The Caribbean Observatory Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and the Caribbean Family Planning Affiliation (CFPA) joins the international community to celebrate Human Rights Day. The United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 10 December 1948. This declaration outlines all the fundamental human rights for all people that should be respected and protected, including sexual and reproductive health. Human rights day is the final day of the 16 days of activism to end violence against women and girls, which runs from November 25 to December 10 each year.
To achieve“Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All”, services and interventions are needed to address the sexual and reproductive health needs of all individuals. The state must address issues such as violence, stigma and respect for bodily autonomy, which profoundly affect individuals’ psychological, emotional and social well-being. The sexual and reproductive health and rights of neglected groups (e.g. adolescent girls, indigenous peoples, LGBTI+ individuals, persons living with HIV and those with disabilities) must be prioritized and discrimination against those groups must be eliminated in law, policy and social norms/practices.
A major challenge in the region is the limited available data to adequately monitor, track progress, evaluate the performance of policy and legislation and to map the road ahead in what needs to be done for key populations. There must be accountability of Caribbean states in the honouring of signed human rights agreements. The Caribbean Observatory on SRHR mandate outlines 7 thematic areas of social monitoring and tracking progress
- Universal access to SRHR and Gender-Based Violence support services
- Implementation of anti-discrimination laws and policies against vulnerable populations (migrants, women and girls, LGBTQ+, sex workers, Indigenous peoples, PLHIV, Persons living with disabilities)
- Sustaining public knowledge about SRHR and Gender-Based Violence
- Provision of age appropriate Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) and Sexual and Reproductive Health services for adolescents
- Monitoring the experience of Gender- Based Violence
- Enabling legal and policy framework to advance SRHR and Gender-Based Violence
- Data gathering and data sharing
Our commitment to this thrust resulted in the launch of our Virtual Knowledge Platform (VKP) on December 5th, 2022. The VKP comprises an interactive website that uses a database, country profiles, dashboards, blogs, multimedia and factsheets that will serve as avenues to convey information on human rights agreements, policies related to SRHR/Gender-Based Violence issues, advocacy and tracking progress in the region. The platform also employs the use of infographics and family planning clinic statistics and has the potential for users to generate their own graphs based on issues, indicators and countries.
The CFPA’s research publication “Winning Narratives: Engaging men and boys as partners in ending GBV” was also launched on December 8th, 2022. The aim of this research is to gain a better understanding of the thinking of men and boys around gender and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in order to develop more effective GBV prevention messages and strategies which would engage men and boys as partners in violence prevention. A total of 520 men and boys between the ages of 15 and 60 from Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were engaged by this research project as a part of an integrated approach to involve everyone in the fight against GBV.
We call on the caribbean community to #StandUp4HumanRights by demanding state accountability in their duty to ensure that the rights of their people are respected, protected and fulfilled and call for the promotion of regional solidarity in data and knowledge sharing to improve our work as we chart the course ahead for the 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.