition attempting to prevent the passage of a bill covering violence against women through parliament, claiming the pandemic was a “Dictate from the West” and passage of the bill contrary to Sharia Law.  The spreading of false information includes: The distribution of fake leaflets with health ministry logos among vulnerable groups, stating they are not at risk from COVID-19. The use of social media messages to claim safe abortion services will infect women with COVID-19. The spread of anti-contraception messages mixed in with disinformation about COVID-19 Attempts to block or slow legislature and policies include limiting progress in the passage of a bill to abolish anti-abortion laws and attempts to exclude abortion from national guidelines on sexual and reproductive care during the pandemic. One member reported that political opponents of sexual and reproductive rights were using “all communication and legislative spaces to validate discourses that position women in domestic tasks” by claiming: “the pandemic has allowed us to reassess the important role that women play in their homes for families.” IPPF members are resisting this opposition and defending laws and policies that support SRHR. 61 members report working with governments to ensure continuation of sexual and reproductive health provision service provision and 31 say they have contributed to policies or changes in legislation in support or defence of SRHR and gender equality since January 2020. 59 members reported advocating to ensure the continuation of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for under-served and vulnerable groups during the pandemic and 54 members said they were advocating for ways to combat sexual and gender-based violence, which threatens more women and girls in lockdown.  The pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. 52 members rated the reduction of their capacity to deliver services as “critical or severe” – meaning at least 50 percent of their operations had been reduced or impacted. Only two members, less than one per cent, in countries with small numbers of COVID-19 infections, reported no impact on them. Other headlines include: 19 members report having to dismiss or suspend staff. 32 members say they are facing stockouts of short-acting contraceptives such as the oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and condoms. 26 members report stockouts of long-acting contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants. 5,440 service delivery points across all IPPF members are closed, 11 per cent of the total number of all IPPF service delivery points. 238 static clinics, which provide a wide range of services, remain closed. 546 were reported closed in IPPF’s March survey of members. Only eight members are still able to delivery comprehensive sexuality education in schools, even with social distancing. 67 members are now delivering comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social platforms.  IPPF’s Director General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “This data shows how hard IPPF members are working to find ways to overcome the impact of COVID-19, but also how severe the impact remains.  Reopening hundreds of static clinics is a huge achievement, as is the change by members to deliver vitally needs comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social channels when many schools remain closed. However innovative IPPF members are, they cannot hope to offset the effect of this pandemic without additional support. This can only be addressed with the effective supply of commodities, to ensure stockouts are avoided and access to services for all IPPF clients is continued.  Support from governments is also critical, in particular in responding to the opposition who are trying to use the cover of COVID-19 to chip away at sexual and reproductive rights. Extremist views which seek to rob women and girls of their human rights and undermine their ability to access vital sexual and reproductive healthcare must be resisted.  Many governments do already take a positive stand in defence of women and girls and have gone further during this pandemic to support access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as access to telemedicine. IPPF calls on all governments to adopt such sensible and practical measures to make it easier for women and girls to get the care they need so badly in these difficult times, and to ignore the voices of coercive opponents who seek to impose their radical views on others.”

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19
news_item

| 08 June 2020

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19

New data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reveals how opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) around the world are attempting to use the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to try to push back against progressive reforms.  The latest IPPF survey of its worldwide membership on COVID-19 reveals that opponents of SRHR are employing a range of tactics to try to undermine sexual and reproductive rights. This includes spreading misinformation (18 members), framing the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce traditional values (15), increasing discrimination against vulnerable populations (10), pushing for regressive measures against SRHR (eight) and blocking progressive debates on SRHR laws and policies (seven). One member reported social media platforms being used to spread a message that “COVID-19 is the answer from God on abortion.” Another reported opposition attempting to prevent the passage of a bill covering violence against women through parliament, claiming the pandemic was a “Dictate from the West” and passage of the bill contrary to Sharia Law.  The spreading of false information includes: The distribution of fake leaflets with health ministry logos among vulnerable groups, stating they are not at risk from COVID-19. The use of social media messages to claim safe abortion services will infect women with COVID-19. The spread of anti-contraception messages mixed in with disinformation about COVID-19 Attempts to block or slow legislature and policies include limiting progress in the passage of a bill to abolish anti-abortion laws and attempts to exclude abortion from national guidelines on sexual and reproductive care during the pandemic. One member reported that political opponents of sexual and reproductive rights were using “all communication and legislative spaces to validate discourses that position women in domestic tasks” by claiming: “the pandemic has allowed us to reassess the important role that women play in their homes for families.” IPPF members are resisting this opposition and defending laws and policies that support SRHR. 61 members report working with governments to ensure continuation of sexual and reproductive health provision service provision and 31 say they have contributed to policies or changes in legislation in support or defence of SRHR and gender equality since January 2020. 59 members reported advocating to ensure the continuation of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for under-served and vulnerable groups during the pandemic and 54 members said they were advocating for ways to combat sexual and gender-based violence, which threatens more women and girls in lockdown.  The pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. 52 members rated the reduction of their capacity to deliver services as “critical or severe” – meaning at least 50 percent of their operations had been reduced or impacted. Only two members, less than one per cent, in countries with small numbers of COVID-19 infections, reported no impact on them. Other headlines include: 19 members report having to dismiss or suspend staff. 32 members say they are facing stockouts of short-acting contraceptives such as the oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and condoms. 26 members report stockouts of long-acting contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants. 5,440 service delivery points across all IPPF members are closed, 11 per cent of the total number of all IPPF service delivery points. 238 static clinics, which provide a wide range of services, remain closed. 546 were reported closed in IPPF’s March survey of members. Only eight members are still able to delivery comprehensive sexuality education in schools, even with social distancing. 67 members are now delivering comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social platforms.  IPPF’s Director General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “This data shows how hard IPPF members are working to find ways to overcome the impact of COVID-19, but also how severe the impact remains.  Reopening hundreds of static clinics is a huge achievement, as is the change by members to deliver vitally needs comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social channels when many schools remain closed. However innovative IPPF members are, they cannot hope to offset the effect of this pandemic without additional support. This can only be addressed with the effective supply of commodities, to ensure stockouts are avoided and access to services for all IPPF clients is continued.  Support from governments is also critical, in particular in responding to the opposition who are trying to use the cover of COVID-19 to chip away at sexual and reproductive rights. Extremist views which seek to rob women and girls of their human rights and undermine their ability to access vital sexual and reproductive healthcare must be resisted.  Many governments do already take a positive stand in defence of women and girls and have gone further during this pandemic to support access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as access to telemedicine. IPPF calls on all governments to adopt such sensible and practical measures to make it easier for women and girls to get the care they need so badly in these difficult times, and to ignore the voices of coercive opponents who seek to impose their radical views on others.”

news item

| 29 May 2020

SAFE ABORTION SERVICES AMID COVID19 - AGILE, ADAPTIVE & INNOVATIVE RESPONSE FROM SOUTH ASIA

       

news_item

| 27 May 2020

SAFE ABORTION SERVICES AMID COVID19 - AGILE, ADAPTIVE & INNOVATIVE RESPONSE FROM SOUTH ASIA

       

news item

| 24 April 2020

THROUGH THICK AND THIN COMMITTED TO RESPOND

news_item

| 24 April 2020

THROUGH THICK AND THIN COMMITTED TO RESPOND

trans people graphic
news item

| 20 November 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the Trans Day of Remembrance, IPPF remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost globally to transphobic violence. We salute the community which is severely affected by COVID-19, discrimination, political neglect, violence and exclusion from access to health services. IPPF demands an inclusive and safe society which recognizes everyone, including trans-people’s sexual freedom and reproductive rights. This year the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project added 350 trans and gender-diverse people to the list of people to be remembered worldwide. This project systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide. The world needs to wake up and understand that transphobia and its violence is a destructive aggression of social prejudice that denies people their human rights. IPPF works to change laws in countries to support gender and sexual diversity. We spotlight the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA/PKBI) who are fighting for to halt the Penal Code revisions that criminalizes and stigmatizes gender and sexually diverse persons, including trans people. IPPA produced a short film "Emak Menolak", highlighting the challenges of trans people in Indonesia.  IPPF will continue to fight and stand in solidarity with the trans community until their rights are realized and respected, because trans rights are human rights.   

trans people graphic
news_item

| 20 November 2020

Transgender Day of Remembrance

On the Trans Day of Remembrance, IPPF remembers the transgender people whose lives have been lost globally to transphobic violence. We salute the community which is severely affected by COVID-19, discrimination, political neglect, violence and exclusion from access to health services. IPPF demands an inclusive and safe society which recognizes everyone, including trans-people’s sexual freedom and reproductive rights. This year the Trans Murder Monitoring (TMM) project added 350 trans and gender-diverse people to the list of people to be remembered worldwide. This project systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of trans and gender-diverse people worldwide. The world needs to wake up and understand that transphobia and its violence is a destructive aggression of social prejudice that denies people their human rights. IPPF works to change laws in countries to support gender and sexual diversity. We spotlight the Indonesian Planned Parenthood Association (IPPA/PKBI) who are fighting for to halt the Penal Code revisions that criminalizes and stigmatizes gender and sexually diverse persons, including trans people. IPPA produced a short film "Emak Menolak", highlighting the challenges of trans people in Indonesia.  IPPF will continue to fight and stand in solidarity with the trans community until their rights are realized and respected, because trans rights are human rights.   

news item

| 15 September 2020

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region 5 August 2020 IPPF regrets the decision of the Western Hemisphere Region, taken by its Board, to withdraw from the Federation, and is deeply sorry to see a number of Member Associations from the region resign from IPPF. As the largest global Federation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, in more than 160 countries, IPPF is committed to continuing to work in all parts of the Americas to provide healthcare and fight for sexual and reproductive freedom for women, girls, men, boys and all people of all gender identities. This is more urgent than ever during a health pandemic and with continued opposition to sexual care and rights from repressive conservative forces in the Americas and around the world.  IPPF is completely open to all our current Western Hemisphere Region members remaining part of the global Federation while they also form a new regional relationship and pledges its continuous support to those in the region that have committed to remaining part of the Federation. Membership is voluntary and it is entirely up to individual members to decide on their own course. As a locally owned, globally connected movement however, IPPF has always believed that we are stronger together.  Over the last fifteen months, IPPF has been on a journey of reform. It has changed by choice, for choice. It has worked in partnership with members, donors and its regulator to develop best practice safeguarding policies and processes. It has dealt with and continues to deal with any cases of unacceptable behaviour. A safeguarding system is in place across the entire Federation to allow clients, staff, volunteers and any individual to report concerns confidentially. In November last year reforms to IPPF’s governance and funding model were agreed unanimously at a General Assembly of member delegates drawn from every region, including Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the Board of Western Hemisphere Region felt it could no longer support this new model. Discussions between the region’s Board and IPPF’s Board on a way forward had been ongoing. We are sorry these will not now continue.      IPPF has been a locally owned, globally connected Federation for 68 years, supporting all its members and the millions of women, girls and vulnerable clients they serve. That will not change, and we remain committed to working with members and partners across the globe.

news_item

| 05 August 2020

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region

IPPF statement on Western Hemisphere Region 5 August 2020 IPPF regrets the decision of the Western Hemisphere Region, taken by its Board, to withdraw from the Federation, and is deeply sorry to see a number of Member Associations from the region resign from IPPF. As the largest global Federation working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, in more than 160 countries, IPPF is committed to continuing to work in all parts of the Americas to provide healthcare and fight for sexual and reproductive freedom for women, girls, men, boys and all people of all gender identities. This is more urgent than ever during a health pandemic and with continued opposition to sexual care and rights from repressive conservative forces in the Americas and around the world.  IPPF is completely open to all our current Western Hemisphere Region members remaining part of the global Federation while they also form a new regional relationship and pledges its continuous support to those in the region that have committed to remaining part of the Federation. Membership is voluntary and it is entirely up to individual members to decide on their own course. As a locally owned, globally connected movement however, IPPF has always believed that we are stronger together.  Over the last fifteen months, IPPF has been on a journey of reform. It has changed by choice, for choice. It has worked in partnership with members, donors and its regulator to develop best practice safeguarding policies and processes. It has dealt with and continues to deal with any cases of unacceptable behaviour. A safeguarding system is in place across the entire Federation to allow clients, staff, volunteers and any individual to report concerns confidentially. In November last year reforms to IPPF’s governance and funding model were agreed unanimously at a General Assembly of member delegates drawn from every region, including Western Hemisphere. Unfortunately, the Board of Western Hemisphere Region felt it could no longer support this new model. Discussions between the region’s Board and IPPF’s Board on a way forward had been ongoing. We are sorry these will not now continue.      IPPF has been a locally owned, globally connected Federation for 68 years, supporting all its members and the millions of women, girls and vulnerable clients they serve. That will not change, and we remain committed to working with members and partners across the globe.

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!
news item

| 22 June 2020

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!

While the global attention and efforts are focused on dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic, the ever-present human rights crisis named Gender Based Violence (GBV) is steadily peaking in its incidence and intensity!  The strategies to effectively delay the transmission of COVID 19 virus have led to lockdowns, loss of incomes, lack of access to many clinical services (even when these are essential services), lack of psychosocial support and multiple types of deprivations which lead to an overall human rights violation on a large scale. Family Planning Association of India has developed multiple types of interventions to reach out to these survivors and support them through existing mechanisms and designing new strategies. The incidence of violence is significantly increasing even after COVID 19 measures are relaxed, GBV intervention programmes will need to be redesigned and recalibrated to ensure that we reach the most underserved, who may be hidden in plain sight! Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India Tailoring Responses, Tailoring Screening Tools! In India, the reported incidences of violence received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) doubled[1] during the lockdown (started in last week of March 2020). As complaints surged, the NCW announced a WhatsApp number to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes. Triggered by these increased cases due to the pandemic, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has moved swiftly to adapt its services to capture and respond to the specific forms of violence being reported. Gender based Violence screening and counselling is a standard practice in FPAI clinics, an integral part of the IPPF wide Integrated Package of Essential Services (IPES). Based on experiences shared by branches; front line workers and community mobilisers about women and girls experiencing newer forms of violence, FPAI has tailored its GBV screening tool to better meet the needs of the survivors. The adapted ‘GBV Screening -COVID 19 Response 2020’ form lists the new forms of violence and coercion being reported in the context of the pandemic. These pertain to: Lack of availability of essential commodities during the lockdown Forced to go out of the house for errands thereby increasing the risk of infection Threatened to be exposed to the infection Prevented from adopting prevention measures like use of mask, hand sanitizer Forced to adopt unscientific methods of infection prevention      FPAI intends to generate evidence against the shifting forms of violence and tailor its service delivery to best meet the needs of survivors. The data being provincially collected for the period April to July 2020 is currently being analyzed.  Counsellors are being trained using virtual forums to build their capacities to provide information and referral services on the new forms of violence being reported by women and girls. [1] https://www.epw.in/engage/article/covid-19-domestic-abuse-and-violence-where-do Keeping the Spotlight on One of the first and only organization of its kind in Bhutan, RENEW is dedicated to ensuring that the rights of women and families remain a priority and has taken a leadership role for the COVID response in the country. Setting the priority early, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck RENEW Patron endorsed that the pandemic response must address gender- based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Such a pronouncement at the highest echelons of the government ensured that health sector response to gender-based violence services continue to receive priority throughout the crisis situation. Recognizing the need to build capacities of service providers and sensitizing the most vulnerable populations about the pandemic, RENEW in collaboration with Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan is developing a module on COVID 19 and Gender based Violence. This module includes range of COVID19 related information including how to stay safe at home and at the facility (shelter home), provision of legal, health and economic support and psychological first aid.  The module comes at an appropriate time wherein evidence from the National Commission of Women and Children has already alerted about an increase in GBV cases which is further corroborated by data from RENEW- an increase of almost 20% cases handled by the counselling center. Building on its coalition work with other partners in the country, notably the UN agencies, RENEW is part of the National Contingency Plan on Gender Based Violence developed in response to COVID 19.  The significance of the National Plan lies in the fact that it coordinates multi agency response avoiding duplication with thematic leads identified for each core sector. At the same time, it amplifies efforts; pools resources towards a common agreed goal and priorities GBV response to the pandemic. Besides RENEW, UNDP, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNFPA, Royal Court of Justice, Royal Bhutan Police and the National Commission on Women and Children are key members of this Plan. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional experience exposing our vulnerability to the social issues such as sexual and reproductive health, mental health and abuse caused by gender-based violence. It has opened our eyes to understand the underlying complexities and the need for more specialized counseling and protection services. Post COVID-19 we look forward to a new world and a new era better prepared to address GBV."  Ms Tshering Dolkar, Executive Director, RENEW A COVID19 ready GBV responsive system On an average, one in four women experience emotional, physical, or sexual violence in Pakistan accounting for approximately eight million women grappling with various forms of violence every year[1]. The risk of violence has further increased as economic and social pressures mount amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protection and response services are also under pressure[2]. As health systems try to respond to the pandemic, collaborative partnerships show how best this can be achieved. Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan has been at the forefront both for responding to the COVID crisis, as well as to GBV.  Close coordination and relationships with all Provincial Women Development Departments, critical presence in Taskforce like the LSBE Task Force (Government of Punjab) and coalitions such as  National Parliamentarians Caucus, Pakistan Alliance for Post Abortion Care (PAPAC), National Youth Network, Alliance Against Child Marriage have been mobilized to keep the focus on GBV and ensure institutional response. Such coalesced efforts have resulted in the government, despite facing challenges in resources, to keep national helplines operational and publicizing it through various mediums so that it reaches the ones who need it the most.  [1] PDHS 2017-2018 [2] Connecting women with safety in Pakistan at a time of COVID-19 – and beyond, 19 April 2020, UNFPA A critical link between survivors and services The COVID 19 pandemic has compromised access to SRH information and education as social distancing measures and restrictions prevent the use of traditional face-to-face interaction between providers and clients. Under such circumstances, digital interventions through a range of channels and platforms including SMS, applications , social media, and hotlines characterize the new face of service delivery. Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB), like many other Member Associations in the South Asia Region has quickly adapted to this change.  It has invested in leveraging changes in service delivery as a response to the COVID-19 situation by expanding its teleconsultation and counselling for SRH and GBV services. These services are operational in all 21 clinics of FPAB. Besides, information on SRH services including contraception, abortion (both MMR and surgical); linkages to GBV services including referrals comprise an essential component. FPAB has effectively leveraged its cadre of committed 1260 Reproductive Health Promoters (RHPs) who function as frontline workers providing information and contraceptives to communities. The RHPs who are drawn from the same community where they function play an important role in linking women to these services. It is through their routine visits (though reduced in number now and with full protective measures) that they create awareness in the community on tele consultation facility available in clinics in their respective areas for GBV survivors. Given the trust and continued relationship that the RHPs have with the survivors in their community, many women who need such support services have been linked to the clinic and onward to referral services as required. For referral services, FPAB has relied on its partnership with organisations like Bangladesh Legal Services Authority, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha and other NGO partners. A Hotline service for providing e-counselling for GBV and SRH has been set up as a COVID specific response. These calls are handled by trained counsellors of the clinics. There are ongoing efforts to strengthen these services and secure more resources to transition from a central hotline service to a more decentralized SDP level service.

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!
news_item

| 22 June 2020

Gender Based Violence- The shadow pandemic within a pandemic!

While the global attention and efforts are focused on dealing with the COVID 19 pandemic, the ever-present human rights crisis named Gender Based Violence (GBV) is steadily peaking in its incidence and intensity!  The strategies to effectively delay the transmission of COVID 19 virus have led to lockdowns, loss of incomes, lack of access to many clinical services (even when these are essential services), lack of psychosocial support and multiple types of deprivations which lead to an overall human rights violation on a large scale. Family Planning Association of India has developed multiple types of interventions to reach out to these survivors and support them through existing mechanisms and designing new strategies. The incidence of violence is significantly increasing even after COVID 19 measures are relaxed, GBV intervention programmes will need to be redesigned and recalibrated to ensure that we reach the most underserved, who may be hidden in plain sight! Dr Kalpana Apte, Secretary General, Family Planning Association of India Tailoring Responses, Tailoring Screening Tools! In India, the reported incidences of violence received by the National Commission for Women (NCW) doubled[1] during the lockdown (started in last week of March 2020). As complaints surged, the NCW announced a WhatsApp number to receive complaints, to be more accessible to women who find themselves in abusive homes. Triggered by these increased cases due to the pandemic, Family Planning Association of India (FPAI) has moved swiftly to adapt its services to capture and respond to the specific forms of violence being reported. Gender based Violence screening and counselling is a standard practice in FPAI clinics, an integral part of the IPPF wide Integrated Package of Essential Services (IPES). Based on experiences shared by branches; front line workers and community mobilisers about women and girls experiencing newer forms of violence, FPAI has tailored its GBV screening tool to better meet the needs of the survivors. The adapted ‘GBV Screening -COVID 19 Response 2020’ form lists the new forms of violence and coercion being reported in the context of the pandemic. These pertain to: Lack of availability of essential commodities during the lockdown Forced to go out of the house for errands thereby increasing the risk of infection Threatened to be exposed to the infection Prevented from adopting prevention measures like use of mask, hand sanitizer Forced to adopt unscientific methods of infection prevention      FPAI intends to generate evidence against the shifting forms of violence and tailor its service delivery to best meet the needs of survivors. The data being provincially collected for the period April to July 2020 is currently being analyzed.  Counsellors are being trained using virtual forums to build their capacities to provide information and referral services on the new forms of violence being reported by women and girls. [1] https://www.epw.in/engage/article/covid-19-domestic-abuse-and-violence-where-do Keeping the Spotlight on One of the first and only organization of its kind in Bhutan, RENEW is dedicated to ensuring that the rights of women and families remain a priority and has taken a leadership role for the COVID response in the country. Setting the priority early, Her Majesty Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck RENEW Patron endorsed that the pandemic response must address gender- based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls. Such a pronouncement at the highest echelons of the government ensured that health sector response to gender-based violence services continue to receive priority throughout the crisis situation. Recognizing the need to build capacities of service providers and sensitizing the most vulnerable populations about the pandemic, RENEW in collaboration with Khesar Gyalpo University of Medical Sciences of Bhutan is developing a module on COVID 19 and Gender based Violence. This module includes range of COVID19 related information including how to stay safe at home and at the facility (shelter home), provision of legal, health and economic support and psychological first aid.  The module comes at an appropriate time wherein evidence from the National Commission of Women and Children has already alerted about an increase in GBV cases which is further corroborated by data from RENEW- an increase of almost 20% cases handled by the counselling center. Building on its coalition work with other partners in the country, notably the UN agencies, RENEW is part of the National Contingency Plan on Gender Based Violence developed in response to COVID 19.  The significance of the National Plan lies in the fact that it coordinates multi agency response avoiding duplication with thematic leads identified for each core sector. At the same time, it amplifies efforts; pools resources towards a common agreed goal and priorities GBV response to the pandemic. Besides RENEW, UNDP, UNICEF, Ministry of Health, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), UNFPA, Royal Court of Justice, Royal Bhutan Police and the National Commission on Women and Children are key members of this Plan. "The COVID-19 pandemic has been an exceptional experience exposing our vulnerability to the social issues such as sexual and reproductive health, mental health and abuse caused by gender-based violence. It has opened our eyes to understand the underlying complexities and the need for more specialized counseling and protection services. Post COVID-19 we look forward to a new world and a new era better prepared to address GBV."  Ms Tshering Dolkar, Executive Director, RENEW A COVID19 ready GBV responsive system On an average, one in four women experience emotional, physical, or sexual violence in Pakistan accounting for approximately eight million women grappling with various forms of violence every year[1]. The risk of violence has further increased as economic and social pressures mount amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Protection and response services are also under pressure[2]. As health systems try to respond to the pandemic, collaborative partnerships show how best this can be achieved. Rahnuma-Family Planning Association of Pakistan has been at the forefront both for responding to the COVID crisis, as well as to GBV.  Close coordination and relationships with all Provincial Women Development Departments, critical presence in Taskforce like the LSBE Task Force (Government of Punjab) and coalitions such as  National Parliamentarians Caucus, Pakistan Alliance for Post Abortion Care (PAPAC), National Youth Network, Alliance Against Child Marriage have been mobilized to keep the focus on GBV and ensure institutional response. Such coalesced efforts have resulted in the government, despite facing challenges in resources, to keep national helplines operational and publicizing it through various mediums so that it reaches the ones who need it the most.  [1] PDHS 2017-2018 [2] Connecting women with safety in Pakistan at a time of COVID-19 – and beyond, 19 April 2020, UNFPA A critical link between survivors and services The COVID 19 pandemic has compromised access to SRH information and education as social distancing measures and restrictions prevent the use of traditional face-to-face interaction between providers and clients. Under such circumstances, digital interventions through a range of channels and platforms including SMS, applications , social media, and hotlines characterize the new face of service delivery. Family Planning Association of Bangladesh (FPAB), like many other Member Associations in the South Asia Region has quickly adapted to this change.  It has invested in leveraging changes in service delivery as a response to the COVID-19 situation by expanding its teleconsultation and counselling for SRH and GBV services. These services are operational in all 21 clinics of FPAB. Besides, information on SRH services including contraception, abortion (both MMR and surgical); linkages to GBV services including referrals comprise an essential component. FPAB has effectively leveraged its cadre of committed 1260 Reproductive Health Promoters (RHPs) who function as frontline workers providing information and contraceptives to communities. The RHPs who are drawn from the same community where they function play an important role in linking women to these services. It is through their routine visits (though reduced in number now and with full protective measures) that they create awareness in the community on tele consultation facility available in clinics in their respective areas for GBV survivors. Given the trust and continued relationship that the RHPs have with the survivors in their community, many women who need such support services have been linked to the clinic and onward to referral services as required. For referral services, FPAB has relied on its partnership with organisations like Bangladesh Legal Services Authority, Bangladesh Nari Progati Sangha and other NGO partners. A Hotline service for providing e-counselling for GBV and SRH has been set up as a COVID specific response. These calls are handled by trained counsellors of the clinics. There are ongoing efforts to strengthen these services and secure more resources to transition from a central hotline service to a more decentralized SDP level service.

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19
news item

| 05 August 2020

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19

New data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reveals how opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) around the world are attempting to use the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to try to push back against progressive reforms.  The latest IPPF survey of its worldwide membership on COVID-19 reveals that opponents of SRHR are employing a range of tactics to try to undermine sexual and reproductive rights. This includes spreading misinformation (18 members), framing the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce traditional values (15), increasing discrimination against vulnerable populations (10), pushing for regressive measures against SRHR (eight) and blocking progressive debates on SRHR laws and policies (seven). One member reported social media platforms being used to spread a message that “COVID-19 is the answer from God on abortion.” Another reported opposition attempting to prevent the passage of a bill covering violence against women through parliament, claiming the pandemic was a “Dictate from the West” and passage of the bill contrary to Sharia Law.  The spreading of false information includes: The distribution of fake leaflets with health ministry logos among vulnerable groups, stating they are not at risk from COVID-19. The use of social media messages to claim safe abortion services will infect women with COVID-19. The spread of anti-contraception messages mixed in with disinformation about COVID-19 Attempts to block or slow legislature and policies include limiting progress in the passage of a bill to abolish anti-abortion laws and attempts to exclude abortion from national guidelines on sexual and reproductive care during the pandemic. One member reported that political opponents of sexual and reproductive rights were using “all communication and legislative spaces to validate discourses that position women in domestic tasks” by claiming: “the pandemic has allowed us to reassess the important role that women play in their homes for families.” IPPF members are resisting this opposition and defending laws and policies that support SRHR. 61 members report working with governments to ensure continuation of sexual and reproductive health provision service provision and 31 say they have contributed to policies or changes in legislation in support or defence of SRHR and gender equality since January 2020. 59 members reported advocating to ensure the continuation of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for under-served and vulnerable groups during the pandemic and 54 members said they were advocating for ways to combat sexual and gender-based violence, which threatens more women and girls in lockdown.  The pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. 52 members rated the reduction of their capacity to deliver services as “critical or severe” – meaning at least 50 percent of their operations had been reduced or impacted. Only two members, less than one per cent, in countries with small numbers of COVID-19 infections, reported no impact on them. Other headlines include: 19 members report having to dismiss or suspend staff. 32 members say they are facing stockouts of short-acting contraceptives such as the oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and condoms. 26 members report stockouts of long-acting contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants. 5,440 service delivery points across all IPPF members are closed, 11 per cent of the total number of all IPPF service delivery points. 238 static clinics, which provide a wide range of services, remain closed. 546 were reported closed in IPPF’s March survey of members. Only eight members are still able to delivery comprehensive sexuality education in schools, even with social distancing. 67 members are now delivering comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social platforms.  IPPF’s Director General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “This data shows how hard IPPF members are working to find ways to overcome the impact of COVID-19, but also how severe the impact remains.  Reopening hundreds of static clinics is a huge achievement, as is the change by members to deliver vitally needs comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social channels when many schools remain closed. However innovative IPPF members are, they cannot hope to offset the effect of this pandemic without additional support. This can only be addressed with the effective supply of commodities, to ensure stockouts are avoided and access to services for all IPPF clients is continued.  Support from governments is also critical, in particular in responding to the opposition who are trying to use the cover of COVID-19 to chip away at sexual and reproductive rights. Extremist views which seek to rob women and girls of their human rights and undermine their ability to access vital sexual and reproductive healthcare must be resisted.  Many governments do already take a positive stand in defence of women and girls and have gone further during this pandemic to support access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as access to telemedicine. IPPF calls on all governments to adopt such sensible and practical measures to make it easier for women and girls to get the care they need so badly in these difficult times, and to ignore the voices of coercive opponents who seek to impose their radical views on others.”

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19
news_item

| 08 June 2020

Opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights step up pressure during COVID-19

New data from the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) reveals how opponents of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) around the world are attempting to use the COVID-19 pandemic as cover to try to push back against progressive reforms.  The latest IPPF survey of its worldwide membership on COVID-19 reveals that opponents of SRHR are employing a range of tactics to try to undermine sexual and reproductive rights. This includes spreading misinformation (18 members), framing the pandemic as an opportunity to reinforce traditional values (15), increasing discrimination against vulnerable populations (10), pushing for regressive measures against SRHR (eight) and blocking progressive debates on SRHR laws and policies (seven). One member reported social media platforms being used to spread a message that “COVID-19 is the answer from God on abortion.” Another reported opposition attempting to prevent the passage of a bill covering violence against women through parliament, claiming the pandemic was a “Dictate from the West” and passage of the bill contrary to Sharia Law.  The spreading of false information includes: The distribution of fake leaflets with health ministry logos among vulnerable groups, stating they are not at risk from COVID-19. The use of social media messages to claim safe abortion services will infect women with COVID-19. The spread of anti-contraception messages mixed in with disinformation about COVID-19 Attempts to block or slow legislature and policies include limiting progress in the passage of a bill to abolish anti-abortion laws and attempts to exclude abortion from national guidelines on sexual and reproductive care during the pandemic. One member reported that political opponents of sexual and reproductive rights were using “all communication and legislative spaces to validate discourses that position women in domestic tasks” by claiming: “the pandemic has allowed us to reassess the important role that women play in their homes for families.” IPPF members are resisting this opposition and defending laws and policies that support SRHR. 61 members report working with governments to ensure continuation of sexual and reproductive health provision service provision and 31 say they have contributed to policies or changes in legislation in support or defence of SRHR and gender equality since January 2020. 59 members reported advocating to ensure the continuation of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare for under-served and vulnerable groups during the pandemic and 54 members said they were advocating for ways to combat sexual and gender-based violence, which threatens more women and girls in lockdown.  The pandemic continues to have a huge impact on the delivery of sexual and reproductive healthcare around the world. 52 members rated the reduction of their capacity to deliver services as “critical or severe” – meaning at least 50 percent of their operations had been reduced or impacted. Only two members, less than one per cent, in countries with small numbers of COVID-19 infections, reported no impact on them. Other headlines include: 19 members report having to dismiss or suspend staff. 32 members say they are facing stockouts of short-acting contraceptives such as the oral contraceptives, emergency contraception and condoms. 26 members report stockouts of long-acting contraception such as intrauterine devices and implants. 5,440 service delivery points across all IPPF members are closed, 11 per cent of the total number of all IPPF service delivery points. 238 static clinics, which provide a wide range of services, remain closed. 546 were reported closed in IPPF’s March survey of members. Only eight members are still able to delivery comprehensive sexuality education in schools, even with social distancing. 67 members are now delivering comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social platforms.  IPPF’s Director General Dr Alvaro Bermejo said: “This data shows how hard IPPF members are working to find ways to overcome the impact of COVID-19, but also how severe the impact remains.  Reopening hundreds of static clinics is a huge achievement, as is the change by members to deliver vitally needs comprehensive sexuality education through digital and social channels when many schools remain closed. However innovative IPPF members are, they cannot hope to offset the effect of this pandemic without additional support. This can only be addressed with the effective supply of commodities, to ensure stockouts are avoided and access to services for all IPPF clients is continued.  Support from governments is also critical, in particular in responding to the opposition who are trying to use the cover of COVID-19 to chip away at sexual and reproductive rights. Extremist views which seek to rob women and girls of their human rights and undermine their ability to access vital sexual and reproductive healthcare must be resisted.  Many governments do already take a positive stand in defence of women and girls and have gone further during this pandemic to support access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, such as access to telemedicine. IPPF calls on all governments to adopt such sensible and practical measures to make it easier for women and girls to get the care they need so badly in these difficult times, and to ignore the voices of coercive opponents who seek to impose their radical views on others.”

news item

| 29 May 2020

SAFE ABORTION SERVICES AMID COVID19 - AGILE, ADAPTIVE & INNOVATIVE RESPONSE FROM SOUTH ASIA

       

news_item

| 27 May 2020

SAFE ABORTION SERVICES AMID COVID19 - AGILE, ADAPTIVE & INNOVATIVE RESPONSE FROM SOUTH ASIA

       

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| 24 April 2020

THROUGH THICK AND THIN COMMITTED TO RESPOND

news_item

| 24 April 2020

THROUGH THICK AND THIN COMMITTED TO RESPOND