Experiences of using Human Rights to Examine Laws Regulations and Policies in Adolescent Sexual & Reproductive Health Sri Lanka Kathmandu Nepal – 15th – 18th November 2011 Tool • The WHO tool "advancing adolescents' sexual and reproductive health through human rights, strengthening laws, regulations and policies” • Department of Reproductive Health and Research and Department of Child Adolescent Health and Development in WHO in collaboration with the Human Rights Programme at Harvard University’s School of Public Health. Objectives of the Assessment – Review and document the government efforts to supportive legal and policy framework – Identify legal, policy and regulatory barriers, and make recommendations to overcome these barriers Engage health sector, as well as non-health sector, actors to eliminate barriers to adolescents’ sexual and reproductive health; and Identify especially vulnerable groups and examine government effort to address their reproductive and sexual health needs. – – Methodology • Concurrence from the Ministry of Health • Appoint the National coordinator, working group and three researchers from legal /Reproductive health and child rights • Orientation and adaptation on the tool • Desk review, data compilation and analysis • Submission of the draft report to the national working group Methodology cont ….. • stakeholders meeting to review on findings, conclusions and recommendations • Submission of the final report and follow up actions • Final report on tool methodology, and recommendations for improvement of the tool Key Areas •Eliminating Unsafe Abortion •Family Planning •Early Childbearing •HIV/AIDS •Promoting Sexual Health Findings and recommendations Favourable Laws and Policies • Constitution of 1978 legally enforceable fundamental rights were defined in several Articles of Chapter III. • Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) • Convention on the Right of the Child (CRC) Both been ratified Eliminating Unsafe Abortion Eliminating Unsafe Abortion… Barriers 1)The Law in Sri Lanka is very restrictive and does not address the reality of a high incidence of illegal abortion and the resulting adverse health consequences Recommendation To advocate for a change of the law as a public health issue highlighting as an initial step , for legal termination for specified grounds such as rape, incest and severe congenital abnormalities.. Barriers There is a lack of awareness among the public especially the religious lobbies of magnitude of the health consequences of unsafe abortion. Recommendation Conduct public meeting campaigns on health as consequences of abortion so as to undermine religious lobbies that oppose changes to laws and policies and create a supportive environment for reforms. ( MoH/ Professional medical associations/ Women’s groups/SLFPA) Source: (109,126) Eliminating Unsafe Abortion… Barriers 1) The current law criminalizes the conduct of the woman who seeks or permits an abortion that is not considered legal, and places the responsibility of reporting illegal abortion with the medical professional Recommendation • General Comment No 28 of the Human Rights Committee (2000). It interprets the right to equality in Art 2 & 3 of ICCPR, and specifically refers to the issue of reporting cases of abortion as an invasion of the woman’s equal right to privacy. • Changes to the law should be accompanied by a review of the health regulations and policies to incorporate the concept of a right of privacy. This will help to relieve the responsibility of the medical officers from reporting every possible abortion. • Recc: MoH/ Ministry of Justice Way Forward • Report to be presented to the MOH and Judicial sector for implementation of the recommendations. • Policy brief to be produced for wider advocacy.