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Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights: Call to All Defenders of Women's Sexual and Reproductive Rights

I am sending this out as a reminder from the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights, to different groups to add your name to support the work of social movements in Latin America, who are campaigning hard to protect women's reproductive rights. Sorry for cross posting or if you have already seen this, but the deadline to add your group's support is tomorrow, Monday 27th September 2010. So please sign on.

To all defenders of women's, peoples', social, economic, sexual and reproductive rights & justice:

Thank you to those of you who have signed on to the September 28th Campaign solidarity letter (below) and to those in India, Canada, Japan, and elsewhere who are able to deliver this letter directly to the targetted Latin American embassies this week. There is still time for you to take action if you have not yet! September 28th is commemorated by social movements working in defense of sexual and reproductive rights and justice in Latin America and the Caribbean to draw attention to the demand for the decriminalisation of abortion. The Latin American and Caribbean Women’s Health Network, which is the coordinating network of the September 28th Campaign, has compiled a list of demands from their members that are addressed to the governments of the region, reflected in the open letter below. The Women's Global Network is inviting YOU to join organisations from every corner of the world to demonstrate support for the courageous work of the September 28th Campaigners by signing your organisation’s (and/or individual) name to the letter below. The DEADLINE FOR SIGNING ON IS MONDAY SEPTEMBER 27TH. We are urging your organisation to sign if you have not yet done so.
If your organisation is located in a city where foreign embassies/consulates are based and you too are willing to deliver this letter of unified demands to the targetted embassies from the Latin American region (Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Ecuador, Chile, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru), please email tanya@wgnrr.org by Monday, September 27th. If you are in Manila during September 28th, we would welcome your participation in the delegation to the embassies. Email: tanya@wgnrr.org. The final letter with all signatures compiled by 9am Sept. 28th will be posted on WGNRR’s homepage (www.wgnrr.org). Photos, audio recordings, written reports of these activities will be posted on our campaigns site www.wgnrr.org/campaigns.

We look forward to adding your name to the list of those who support the stand for decriminalising of abortion in Latin America, the Caribbean and throughout the world. ***Please note that this message is meant for all of us to demonstrate our support of those who are coping with similar struggles in another part of the world. WGNRR continues to seek opportunities for to stand up together regardless of the borders that may divide us to demand reproductive and sexual dignity for all. Future letters of support/petitions depend on you-- Alert us of the situation in your country/region that you would like us to take a position on!

For reproductive dignity,

Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights Campaigns team
www.wgnrr.org

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
September 28, 2010

Open Letter To the Heads of all Latin American and the Caribbean States:

Today, as defenders of reproductive health, rights and justice gather across the region to take coordinated actions on the Latin American and Caribbean Day for the Decriminalisation of Abortion, we, the undersigned members, allies and advocates of the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) urgently call on you to heed the call for safe, legal abortion. We fully support their efforts, and join with them to condemn actions by both state and non-state actors silencing, criminalising and stigmatising those who offer support for women wanting access to abortion, as well as all who simply wish to exercise their human right to reproductive dignity.

In particular, we are concerned about the situation facing the defenders of reproductive rights in countries where abortion is illegal and/or systematically penalised including in Chile, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua and Peru. We are alarmed by the recent blocking of a hotline in Ecuador offering support to women on reproductive and sexual health issues, and call on the Peruvian government to not only fulfil recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee related to access to abortion, but also to take specific action on the case of KL.
We hope and trust your government will work proactively with civil society members to uphold binding commitments made at the United Nations under the Convention on the Elimination of All forms of Discrimination Against Women, the Beijing Platform for Action, the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention Against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination and the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. In addition, we ask that you adhere to the principles contained in the UN Declaration on Human Rights Defenders by recognising and protecting sexual and reproductive rights defenders, ensuring they are equally able to exercise the right to defend human rights and all the other rights.

To that end, we, the undersigned organisations and individuals from around the world are committed in supporting this year’s demands of the September 28th Campaign to ensure respect for sexual and reproductive rights, and call on your government to:

• Repeal all laws criminalising, penalising and/or restricting women’s access to abortion services. Ensure women who do seek or offer these services are not subjected to judicial persecution, including imprisonment, or to harassment and degrading treatment by state authorities, institutions and non-state actors;

• Repeal all laws and policies that pose specific risks to sexual and reproductive rights defenders, and those from marginalised populations who do not want to be coerced into sterilisation or abstinence programmes;

• Take effective action to sanction state officials and non-state actors who harass sexual and reproductive rights defenders or curtail their legitimate activities for the defence of human rights and fundamental freedoms; and ensure allocation of adequate resources for the full protection and promotion of the rights of women human rights defenders, and in particular those who defend sexual and reproductive rights;

• Implement policies that guarantee low cost, universal, quality access to contraceptives and abortion services—including emergency contraceptive procedures—and ensure young people have equal access to these services, free from all forms of stigmatisation;

• Ensure that religious institutions and groups do not influence the state's judicial, policy and programming efforts in relation to reproductive health and rights. The reproductive rights and dignity of all must be guaranteed, not subject to constraints imposed by religious authorities.

We, the undersigned, await news of positive judicial and policy responses to the efforts of the communities mobilising to end the criminalisation of abortion, and for the fulfilment of reproductive dignity. We will be monitoring the steps your administration is taking on these matters. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the WGNRR campaigns officer, Tanya Roberts-Davis, by email or phone + 63 (2) 913 6708. We look forward to hearing your response to these concerns.

Sincerely,

[YOUR NAME/ORGANISATION] [YOUR CITY/TOWN]
_____________________________________ ________________________________

Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights Quezon City, Philippines/Amsterdam, the Netherlands

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