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European Parliamentarians Stand Up and Speak Out.

The European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development has urged fellow parliamentarians in Brazil not to pass a controversial constitutional amendment which would tighten Brazil’s already restrictive law on abortion.
Currently Brazil has exceptions to the rule that abortion is illegal: allowing for abortions when pregnancy is due to rape, endangers the mother’s life or if the foetus has anencephaly (where the foetus is missing parts of the brain and skull). The proposed amendment tightens the law and seeks to remove these exceptions.

Already, more than one million abortions take place in Brazilian clandestine clinics each year and thousands of women end up in hospital as a result of botched procedures, according to government estimates. More girls and women will be forced to have unsafe abortions if the abortion law is made more restrictive. An excellent example of standing up and speaking out. Read their letter here.
Investing in young people so SheDecides: how the AU/EU high level dialogue helps
 First ladies, Ministers, Parliamentarians, and young people from Africa and Europe gathered in a high-level panel on "Youth and the Demographic Dividend" on the side-lines of the AU/EU Summit in Abidjan, last Thursday, November 30th. They discussed how to strengthen investments in young people’s sexual health, reproductive justice education and gender equality, so as to capture the demographic dividend in Africa.

Through this high-level dialogue, the Governments of France and the Netherlands joined forces with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and SheDecides to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and young people in Africa. The AU EU Summit should have been a fantastic opportunity for young people to stand up and speak out to leaders. However, their official contribution, along with the contribution from civil society, was ruled out on the grounds of “rules of procedure” after the objections of several delegations.  See here a joint letter from African and European civil society which strongly condemns the silencing of youth and civil society voices.

Champion Spotlight
 

Jovana Rios, Member of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Steering Group, Panama.

This week we turn the Spotlight on Jovana Rios, a youth leader and women’s rights advocate from Panama who wears several hats. In addition to serving as Board Chair of IPPF/Western Hemisphere Region, Jovana is also a member of IPPF’s governing council, Vice President of the Panamanian Association of Family Planning (APLAFA) and member of the Every Woman Every Child (EWEC) Steering Group.


 
Jovana reflects on her teenage years when many of her classmates got pregnant, faced discrimination and dropped out of school.  “I knew I had to do something and fortunately, I was invited by a young volunteer woman to become a peer educator”. She is passionate about SheDecides because it can help create a life free from any kind of violence for women and girls everywhere. “I cannot stop what I do, because there is still so much to be done”. Read her full interview here.  
 
16 days of Activism: Champions stand up and speak out so SheDecides who touches her body

"Violence in the home, sexual violence, rape as a weapon of war... it is Violence against Women that is among the gravest and most common violations of international human rights standards."

Nearly all Champions took action to highlight the ongoing epidemics of violence against women and girls. In Geneva, Kate Gilmore, Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights, met with the Dutch Ambassador to chat about why we should all #OrangetheWorld, take a strong stance against gender-based violence and make the world pay attention to making sure that SheDecides about her body.
Watch and take action here

 

Become a Friend of SheDecides. Sign the Manifesto

Becoming a Friend of SheDecides by signing the Manifesto places you at the heart of our goal— to promote, provide, protect and enhance the fundamental human rights of every girl and woman to decide. As a friend, you sign the manifesto to commit that you will bring your personal energy to this movement— your drive, your anger and your influence as an individual citizen. Together we stand up, speak out and drive change to create a new normal: where every girl and every woman can decide what happens to her body.

Is She Ready to Decide? 
Of all new HIV/AIDS infections among adolescents and young people aged 10–24 years, 65% are among adolescent girls and young women. Every day thousands of women and girls in sub-Saharan Africa contract HIV because they do not have the power to make decisions about their own bodies. The International HIV/AIDS Alliance led by SheDecides Champion Christine Stegling has launched the
READYtoDECIDE campaign, an initiative that uses personal stories to highlight the link between gender inequality and the rising rate of HIV in adolescent girls and young women in sub-Saharan Africa.


16 things you need to know about #16daysofactivism
Read this powerful blog by MTV Staying Alive (led by SheDecides Champion Georgia Arnold) which details 16 things we should know about the 16 days of activism campaign.
From how the campaign started in 1960 when three sisters were murdered in the Dominican Republic to staggering statistics on violence women face everyday, the blog also calls on everyone to Stand up and Speak Out against VAW.
More info about SheDecides here
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