What are sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) ?
· Sexual health: Includes healthy sexual development, equitable and responsible relationships and sexual fulfilment, freedom from illness, disease, disability, violence and other harmful practices related to sexuality.
· Sexual rights: the rights of all people to decide freely and responsibly on all aspects of their sexuality, including protecting and promoting their sexual health, be free from discrimination, coercion or violence in their sexual lives and in all sexual decisions, expect and demand equality, full consent, mutual respect and shared responsibility in sexual relationships. We also have the right to say ‘no’ to sex if we do not want it.
· Reproductive health: The complete physical, mental and social well-being in all matters related to the reproductive system including a satisfying and safe sex life, capacity to have children and, freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so.
· Reproductive rights: The rights of couples and individuals to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children, to have the information, education and means to do so, attain the highest standards of sexual and reproductive health and, make decisions about reproduction free of discrimination, coercion and violence
Adapted from definitions of SRR from the programme for action resulting from the
International Conference on Population Development (ICPD), 1994.
What are the 12 SRHR??
- The right to life should be invoked to protect women whose lives are currently endangered by pregnancy.
- The right to liberty and security of the person should be invoked to protect women currently at risk from genital mutilation, or subject to forced pregnancy, sterilization or abortion.
- The right to equality and to be free from all forms of discrimination should be invoked to protect the right of all people, regardless of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, family position, age, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status, to equal access to information, education and services related to development, and to sexual and reproductive health.
- The right to privacy should be invoked to protect the right of all clients of sexual and reproductive health care information, education and services to a degree of privacy, and to confidentiality with regard to personal information given to service providers.
- The right to freedom of thought should be invoked to protect the right of all persons to access to education and information related to their sexual and reproductive health free from restrictions on grounds of thought, conscience and religion.
- The right to information and education should be invoked to protect the right of all persons to access to full information on the benefits, risks and effectiveness of all methods of fertility regulation, in order that any decisions they take on such matters are made with full, free and informed consent.
- The right to choose whether or not to marry and to found and plan a family should be invoked to protect all persons against any marriage entered into without the full, free and informed consent of both partners.
- The right to decide whether or when to have children should be invoked to protect the right of all persons to reproductive health care services which offer the widest possible range of safe, effective and acceptable methods of fertility regulation, and are accessible, affordable, acceptable and convenient to all users.
- The right to health care and health protection should be invoked to protect the right of all persons to the highest possible quality of health care, and the right to be free from traditional practices which are harmful to health.
- The right to the benefits of scientific progress should be invoked to protect the right of all persons to access to available reproductive health care technology which independent studies have shown to have an acceptable risk/benefit profile, and where to withhold such technology would have harmful effects on health and well-being.
- The right to freedom of assembly and political participationshould be invoked to protect the right to form an association which aims to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.
- The right to be free from torture and ill treatment should be invoked to protect children, women and men from all forms of sexual violence, exploitation and abuse.
How many people know about this in Pakistan? How many people know about
the work being done and by whom on SRHR?
The SRHR situation and awareness still needs time to make its way to the masses. However, the work must go on.
On 1st October, I got the chance to host Mr. Qadeer Baig, Country Head World Population Fund (WPF) at SZABIST, Karachi to discuss the SRHR Situation in Pakistan.
WPF is an internationally organization investing in young people's development and health.
WPF-Pakistan's vision is to develop as a regional resource for promoting Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of young people for sustainable human development. And it's mission is to work to improve the quality of life of young people in Pakistan by promoting:
- Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
- Awareness of the importance of SRHR for sustainable human development
- Understanding of the central role of reproductive health in “population and development” issues
Mr. Qadeer Baig held a very informative session talking about SRHR and discussing us the situation in Pakistan. Learning from such people working for the benefit of the society is essential for it's development and the gap between the youth and the knowledge of such experienced people surely needed to be bridged.
Look forward to working on SRHR and with Mr.Qadeer Baig in the future InshaAllah :)