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Call to Action for governments in CEE countries: protect the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women and girls from Ukraine

March 23, 2022

Human rights and sexual and reproductive health and rights organizations working in Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine, call on decision makers across Europe and the broader international community to take swift, effective and coordinated action to protect the human rights and address the sexual and reproductive
health needs of women and girls and marginalized populations affected by the conflict in Ukraine.

The list of signatories and the full text of the document can be read here: https://ongen.ro/en_call-to-action-srhr_18032022/

There are now over 3 million refugees, the majority of whom are women and children, who are fleeing their homes and leaving Ukraine. They face increased risks of gender-based violence, including sexual violence, and their sexual and reproductive health and rights are under threat.

In Hungary, Poland, Romania and Slovakia a range of pre-existing legal and policy
restrictions on SRHR and cost-barriers are severely impeding access to urgent and essential sexual and reproductive health care for those fleeing Ukraine. In particular, these barriers are undermining access to emergency contraception and other contraceptive methods, abortion care including medical abortion, antenatal care,
post-exposure prophylaxis and treatment for sexually transmitted infections.

Demands for the Governments of Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia:

  • Ensure that quality sexual and reproductive health care and adequate water, sanitation and hygiene facilities (WASH) are made available to all those fleeing Ukraine without discrimination. To this end, provide urgent financial assistance to those gender equality, SRHR and women’s rights organizations who are providing frontline protection, support and legal advice to those fleeing Ukraine and ensure this assistance includes coverage for the costs of menstrual hygiene products, emergency contraception and other contraceptive methods, and abortion care.
  • Issue policy guidance clarifying that sexual and reproductive health care, including emergency contraception, contraception and abortion care, and all forms of maternal health care including antenatal care, is essential health care that should be provided free of charge and that health-care providers will be fully reimbursed, under existing regulations, for the provision of this care to all those fleeing Ukraine.
  • Ensure that emergency contraception can be provided without a prescription and free of charge without delay to all those fleeing Ukraine, including by moving national policies on emergency contraception into line with international and regional best practice and EU guidelines.
  • Ensure that medical abortion in early pregnancy is legal and accessible for all those fleeing Ukraine, including by removing barriers to abortion care and aligning national policies on abortion with WHO guidelines.
  • Take effective action to prevent gender-based violence, including sexual violence, and trafficking for sexual exploitation, especially around borders and other main transit points. Ensure free access to comprehensive medical treatment and psycho-social and other support for all those fleeing Ukraine who have survived sexual and gender-based violence and undertake effective human rights compliant investigations into all incidents and threats of gender-based violence within their jurisdiction. This should include the effective investigation of all threats of violence and hate-speech against WHRDs, health workers providing sexual and reproductive health care, and refugee populations.
This website has been updated in the project EGALIS: gender equality through social change and education, implemented by the Centre Partnership for Equality (CPE), in partnership with Front Association, The Romanian Society for Feminist Analyses (AnA), The Equality and Human Rights Action Centre (ACTEDO), PLURAL Association and SEX vs The STORK Association, with the financial support from Active Citizens Fund Romania, programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014 -2021. The content of this website does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014-2021; for more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania are available at www.activecitizensfund.ro.

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