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SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS POLICY

THE HUMAN RIGHT TO FAMILY PLANNING

1. It has been internationally agreed that the right of all individuals and couples to
decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children is a basic
human right. The right to decide freely and responsibly also includes the right of
individuals to have the necessary information, education and counselling on
family planning, and the means to practice it.
2. HERA-XXI has a responsibility to actively promote, by means of advocacy and
persuasion, that this freedom to choose is respected by the state and should do
their utmost to educate individuals exercising the right to take into account the
needs of their living and future children and their responsibilities to their
community and to society at large.
3. HERA-XXI ensures that the promotion of the right to and practice of family
planning continues to receive the highest priority in their programmes.
DELIVERY OF FAMILY PLANNING SERVICES

4. HERA-XXI supports service delivery programmes which are directed towards
those segments of the community which are most likely to be passed by the
conventionalfacilities of governments.
5. As a fundamental principle in both the provision of and advocacy for family
planning services, HERA-XXI ensures the availability of all safe and effective
methods of fertility regulation; campaigns actively against any restrictions on any
of these methods, and maintainx a multi-faceted, accessible service delivery
programme.

INFORMED CHOICE

The right to ready access to family planning information, education and services
mustbe accompanied by the right to make voluntary and informed choices on the
methodsof contraception available, be they temporary or permanent, traditional
or modern. The right to accept or reject particular forms of contraception must
be fully protected.
7. The exercise of both the right of access to family planning and the right to make
informed and responsible decisions about childbearing requiresfull knowledge of
thebenefits, purposes and practice of family planning, and the personal, familial
and societal consequences of individual reproductive behaviour.
HERA-XXI PUBLICATIONS

8. In furtherance of its aims and objectives, HERA-XXI undertakes the publication
of various documents and newsletters, brochures, etc., each of which adheresto
and supports HERA-XXI’s policies and goals.
WOMEN AND FAMILY PLANNING

9. HERA-XXI upholds the principle that the attainment of real equality between the
genders is based on the empowerment of women to regulate their own fertility.
Without the achievement of this basic freedom, within the sexual partnership,
women are disadvantaged in their attempt to benefit from other social reforms.
MEN AND SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH
10. HERA-XXI works with men and boys as clients, partners and agents of change in
our efforts to meet the goals and objectives of the organization’s Strategic
Framework. This applies to males of all sexual orientations, including those who
have sex with other men (homosexual, bisexual and transgender) and regardless
of HIV status.
Men’s role in Promoting Gender Equity in Health

11. HERA-XXI believes that in order to address underlying power and gender
imbalances, andtheir effects on health, it is essential to work with men in
promoting gender equity. Strategies and programmes seeking to challenge the
practices and structures creating gender inequalities should, therefore, explicitly

engage men and highlight their positive and influential role. Such engagement
should, at all times, enhance rather than diminish women’s autonomy.
Men as Partners in preventing HIV and other Sexually Transmitted Infections

12. HERA-XXI recognises the critical role that men and boys play as partners in
addressing the HIV epidemic and preventing other Sexually Transmitted
Infections (STIs) and seek to facilitate their involvement.
Men as Partners in the provision of safe abortion services

13. HERA-XXI acknowledges that men and boys have a role to play in increasing their
partners’ access to safe abortion services, thus contributing to a decline in
maternal morbidityand mortality related to unsafe abortion. This approach to
working with men and boys should, at all times, be underpinned by support for
a woman’s right to choose.
Men as Partners in improving access to services

14. HERA-XXI recognises the importance of working with men to reduce barriers and
increase access to sexual and reproductive health information, sexuality
education and high quality family planning services. Thisincludessensitisingmen
to their responsibilities in promoting women and adolescents’ sexual and
reproductive health,well-being andrights.
Men as Partners in eliminating Gender Based Violence
15. HERA-XXI believes that policies, programmes, services and campaignsshould
explicitly highlight the role of men as part of the solution to addressing and
preventing of Gender Based Violence. Such an approach should remain
accountable to women and promote their empowerment.
Men’s Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs and Rights

16. HERA-XXI believes that this is necessary both to improve the health of men and
boys themselves, and as an important way of encouraging men to enhance the
sexual andreproductive health of others, in particular women and young people.

MEETING THE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH RIGHTS OF YOUNG PEOPLE

Introduction

17. HERA-XXI is committed to working for and with young people to ensure that they
are supported and empowered in their decisions relating to sex and sexuality.
HERA-XXI believes young people who are fully informed about their sexual and
reproductive health (SRH) choices grow into healthy individuals and have healthy
fulfilling relationships. HERA-XXI advocates for the eradication of barriers that
inhibit access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), information and SRH
servicesthat respond to all young people’s needs and realities.
Guiding principles

18. HERA-XXI:
i. Believes that young people with knowledge, confidence and comfort with
their own bodies are better equipped to negotiate relationships, including
any sexual relationships they may have. The policy also acknowledges the
right of all young people to enjoy sex and express their sexuality in the way
that they choose.
ii. Acknowledges that, a positive approach to sexuality is necessary in order
to ensure young people’s sexual and reproductive health and well-being.
iii. Recognizes the role of organization in investing in young people‘s
engagement, to become advocates and proactive members within their
communities concerning SRHR issues;
Rights Based, Gender Sensitive Information and Comprehensive Sexuality Education

19. HERA-XXI advocates for and provides both SRHinformation and comprehensive
sexuality education (CSE) that enhances the independence and self-esteem of
young people and provides them with the knowledge,skills and confidence to
make informed choices.
20. HERA-XXI believes that:
• Information and CSE should be accessible to young people of all ages
in accordance with their evolving capacities.
• Information and CSE should be provided which enables young people
to feel comfortable and confident about their bodies and their sexuality
regardless of whether they are sexually active or not.
• CSE strategies that are gender equitable and inclusive, accessible and

non- discriminatory are needed to address young people both in and
out of school. Special attention should be paid to the most poor and
vulnerable young people.
Access to Youth Friendly Sexual and Reproductive Health Services

21.HERA-XXI advocates for and supports establishment of youth friendly SRHR services.
The criteria for Youth friendliness includes:
i. SRH services for young people that are accessible, stigma free and which
assure privacy and confidentiality.
ii. Trained staff members who treat young clients with respect, in a
supportive and non-judgmental manner.
iii. Special attention and specific approaches that meet the different needs
of vulnerable young people such as the very young and those who identify
aslesbian,gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersex.
iv. Access to a full range of SRH services
v. Access to comprehensive safe abortion services, including counselling
which is non-directive, non-judgmental and that are responsive to
personal circumstancesand cultural background.
vi. Sensitive and supportive post abortion counselling and follow-up for
youngwomen. Contraceptive counselling and services should be made
available to reduce the risk of further unwanted pregnancies.
COMPREHENSIVE SEXUALITY EDUCATION

22. HERA-XXI acknowledges the importance of young people’s access to
Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE), both within formal and informal
settings. HERA-XXI promotes amodel of sexuality education that is rights-based
and gender-sensitive and that considersthe varioussocio-cultural, economic and
power dynamicsthat influence sexualchoices as well as the resulting emotional,
mental, physical and social impacts on each young person’s development.
23. CSE should equip people with the information and life skills they need to make
informed decisions and enjoy a healthy, pleasurable sexual life free from
unwanted pregnancy, STIs, HIV and AIDS and sexual violence.

24. Comprehensive sexuality education programmes should be closely linked to
and mutually reinforced by youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health service
provision.
CONTRACEPTIVE SERVICES

25. It is HERA-XXI’s policy to offer only contraceptives which have been approved as
safe and effective and which meet national and/or international standards of
quality.
26. HERA-XXI believes that as broad a choice of methods as possible should be made
availableto contraceptive users. Clients should be provided with their chosen
method on condition that they have been given counselling and adequate
information to enablethem to make such a decision and that they have no
medical contra-indications to its use.
27. The introduction of new methods should be preceded by the training of health
workers, infrastructure support, and, where needed, the provision of back-up
and referral facilities.
28. HERA-XXI priorities exploring and advocating different approaches for service
delivery (e.g. clinical and community-based services) and all possible means of
maximizing the potential of all health personnel, including community health
workersand traditional health workers.
REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH

29. HERA-XXI believes that the concepts of reproductive health and reproductive
rights include concern for individuals and couples who are unable to have
children when they so wish.
30. HERA-XXI priorities theeducation in theprevention ofinfertilityand for promoting
programmes which prevent infertility including: the control of STDs, better
obstetric care and the prevention of unsafe abortion.
Linking HIV and SRHR
31. HIV is the pre-eminent health, social and human rights issue of our time, which
threatens the survival of individuals, communities and nations. Addressing HIV is

clearly part of a comprehensive response to the sexual and reproductive health
and rights challenges of the day.
32. Overwhelmingly, the main transmission route of HIV is sexual. As such, the links
to broader sexual and reproductive health and rights issues and the inherent
value of linking HIV responses to a comprehensive sexual and reproductive
health (SRH) response cannot be underestimated.
33. The success of HIV prevention, treatment, care and
support programmes (‘prevention to care continuum’) depends, in large part, on
the creation of an enabling environment where individuals live free from stigma
and discrimination; and have the capacity, skills, and opportunities to
meaningfully make the decisions that affect their sexual and reproductive lives
and wellbeing.
34. HERA-XXI actively collaborates with governmental, non-governmental, United
Nations organizations,and other groups such as the private sector, professional
groups and community based organizations, in order to facilitate a coordinated
response to HIV.
HIV in the workplace
35. HERA-XXI practice regarding opportunities for employment, training, or the
promotion of an employee should not be conditional on the HIV status of a
person.
36. HERA-XXI will undertake universal precaution measures and also offerall their
healthcare providers post exposure prophylaxis following needle stick or other
penetrative workplace injury.
37. Disclosure of HIV status in the workplace should be a matter of individual choice
andshould be voluntary at all times.
Female Genital Mutilation
38. HERA-XXIopposesthe practice of female genitalmutilation and joins government,
and inter-governmental and non-governmental organizations in advocating that it be eradicated.
ABORTION
Introduction
39. HERA-XXI recognizes the huge public health burden posed by unsafe abortion
and is committed to the reduction of this entirely preventable cause of maternal
morbidityand mortality.
40. Beyond the public health concerns that necessitate availability of safe abortion
services, HERA-XXI believesthat women and couples have the right to decide the
numberand spacing of their children, including the right to access contraceptive
services and,when an unwanted pregnancy has occurred, safe abortion services.
HERA-XXI believes that all decisions regarding pregnancy must be voluntary and
not coerced: no womanshould be forced to carry a pregnancy to term or to
undergo an abortion.
41. While taking steps to prevent unwanted pregnancy through modern
contraceptive services, promotion of comprehensive sexuality education and
work to eliminate sexual violence and coercion, HERA-XXI understands that there
will always be a need for safe abortion services.
42. HERA-XXI understandsthatlegalrestrictions on abortion services do not decrease
abortion rates; rather, they only increase the proportion of abortions done in
unsafe conditions. In addition, HERA-XXI advocates and works that national
legal restrictions on abortion services be in line with international and regional
human rights instruments and agreements.
43. HERA-XXI recognizes that, where clinics have clinical facilities providing sexual
and reproductive health services, they have a duty to ensure that women can
access abortion-related care, regardless of age, geographic location, religious
beliefs, socio-economic, marital and HIV status.
44. Post-abortion care, including treatment for incomplete abortion, counselling and
provision of post-abortion contraception, is a service that must be offered in
every clinical sexual and reproductive health services.
45. Where clinics do not have clinical facilities, they should provide appropriate pre-

abortion counselling and referrals with follow-up and post-abortion
contraception counselling and/or services.
46. HERA-XXI undertakes to:
i. Promote modern contraception to prevent unwanted pregnancy, to
ensure access to compassionate and non-judgemental safe abortion
services and to ensure access to timely post-abortion care.
ii. Analyse the legal status of abortion within the country in which it works
andpromote the most liberal interpretation of abortion laws (e.g. in line
with WHO
standard) in order to maximize access to safe abortion services within
existing abortion law.
47. HERA-XXI understands that the stigma around abortion keeps the issue hidden
and posesa significant barrier to women and girls being able to exercise their
rights to safe abortion and post-abortion care. HERA-XXI therefore undertakesto
work actively to combat the stigma surrounding abortion arising from allsources:
the community, healthcare providers, staff and volunteers, public officials,
religious leaders, media and law makers.
SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS AND THE CLIMATE CRISIS

Introduction

48. HERA-XXI affirms that the climate crisis is one of the greatest challenges of this
time and that its impacts undermine the achievement of sustainable
development and the enjoyment of human rights;
49. HERA-XXI underlines that due to deeply ingrained, systemic discrimination,
women and girls are at a higher risk of experiencing harmful effects of the
climate crisis and that where women and girls are exposed to multiple and
intersecting forms of discrimination, such as on account of their ethnicity,
disability or migrant status, their vulnerability is heightened even more;
50. HERA-XXI highlights that sexual and reproductive health and rights should be an
important consideration in measures aimed at enhancing resilience to both the
slow onset impactsof the climate crisis and its more immediate effects;

51. HERA-XXI will strengthen its own capacities to work on the climate crisis,
including through learning from others engaged in the climate space.
52. HERA-XXI will consider working on these issues as required.
MEETING THE SEXUAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND RIGHTS OF THE AGEING POPULATION

Introduction

53. Ageing Population: For the purposes of this policy, the terms ageing population
or older people will refer to people over the age of 60 unless otherwise stated.8
Guiding Principles

54. HERA-XXI believes in promoting the inclusion of SRH information and services for
the ageing population using the Life Cycle Approach to encompass the changing
needs of older people.
55. The sexual health needs and sexual rights of the ageing population should be
recognizedat local, national and international policy level as an integral element
to the full achievement of sexual health and sexual rights.
Implementation
56. HERA-XXI will undertake actions that are inclusive of the ageing population, for
instance in adapting or using language and policy that is age friendly, focuses on
the positive aspects of sexuality amongst the ageing population and that includes
older people when referring to vulnerable groups.
57. Where possible and appropriate, HERA-XXI will integrate services for the ageing
population into pre-existing programmes using the Life Cycle Approach. This
integration should take into consideration the varying needs of older people across
the ageing spectrum and in particular the complex needs of vulnerable older
people living in a residential care setting; living with HIV; the older LGBTI
communities; olderpeople from underserved ethnic groups and older migrants.
58. HERA-XXI will integrate SRHR issues faced by the ageing population into the
advocacy work.
FORCED LABOUR AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING
59. Forced labour and human trafficking are a global crime resulting in an abhorrent
abuse of dignity and human rights which disproportionately affect women and children.
60. HERA-XXI finds the practice of forced labour and human trafficking unacceptable
and takes a position of zero tolerance towards trafficking in human beings for
sexual and labour exploitation.
Reviewed& Approved Date: 2021