WE LEAD CIVIL RIGHTS Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR)
We Lead Nigeria is urging the Federal Government to create policies that can improve young women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR).

Civil Rights Group Seeks Advocacy For Female Sexual, Reproductive Health Rights

We Lead Nigeria, a civil rights movement, is calling on the Federal Government and other relevant stakeholders to develop a framework that will enhance young women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) in the country.

The group’s Community of Action, CoA, Facilitator, Fisayo Owoyemi, made the call yesterday at a briefing to mark the 2022 Human Rights Day with the theme: ‘Dignity, Freedom, and Justice for All’.

According to her, both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and the Constitution of the World Health Organisation (WHO) assert that health is a fundamental human right for all people, adding that

She said, “In Nigeria, there is a growing concern that the sexual experience of many young women and girls occurs without adequate information on contraception, consent, and other rights, and it makes them vulnerable to abuse and violations of their rights. Oftentimes, young women’s and girls’ sexuality is seen as something that has to be prevented, discouraged, controlled, or forbidden.

“As a result, many young women and girls face significant barriers to access information, education, and SRHR services that are adequate, comprehensive, and free of prejudice. These barriers are made worse depending on several factors, such as age, gender, disability type, poverty, HIV status, sexuality, family and marital status, and level of education. The ‘intersection’ of these characteristics creates a unique experience for each person with respect to their ability to lead a healthy, safe, and empowered sexual life.”

Owoyemi stressed that although it is restricted internationally, SHRH is a crucial component of attaining gender equality; adding that access to complete, all-encompassing health care, which addresses sexual and reproductive health, can alter a person’s trajectory and position them to realise their greatest potential.

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“Everyone has a right to SRHR, including kids and teenagers. It is a crucial component of universal health care, which guarantees social, emotional, mental, and physical well-being in addition to the absence of sickness or malfunction,” she said.

The CoA Facilitator further explained that it is against this background that the organisation is organising a one-day Symposium on Rights-Based Approaches to Accessing Quality Sexual Reproductive Health (SRH) Information and Services for Women and Girls in Abuja.

She stated, “The Symposium will include a wide range of sessions, high-level panel discussions, keynote addresses from illustrious individuals representing various ministries’ human rights concerns, and evidence-based storytelling on what has worked, what hasn’t, and what needs to be done to improve access to high-quality SRH, particularly for marginalised groups in Nigeria.”

Earlier, Owoyemi described We Lead Nigeria as a new, motivating, cutting-edge, and comprehensive programme that aims to enhance young women’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR). She said it focuses on four groups of young women in particular: women living with HIV, women with disabilities, women who identify as lesbian, bisexual, trans, or intersex, and women affected by displacement.

She explained that the program puts young women’s rights holders in charge as they receive support to impact and sustain advocacy for their SRHR.

She also mentioned that the group is currently being implemented in Nigeria by a Community of Action (COA) of 11 organizations, emphasising that these COAs will support in the development and implementation of strategies to shift social and gender norms.