Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN);
Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM);
Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA);
and Pacific Youth Council (PYC)
Friday February 22, 2013
Re-framing, Re-articulating and Re-energizing SRHR in the Pacific
Pacific feminists, and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) advocates call on the Papua New Guinea State to urgently repeal the Sorcery Act. This call also extends to the immediate and full investigation and prosecution of all criminal cases to prevent further torture and extrajudicial killing of women and girls under the guise of eliminating witchcraft and sorcery.
The call was made at an inaugural gathering of a broad and diverse coalition of women and trans* people working in the area of SRHR, gender, erotic, economic, ecological justice and political transformation from Chuuk Federated States of Micronesia, Cook Islands, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.
“We demand that States and regional and global institutions make a concerted effect to ensure that the seriousness and frequency of these crimes are acknowledged and that official responses are immediate, strong and effective,” said Noelene Nabulivou, on behalf of the co-conveners of the gathering.
The four-day meeting in Nadi from February 12-15th saw thirty-two participants take stock of the progress in SRHR made over the past 20 years by State and non-State actors. Participants also critically analyzed, mapped and strategized towards more effective advancement of SRHR in the Pacific region.
Pacific women and their communities are today confronted by an onslaught of complex and interlinked challenges that affect our ability to access our sexual and reproductive health and rights.
“We are motivated by the realities of extremely high levels of sexual and gender based violence; exceptionally high rates of sexually transmitted infections including Chlamydia, and also the low and stagnant level of women parliamentary representatives across the Pacific, to urgently call for a re-framing of analysis; re-articulation of SRHR strategies and re-energizing of the Pacific SRHR movement,” said Nabulivou.
“Pacific women and trans* advocates in Nadi last week clearly stated that bodily integrity and autonomy is at the core of all work on SRHR, elimination of sexual and gender based violence, and toward gender equality advancement in the region. Participants called for the international adoption of sexual rights as human rights and reaffirmed the protection and promotion of reproductive rights as human rights. They also affirmed that the rights of women and girls must not be bargained away by governments when they negotiate financial, trade, environmental and climate change agreements. All State policy must therefore, include recognition of women’s critical roles within our states and societies”, she said.
On the final day of the meeting, the participants met with key allies from UN agencies, regional and global development and human rights institutions, to strategize on ways to take this Call forward.
The co-conveners look forward to building a stronger and wider coalition on this important work by Pacific women and trans* feminists, and wider allies.
The full Pacific SRHR Feminist Statement can be accessed here: http://www.dawnnet.org/advocacy-cso.php?id=277
This regional meeting was co-convened by Development Alternatives with Women for a New Era (DAWN); Fiji Women's Rights Movement (FWRM); Diverse Voices and Action for Equality (DIVA); and Pacific Youth Council (PYC).
We acknowledge the global feminist solidarity work that has informed this process, including from those of us working on the Women's Rallying Call on ICPD@20, 'Our Rights, Our Lives: Women’s Call to Action Toward Cairo+20'.