Making human rights a reality: Reproductive health in ASEAN

6th November 2015

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. During times of crises and conflict the need to fulfill these human rights sharply escalates. IPPF’s emergency response, SPRINT, is first on the ground delivering critical sexual and reproductive health services. For many survivors this can be the difference between life and death. Women and girls are particularly vulnerable.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights was established to ensure the the economic, political-security and socio-cultural wellbeing of the ASEAN people. On 30 October, it hosted a regional workshop, ‘The role of youth in promoting human rights in ASEAN’. Nora Murat, IPPF’s Regional Director of the East and South East Asia and Oceania, presented the case for critical reproductive health care in upholding human rights when disaster strikes.

IPPF’s key innovation is delivering life-saving reproductive health services through our Minimum Initial Service Package (MISP) of sexual and reproductive health. These MISP services directly tackle gender based violence, communicable infections such as HIV and provide maternal health care. The impact of this innovative approach is that it significantly reduces the risk of preventable death and injury in crisis settings.

In 2014, IPPF responded to at least four disasters. Our Member Associations delivered critical sexual and reproductive health services to pregnant and lactating women in ASEAN countries such as the Philippines, Myanmar and Indonesia.

We are the leading youth-centred civil society organization providing sexual and reproductive health services. As such our youth activists are able to quickly mobilize other youth volunteers with their effective outreach. In less than one month our youth volunteers are able to recruit over 150 of their peers to help other survivors.

IPPF works to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and services. The majority of our clients are marginalized and include migrants, refugees, asylum seekers, and displaced persons.

We put clients at the heart of everything we do, so we don’t just leave a community after attending to emergencies.  We advocate for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health integrated into primary health care, thereby creating the link from humanitarian response to human development.

The ASEAN workshop was attended by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia and other high profile organizations. With the world’s largest generation of young people ever, it was agreed that greater investment in young people and reproductive health services is vital for ASEAN people to realize their human rights.