Catalyzing CSO Action for Sexual Rights in Asia Pacific: 11-12 September 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand
26 APA members came together in Bangkok, Thailand on 11-12 September to explore engaging with regional and global processes and using the tools of the international human rights system for the fulfilment of sexual rights. The strategic meeting was organized at a time when the environment is becoming noticeably more hostile towards SRHR, and less friendly for civil society in the region.
Over the course of the two strategic day meeting, members were joined by resource people from Guttmacher Institute, Sexual Rights Initiative, Social Development Division at UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UN ESCAP) and UN Population Programme Asia Pacific Regional Office (UNFPA APRO).
Members identified key upcoming opportunities for joint action by the APA network and tools to promote and fulfill sexual rights in Asia Pacific, including Agenda 2030, the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action, Beijing Platform for Action and the Human Rights Council. On day two, the network honed in on an upcoming opportunity at the regional level, the mid- term review of the Asia Pacific Ministerial Declaration on Population and Development.
Sexual rights - such as eliminating discrimination on the basis of sexuality, access to safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education - were stressed one of the most pressing gaps in the region and the most challenging to advocate for. Specific barriers to the fulfilment of sexual rights were discussed in a sub-regional context and members shared their strategies for coping and addressing the challenges.
Guttmacher-Lancet Commission Report Launch
The APA strategic meeting was followed by a high-level presentation and discussion of a new report of the Guttmacher-Lancet Commission on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights on 13 September 2018. The Commission’s Accelerate Progress: SRHR for All proposes a new, evidence-based vision for universal access to SRHR that is rooted in human rights, and includes a number of findings and recommendations of relevance to Asia and the Pacific.