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asian Publication of the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development

Asian Consultation on the Prevention of HIV Related to Drug Use


Educating Policymakers on Effective Strategies in Achieving
) ORUM
January - February 2008

1 EWSLETTER

Universal Access of Harm Reduction Programmes

Left to right: Ms. Mariette Correa from the Local Organizing Committee; Mrs. Fernandes; Mr. Oscar Fernandes, State Minister of Labor and Employment; Mr. JVR Prasada Rao, Regional
Director of UNAIDS; Mr. John Godwin, HIV Adviser of AusAID; and Mr. Luke Samson, co-Chair of the Consultation. Photo: Response Beyond Borders

For the first time in Asia, 400 HIV/AIDS collaboration for HIV prevention is the with drug use and HIV; to ensure coverage
service providers, Injecting Drug Users most effective mechanism to combat of IDUs on prevention, treatment and
(IDU), parliamentarians and policy the growing pandemic”, stated Mr. care interventions; to involve networks
makers from 27 countries gathered for Oscar Fernandes, State Minister of of drug users and community-based
the Asian Consultation on Prevention of Labor and Employment, adding that organizations in the delivery of HIV
HIV Related to Drug Use – organized the consultation is an opportunity to services; to maximize financial and
by the Asian Consortium on Drug Use, generate solutions on HIV/AIDS issues technical resources of HIV programmes
HIV/AIDS and Poverty in Goa, India on affecting IDUs. for IDUs; and to promote organizations
28-31 January. The meeting reviewed of people who use drugs”.
the existing shortcomings in drug UNODC develops workplans to scale
policies, and presented viable solutions up harm reduction Drug policy and reform
to prevent HIV among IDUs. Opioid Substitution Treatment (OST) and Mr. Sujatha Rao, Director General of
needle-syringe programmes improve the National AIDS Control Organization
Injection drug use is the main mode the overall health status of HIV-infected in India, chaired the plenary session
of HIV transmission in the region IDUs and reduce their drug-related on “Drug Policy and Reform”. Mr.
The opening session was addressed HIV risk behaviors. “UNODC provides Paul Bekkers, AIDS Ambassador of
by Ms. Mariette Correa from the Local assistance in developing workplans for Netherlands, presented the human rights
Organizing Committee. “The conference scaling up the treatment. We need to and evidence-based approaches towards
addresses Asia’s vulnerability to drug use ensure drug users’ participation in OST drug policy and reform. Mr. Swarup Sarkar
and HIV/AIDS, and the social hazards delivery programme and to prevent of the Asian Development Bank spoke on
of criminalization and incarceration the spread of HIV among prisoners”, the ground reality of the responses to
of IDUs”, said Mr. Luke Samson, stressed Mr. Gary Lewis, Regional drug-related HIV and poverty. Mr. Chris
co-Chair of the consultation. With Representative of UNODC. Puplick, Chair of the Australia National
injection drug use as the main mode Council on AIDS, Hepatitis C and Related
of HIV transmission in the region, Mr. Review laws that criminalize drug- Diseases; Ms. Tasnim Azim, Head of
John Godwin, HIV Adviser of AusAID, use the International Center for Diarrhoeal
emphasized that the conference helped Mr. JVR Prasada Rao, Regional Director Disease Research in Bangladesh;
shape governments’ responses to the of UNAIDS, stated, “Parliamentarians and Mr. Shiba Phurailatpam, Regional
spread of HIV among 7.5 million IDUs are urged to review laws that criminalize Coordinator of the Asia-Pacific Network
that live in Asia-Pacific. “Regional drug-use; to tackle stigma associated Plus; also spoke at the session.
“The main challenge in the next two years is to increase the access of IDUs in need of HIV prevention and treatment
services. Everybody needs to work together to scale up harm reduction programmes.”
Mr. JVR Prasada Rao, Regional Director of UNAIDS

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Left to right: Mr. Bijaya Pandey, Drug User Representative of Nepal; Mr. Fredy Edi, Member of the Indonesian Network of People Who Use Drugs; Senator SM Zafar of Pakistan; Mr. Nurul
Eddy Pariang, MP (Indonesia); Mr. Paul Bekkers, AIDS Ambassador of Netherlands; and Ms. Tripti Tandon of the Lawyer’s Collective in India. Photo: Response Beyond Borders

Despite the benefits from harm reduction, and women relapse, higher level of stigma
approaches to HIV prevention among
Injecting Drug Users (IDU) are low in
Decriminalize and discrimination are being placed
upon them. Services for IDUs are mainly
male-oriented. I express concern over
Asia and they need to be scaled up. A
forum of parliamentarians, policymakers Drug Users the lack of harm reduction approaches,
and drug users was staged during the drop-in centers and programmes to
first Asian Consultation on the Prevention
Parliamentarians, Policymakers cater women’s needs. Women need
of HIV Related to Drug Use to tackle the and Drug User Forum to be informed of the services that
issues of criminalization, stigma and can meet their special needs. Illiteracy
discrimination that marginalize drug from service centers”, added Mr. Fredy limit womens’ understanding of their
users, drive them underground, and Edi, Member of the Indonesian Network basic rights”, said Ms. Tamara Speed,
deter their access to HIV prevention and of People Who Use Drugs. There is an Treatment and Policy Manager of the
treatment services. evidence that the ‘war on drugs’ has Australian Intravenous League.
caused the rise in HIV and hepatitis
Drug users are treated as criminals infections among IDUs. Governments want drug users to be
and sub-human beings productive citizens yet they are treated
Mr. Bijaya Pandey Stigma and discrimination intensify with disdain. What drug users need
Drug User Representative of Nepal when we talk about drugs from the parliamentarians are supports
During the panel, several drug users Ms. Tripti Tandon for treatment, for diversity of services
informed the participants of the reality in Lawyer’s Collective in India and for flexibility of mechanisms used
the ground. Opioid Substitution Therapy “Once IDUs are incarcerated, they lose to access those services.
(OST) and needle-syringe exchange their freedom to health care. The stigma
programmes are not operating and and discrimination that are associated Parliamentarians to forge partnerships
illegal in most Asian countries, only few with People Living With HIV (PLWHIV) with NGOs
countries support these programmes. are intense, but when we talk about Mr. Paul Bekkers
While UN is aiming for 80 percent drugs, the discrimination intensifies. AIDS Ambassador of Netherlands
Universal Access of IDU population by PLWHIV and drug users are underserved Mr. Paul Bekkers, AIDS Ambassador
2010, the criminalization of IDUs and the of health care”, said Ms. Tripti Tandon of of Netherlands, agreeing that the
lack of policy framework on drugs mean the Lawyer’s Collective in India, adding parliamentarians have an important
that IDUs and service providers are at that her own organization fights hard role to play in the fight against drug
risk of accessing or providing existing against stigma to ensure that people abuse, said, “Politicians should help
services. “Drug users are treated with HIV and in prison have access to to forge partnerships with NGOs to
as criminals and sub-human beings. ART. “After three years of hard labor, meet the Universal Access targets by
These serve as reminders of the reality we succeeded; however, this created 2010. Meaningful consultation such as
face by us who need these services”, an uproar in the community because of this is rare in Asia, where marginalized
underlined Mr. Bijaya Pandey, Drug that perception”, she informed. communities feel that they can share
User Representative of Nepal. their views without being discriminated.
When the issue of female IDUs is Improving the collaboration between
The ‘war on drugs’ has caused the raised, the problem is greater IDUs and the government officials is
rise in HIV infections among IDUs Ms. Tamara Speed an important step towards developing
Mr. Fredy Edi Treatment and Policy Manager of the effective interventions”.
Member of the Indonesian Network of Australian Intravenous League
People Who Use Drugs When the issues associated with IDUs The key speakers of the forum were Ms.
“The ‘war on drugs’ is also a war on are discussed, stigma and discrimination Doreen Massey, MP (UK); Mr. Roque
health. Many IDUs are told that they are among the main concerns. “When Ablan Jr., MP (Philippines); Senator SM
must stop taking drugs before they can the issue of female IDUs is raised, the Zafar of Pakistan; and Mr. Shiv Khare,
receive Anti-Retroviral Treatment (ART) problem is greater. When quitting fails Executive Director of AFPPD.

“Politicians should help forge partnerships with NGOs to successfully meet the Universal Access targets by
2010. Improving the collaboration between IDUs and the government officials is an important step towards
developing sustainable and effective interventions.”
Mr. Paul Bekkers, AIDS Ambassador of Netherlands
“Parliamentarians Need to Take Lead Against Stigma and
Discrimination Among Injecting Drug Users”
AFPPD’s Parliamentarian Workshop on the Promotion of Political Will for HIV/AIDS and Drugs’
Prevention and Treatment Adopts a Statement of Commitment

Parliamentarians (left to right): Mr. Mamadsho Ilolov of Tajikistan, Senator Serik Ayaganov of Kazakhstan, Ms. Niiazalieva Damira of Kyrgyzstan, Mr. Phonethep Pholsena of Laos, Mr.
Ahmad Khas Ahmadi of Iran, Mr. Nurul Eddy Pariang of Indonesia and Mr. Rajitha Senaratne of Sri Lanka. Photo: AHRN

To involve, educate and motivate Parliamentarians on Population and leadership of the parliamentarians. “We
parliamentarians on highlighting Development plays a major role in this passed a law on the prevention and
the inter-relationship of HIV/AIDS situation. It disseminated information to control of HIV/AIDS in 2002, and we
and drugs; AFPPD arranged a the parliamentarians on the latest HIV/ promote HIV awareness to the public”,
parliamentarian staff workshop in AIDS situation, and the national strategy highlighted Senator Chhit Kim Yeat of
Chiang Mai, Thailand to seek their in HIV/AIDS prevention and care; Cambodia.
opinions and to educate them on reviewed laws on HIV/AIDS, health, and
drug-related issues. The Asian narcotic and psychotropic drugs; called Laos has education programme on
Harm Reduction Network (AHRN) for actions to initiate local regulations on HIV/AIDS for parliamentarians
the endemic; and conducted HIV/AIDS Mr. Phonethep Pholsena
and the Asian Consortium on Drug
dialogues between the young people MP (Laos)
Use, HIV/AIDS and Poverty invited
and parliamentarians. Parliamentarians In his speech, Mr. Phonethep Pholsena,
AFPPD to organize a parliamentarian
need to allocate a budget for HIV/AIDS MP (Laos), said that Laos is classified
workshop at the Asian Consultation
and to include harm reduction strategies as a low prevalence country, with less
on Prevention of HIV Related to Drug
in the bills to prevent the spread of HIV”, than 1 percent of its population is HIV/
Use. More than 10 parliamentarians
he said. AIDS infected. Although the spread
from Asia and Central Asia
of the endemic has not reached an
participated in the workshop.
Cambodia’s HIV prevalence among alarming level, the Lao parliamentarians
Indonesian parliament includes harm the adult population dropped due to recognize the possibility that the virus
reduction strategies in HIV/AIDS parliamentarian leadership will spread rapidly. New cases of HIV
budget Senator Chhit Kim Yeat infection increased from 1 percent in
Mr. Nurul Eddy Pariang Cambodia 2001 to 2.5 percent in 2006. The total
MP (Indonesia) The geographic location of Cambodia estimated population of drug users in
The parliamentarians’ responses to HIV/ makes the country a trading ground for Laos is 35,000 and most of them are
AIDS related to drug use in Indonesia illicit drugs. Statistics show that there at the age of 15-19. “To respond to this
was presented by Mr. Nurul Eddy are 43,000 drug addicts in the country threat, the government has formulated
Pariang, MP (Indonesia). With 193,000 – most of them are low-income workers, a task force – jointly chaired by the Lao
Indonesians vulnerable towards HIV sex workers and students. Cambodia’s National Commission for Drug Control
infection, it was reported that there are concern is the rapid increase of HIV/AIDS and Supervision, and the Ministry of
11,000 AIDS cases in 2007 and 250 and hepatitis transmissions through Health – that implements policies on HIV/
new HIV detected cases from October injecting drug use and unprotected sex. AIDS and drug control. The government
to December in 2007. Fifty percent of The country’s HIV prevalence among also organizes HIV/AIDS seminars for
the HIV-infected population are IDUs, the adult population dropped from 3.3 parliamentarians to enhance their role
most are males at the age range of percent in 1997 to 0.9 in 2006 due in making new laws.
20-29. “The Indonesian Forum of to the good political commitment and continued to page 4

Left to right: Ms. Doreen Massey, MP (United Kingdom); Mr. David Daniels, Director of YozuMannion Pty. Ltd; Mr. Ton Smits, Director of the AHRN; Ms. Nerissa Corazon Ruiz, MP (Philip-
pines); Mr. Roque Ablan Jr., MP (Philippines); and Senator Chhit Kim Yeat of Cambodia. Photo: Response Beyond Borders

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Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality Emphasized at the South
Asian Parliamentarians Meeting on MDG 5
Haryana, January 10-11: A conference CST, Kathmandu; Mr. Sat Mahajan, and infant mortality rates in Haryana
on “South Asian Parliamentarians Meet Chair of IAPPD; and Mr. Virendra have decreased since 1999 – from 302
on Achievements of MDGs – Focus Kataria; attended the meeting. per 100,000 women to 162 and from 61
on Maternal Mortality (MDG5)” was per 1,000 live births to 42, respectively.
organized by the Indian Association Mr. Bhupinder Singh Hooda, Chief The institutional delivery rate and the
of Parliamentarians on Population Minister of Haryana, said that the state natal service use have increased since
and Development (IAPPD), in has introduced a number of schemes to 1999 – from 22 to 39 percent and from
association with UNFPA and UNMC. reduce the maternal and child mortality 58 to 89 percent, respectively.
Parliamentarians from South Asia; rates, and to promote safe delivery
bureaucrats; academicians; and practices in the rural areas. “Client- Various determinants and consequences
representatives of the media and NGOs friendly maternal health programmes and of maternal health were discussed in
participated in the meeting. more medical staff during birth delivery the conference. Ms. Girja Vyas, Chair
are high priorities in the state. We take of the National Commission for Women
Mr. P.J. Kurien, Chair of the Standing initiative to improve the obstetric care in India, lauded the government for
Committee of IAPPD; Mr. Minar Pimple, services and to ensure that the medical providing the infrastructure and money
Deputy Director of UNMC, Asia-Pacific; institutions have health officers after to reduce maternal and child mortality
Mr. Wazim Zaman, Director of UNFPA- working hours”, he said. The maternal rates.

South Asian parliamentarians at the meeting. Photo: IAPPD

Making HIV Awareness and Treatment UN Population Award Goes


to FCI and Ms. Miller
Available in Kazakhstan The Family Care International (FCI)
continued from page 3 included Mr. David Daniels, Director of and Ms. Billie Antoineete Miller,
Kazakhstan has a low HIV prevalence YozuMannion Pty. Ltd., and Ms. Doreen MP (Barbados) won this year ’s
rate, at 0.2 percent, mostly 15-49 years Massey, MP (United Kingdom). United Nations Population Award. Ms.
old IDUs. “The national strategies to Miller was the President of the Inter-
Develop programmes for HIV American Parliamentary Group on
be implemented to achieve Universal
prevention and treatment, and Population and Development, Chair
Access by 2010 are to propagate HIV
implement policies to decriminalize of the Commonwealth Parliamentary
awareness and to make ART available
IDUs. Association and Minister of the
to the public. Kazakhstan worries in the
Mr. Ton Smits
spread of the disease among drug users Executive Director of AHRN
Foreign Affairs in Barbados.
so the country develops international
cooperation with NGOs”, informed Mr. Ton Smits, Executive Director FCI is a NGO that works to make
Senator Serik Ayaganov. of AHRN, said, “Harmonizing the pregnancy and childbirth safe, and
policy is critical for the effectiveness to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS
Parliamentarians: Mr. Ahmad Khas of interventions for IDUs in Asia”. The in developing countries. Chaired
Ahmadi of Iran; Ms. Niiazalieva Damira resulted statement of commitment called by Ms. Jill Sheffield, it organized
of Kyrgyzstan; Ms. Nerissa Corazon Ruiz to develop policies and programmes the landmark conference, Women
and Mr. Roque Ablan Jr. of Philippines; aimed at decriminalizing IDUs; to Deliver, in London, UK on October,
Mr. Rajitha Senaratne of Sri Lanka; develop HIV education, prevention and 2007. The conference, aimed to
and Mr. Mamadsho Ilolov of Tajikistan; treatment programmes for IDUs; and to generate new global commitments
presented their respective country encourage the public to make behavior to maternal health, was attended by
reports. Other speakers of the workshop change. 2,000 participants from 110 nations.
European Parliamentary Forum’s Study Visit in Niger
Focused on the Impacts of Sexual and Reproductive Health
Policy, Commodity and Supply in Niger’s Growth
Hosted by the Nigerian
Parliamentary Network
on Population and
Development, the
study tour included
visits to the youth
centers dealing with
SRH. The youth center
provides condoms;
and educates the youth
on livelihood skills,
nutrition, HIV/AIDS and
family planning. The
delegation also visited
hospitals that focus in
obstetric fistula, which
is dramatically high in
European parliamentarians and Nigerian policymakers at the study tour. Photo: EPF
the country. In Niger,
Niamey, February 5-11: The European France, Mr. David Edward Lea of UK, the contraception use is at 5 percent rate
Parliamentary Forum on Population and Mr. Michel Terrot of France and Ms. and new fistula cases reach 2000 yearly
Development (EPF), and the Equilibres Hilde Vautmans of Belgium – was – due to early pregnancy. The visiting
and Populations organized a study introduced to the country’s successes parliamentarians were impressed by
tour for European parliamentarians and challenges on SRH and population the strategic planning in the population
– to focus on Sexual and Reproductive growth, through working sessions with growth and maternal health care sector
Health (SRH) policies, commodities UNFPA-Niger and World Bank. The in Niger, and they emphasized the need
and supplies; and their impacts in a meetings were attended by the local to strengthen the parliamentary budgets
country’s population and development government officials, parliamentarians, in addressing the country’s financial
growth. The parliamentarian delegation technical experts, religious leaders, and and human resource challenges. The
– consisted of Mr. Karl Addicks of the representatives of NGOs and UN delegation committed to help shape
Germany, Mr. Francoise Castex of agencies. future aid policies in Niger.

Financing for Gender Equality and US Population Increased 2


Parliamentary Taskforce on UN Affairs Launched Percent, Highest in 45 Years
Atlanta, January 16: For the first time
by the European Forum in 45 years, the United States’ (US)
population had climbed high enough
to replace and support the ageing
population. With the 2 percent birth
increase between 2005 and 2006,
resulting to 4.3 million births in 2006,
the US fertility rate was higher than
Australia, Canada, Japan and any
country in Europe. Economic prosperity,
immigration and better job security
are some of the reasons behind the
population boom in US.
Ms. Mechthild Rawert (left), MP (Germany), and Mr. Neil Datta, Secretary of EPF. Photo: EPF

New York, February 27: A parliamentary


dialogue on “Financing for Gender
incorporating gender perspectives
in the economic policies.EPF also
Erratum
Equality” was hosted by the European launched its “Parliamentary Taskforce In the article “AFPPD’s Brainstorming
Parliamentary Forum on Population on UN Affairs” during the session. Meeting on Parliamentarian Advocacy
and Development (EPF), in parallel to for MDGs, Parliamentarians’ Role
the 52nd session of UN Commission AFPPD Participation in Accountable and Transparent
on the Status of Women. The dialogue Ms. Chieko Nohno, MP (Japan); Ms. Governance Vital for the Achievement
aimed to provide a platform for Joanna Spratt, Manager of the Family of MDGs” in page 4 of our November-
discussion between the decision- Planning International Development; December 2007, we are clarifying that
makers and civil society on the role of and Ms. Jane Singleton, Chief Executive the report “People’s Voices on MDGs”
the parliamentarians and stakeholders Officer of the Australian Reproductive was a publication by the UN Millennium
in formulating innovative financing Health Alliance; attended the dialogue. Campaign and not a joint publication
commitments for gender equality EPF was represented by 10 European of UNDP, UNESCAP and the Asian
and empowerment of women, and in parliamentarians. Development Bank.

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Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum
IN BRIEF
Population and Reproductive Health Focused Development Forum in Thailand
by the New Zealand Parliamentary Group Taking Shape

Bangkok, February 22: A development


forum – aimed to discuss the experiences
and challenges on issues related
to development – is taking shape in
Thailand. More than 20 development
professionals and researchers from
various NGOs, UN agencies and
universities participated in the forum.
The first meeting was held under the
chairmanship of Mr. Muhammad Musa,
Regional Director of CARE; moderated
by Mr. John Samuel, International
Director of ActionAid. AFPPD was
represented by Programme Associates:
Ms. Passawee Tapasanan and Ms.
Carla Benham.

Indonesian Forum Branch Formed


Left to right: Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, Speaker of Samoa; Mr. Atapana Siakimotu, Speaker of Niue; Ms. Lesley
Soper, MP (New Zealand); Mr. Ropati Lemamea, MP (Samoa); Ms. Ann Hartley, MP (New Zealand); Ms. Jill Pettis, MP in West Java
(New Zealand) and Chair of NZPPD; Mr. John Tangi, MP (Cook Islands); Mr. Havea Tu’iha’ateiho, MP (Tonga); and Mr.
Viliami Helu, MP (Tonga). Photo: NZPPD
West Java, December 27-January
Auckland, January 20-24: About (NZPPD) briefed the participants –
3: The Indonesian Forum of
200 parliamentarians from 27 including parliamentarians, government
Parliamentarians on Population and
Asia-Pacific Parliamentary Forum officials and NGO representatives – on
Development (IFPPD) established
(APPF) member countries worked population and development issues,
two local forums in Tasikmalaya and
out resolutions on politics, security, as the focus areas of APPF, and on the
Bandung of West Java. The inauguration
economics, environment, law, culture role of parliamentarians in these issues.
was addressed by Mr. Ruzhanul Ulum,
and education. They passed a joint Ms. Margaret Wilson, Speaker of the
Chair of IFPPD-Tasikmalaya; Mr. Hakim
communique and 23 resolutions. New Zealand House of Representatives
Sorimuda Pohan, Vice-Chair of IFPPD;
The New Zealand Parliamentarians’ and President of APPF, opened the
and Mr. HMQ Isawara, Chair of IFPPD-
Group on Population and Development parliamentary forum.
West Java.

IFAD’s President Mr. Bage at the Vietnamese 40th Session of CEDAW Discussed
Women Rights
Parliamentarian Forum’s Meeting Geneva, January 14 – February 1:
Bage signed a 40 million USD aid The Committee on the Elimination
agreement to help projects for the of Discrimination Against Women
poor villagers, to offer loans for the (CEDAW) held its 40th session
small businesses, to provide training to examine how countries are
on livelihood skills, and to improve implementing their obligations under
the production of agriculture in the the CEDAW convention. The committee
country. To boost bilateral relations, discussed issues on women’s rights
IFAD will setup a representative office and empowerment, and highlighted the
in Vietnam. accomplishments and shortcomings in
the implementation of CEDAW.
Mr. Bage spoke at the Vietnamese
Photo: IISD
Association of Parliamentarians US 2009 Budget to Cut 30 Percent on
Hanoi, January 14-18: Mr. Lennart on Population and Development’s Sexual and Reproductive Health
Bage, President of the International “Parliamentarian Meeting on Poverty
Fund for Agricultural Development Strategy, Healthcare Policy for Poverty Washington DC, February 4: US
(IFAD), pledged support to tackle and Rural People” – that was attended President George Bush’s proposal for
hunger and poverty; and to boost by 40 parliamentarians, government Fiscal Year 2009 will cut 30 percent
the socio-economic development officials, and representatives of the of funding on the international family
in Vietnam. His visit was aimed media and NGOs. He delivered a planning, and Sexual and Reproductive
to discuss with the local leaders presentation on the importance of Health (SRH) programmes. The
matters of common concern – like the agriculture in meeting the Millennium reduction will occur despite the growing
agricultural development cooperation Development Goals. Ms. Farhana need for SRH care in the developing
programmes between Vietnam and Rahman, Chief of the Media Relations, countries. It will have a devastating effect
IFAD, the agricultural actualities and Special Events and Programmes to women who rely on family planning
the impacts of climate change in the of IFAD, also participated in the services, and it will increase the rate of
country’s agricultural production. Mr. meeting. pregnancies and HIV infections.
FACE TO FACE
“The Influence of Religion on Sexual and
Reproductive Health has Lessened in
Australia but it Remains Strong Among
Political Partners”
Robert Oakeshott of New South Wales, MP (Australia)
What are the achievements general public.
and aberrations of Sexual and
Reproductive Health and Right (SRHR) What steps have been taken to check
movements in your country? the growing violence against women
in your country?
Sexual and Reproductive and Health
(SRH) is an integral part of the health Several steps have been taken to
programme in Australia. The government check the violence against women.
has raised the budget for the international For instance, there is a strong
aid and development by nearly 4 percent community network of preventative
in the current fiscal year, which is an programme called ‘Families First’.
indication of the government’s concern. Then in most Australian communities,
The most interesting part, that for the there is a women network for crisis
first time, SRH is mentioned in the accommodation. Besides, there are development, relationship-building, sex
budget. As far as SRH in Australia strong laws upheld by the police and education and tolerance of others are all
is concerned, a draft framework has the courts in relation to the violence important lessons in life.
been prepared by a coalition of health against women. It is still a difficult and a
advocacy organizations to deal with it challenging problem but we are working Do you agree that the lack of political
at the national level, rather than at the hard to address this issue. commitment has always pushed back
state level (Australia is a federation of efforts relating to SRHR?
states with some health matters being Are women and youth really
dealt at the state level). The framework empowered in your country? Yes. I would say it’s the pressure from the
is comprehensive and evidence-based, community that generates the political
and it will be released for discussion Yes. Women and youth are empowered will or commitment. So, we need to find
early next year. It would be up to in Australia but there is a need to do ways to engage the community and get
the government to decide how it will more. Parliamentarians can play an them apply pressure on the politicians.
respond. important role in this by engaging more With no community pressure, politicians
women and youth in the community will do nothing. On a positive note , I am
The International Conference on development programmes, and by very pleased that 10 parliamentarians
Population and Development (ICPD) making friendly policies for them. are present at the conference, and
had articulated bold visions about the all agreed to sign a joint letter urging
relationship between the population SRHR of gays is important, same governments of the Asia-Pacific to
and development. After 13 years, has with ‘straight’ young men and women. improve the health standards of women
your government fully implemented After all, they are part of the society. during pregnancy and child-bearing.
ICPD’s Programme of Action (PoA)? Therefore, it is the duty of the health
care providers to address issues that What message are you taking from
The government makes efforts but there affect their health. the Hyderabad Conference?
is a long way to go in implementing PoA
of ICPD. The biggest challenge is to How active is the media in SRH The presence of a large number of NGOs
check the growing Maternal Mortality advocacy programme? Do you think it at the conference has compelled me to
Rate (MMR) in Southeast Asia and plays any role in this programme? think why governments are deaf? Why
Pacific. So, it’s an appropriate time to don’t they act? I think prevention is better
start the campaign against MMR. Media has been playing a critical role in than dealing with the consequences.
the advocacy programme in SRH but I strongly believe in the forums of
Religious beliefs have always come they should do more. parliamentarians from different countries,
in the way of implementing the discussing SRH issue and evolving SRH
policies relating to the family planning There are many myths about sexuality strategies. Parliamentarians should tell
and reproductive health. In such a among young people. Should sex their respective government to increase
situation, how can the reproductive education be added in the school its funding and commitment. I would say
rights of the people be protected? curriculum? that the parliamentarians should support
each other in this matter. I must say, the
The influence of religion in SRH has Sex education is part of the Australian way India has dealt with family planning
lessened in Australia; although, it is still school curriculum but it’s not mandatory. is amazing. I will certainly share my
very strong in both major parties and Individual schools often decide what’s experiences with the parliamentarians.
still disproportionate to the views of the taught in the classroom. Personal - Interviewed by Ms. Anju Grover

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UN Information Center’s Open Forum
Millennium Development Goals and Human Rights Lagging in
Asia-Pacific Despite the Economic Growth
Bangkok, January 16: A panel why Asia is lagging in meeting the MDGs were Ms. Shalini Dewan, Director of
presentation on the key priority concerns despite the economic progress. The UNIC-India; Mr. Homayoun Alizadeh,
for the Millennium Development Goals open forum, “MDGs and Human Rights Regional Representative for Southeast
(MDGs) and human rights was organized in Asia-Pacific – the Way Forward”, Asia of OHCHR; Ms. Thelma Kay,
by the UN Information Center (UNIC)- was attended by the UN officials, Director of the Emerging Social Issues
Bangkok – focused on how these issues experts, and the representatives of Division of UNESCAP; Mr. Minar
resonate throughout Asia-Pacific and NGOs and civil society. The panelists Pimple, Deputy Director of UNMC, Asia-
Pacific; Ms. Sarah
Ireland, Regional
Director of Oxfam,
Great Britain; Mr.
Raj Kumar, Principal
Officer of UNESCAP;
and Mr. Shiv Khare,
Executive Director of
AFPPD. The panel
was chaired by Mr.
Kiyo Akasaka, UN
Under Secretary-
General for
Left to right: Ms. Sarah Ireland, Director of Oxfam, Great Britain; Mr. Shiv Khare, Executive Director of AFPPD; Ms. Shalini Dewan, Director of UNIC-
Communications and
India; Mr. Kiyo Akasaka, UN Under Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information; Mr. Homayoun Alizadeh, Regional Representative Public Information.
for Southeast Asia of OHCHR; Ms. Thelma Kay, Director of the Emerging Social Issues Division of UNESCAP; and Mr. Minar Pimple, Deputy Director of
UNMC, Asia-Pacific. Photo: UNESCAP

Task-Shifting Conference to Scale up the HIV/AIDS Afghanistan Tackles Child


Prevention and Treatment in Africa Marriages Among Girls
Addis Ababa, January 8: More than African countries in implementing task- Kabul, January 4: Fifty seven percent
350 participants from 57 countries shifting. The guidelines, resulted from of Afghan marriages involve girls under
attended the conference on task-shifting the consultation of 167 public health 16 and 80 percent of marriages in the
– to scale up the access to HIV/AIDS and HIV/AIDS experts, are based country are arranged. The risk of death
treatment and to expand the global from the experiences and programme during pregnancy and childbirth for girls
health workforce in countries having a evaluations in countries where task under 14 years old is five times higher
shortage of health workers. The event shifting has been implemented. Task- compared to an adult. Afghanistan has
was hosted by the government of shifting aims to ‘free up’ the time of the taken steps to tackle the problem by
Ethiopia; and co-sponsored by the World physicians and nurses by allowing ‘less changing the legal age for marriage
Health Organization (WHO), the United specialized’ health workers to provide of girls to 17. Local NGOs also started
States President’s Emergency Plan for HIV/AIDS services in the medical awareness campaigns throughout the
AIDS and UNAIDS. At the conference, centers and community. It costs 7 billion country to promote children’s right to
WHO presented the guidelines to assist USD for over five years. education and self-determination.

AFPPD Office Bearers Editor:


Chairman Shiv Khare
PRIME MINISTER Yasuo Fukuda
JAPAN

Vice-Chairpersons Secretary-General
Dr. Prat Boonyawongvirot, MP Assistant Editor & Layout Design:
(Vacant) THAILAND
FIJI Philip Nalangan
Dr. Guowei Sang, MP
CHINA
Deputy Secretary-General
Sen. Beksultan Tutkushev
Mr. Lakshman Singh, MP KAZAKHSTAN

INDIA
The AFPPD Newsletter is a sequential publication.
Treasurer Copies can be obtained by contacting:
Ms. Truong Thi Mai, MP
Ms. Darlene Custodio, MP
VIETNAM PHILIPPINES
AFPPD: Phyathai Plaza, Suite 9-C, Phyathai Rd.
Ms. Aisyah Hamid Baidlowi, MP
Chairwoman, the Standing Ratchathewi, Bangkok, 10400, THAILAND
INDONESIA
Tel: (662) 219 2903 / 4
Committee on Women Fax: (662) 219 2905 th
Executive Director
Mr. Shiv Khare
THAILAND
Ms. Steve Chadwick, MP
Minister for Women Affairs
NEW ZEALAND
E-mail: afppd@afppd.org
On the Web: www.afppd.org 27 year