The Center for Reproductive Rights and its partners recently held an online capacity-building workshop for youth-led and youth-focused organizations in the Philippines to strengthen their knowledge and skills in engaging on adolescent sexual and reproductive rights and health (SRHR) advocacy. The organizations will be advocating for SRHR before the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (the Committee).
The Committee will be reviewing the Philippines as part of its regular periodic review process in August. The Center and its NGO partners will be submitting a report to the Committee for the upcoming review.
Over 40 participants representing 22 different youth organizations and civil society groups participated in the workshop, which was organized along with the Women’s Global Network for Reproductive Rights, Salinlahi Alliance for Children’s Concerns Inc., and Young Advocates for SRHR.
At the workshop, held June 9, participants learned about:
- The various human rights mechanisms and advocacy opportunities, including the Committee’s review process to build the foundation for organizations to initiate advocacy on advancing adolescents’ SRHR.
- Pressing adolescents’ SRHR issues, particularly on how the COVID-19 pandemic has shaped and aggravated challenges and barriers on adolescents’ exercise of their right to bodily autonomy.
- The progress of the Philippines in achieving the goals of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with a focus on steps to realize adolescents’ SRHR.
Youth were also provided a space to share and discuss other relevant SRHR issues that they face and deem urgent and should be raised with the Committee.
The Center’s Senior Legal Adviser for Asia, Jihan Jacob, provided a summary of the relevance of the international human rights law and the different UN mechanisms on advancing adolescents’ SRHR in the country. Jacob also shared practical examples of how to engage and what to expect when engaging with other CSOs, the government, and the Committee throughout the periodic review cycle.
“Youth has a crucial role in securing the development and implementation of human rights standards on their sexual and reproductive health and rights,” said Jacob. “By building their skills and deepening their knowledge on leveraging UN advocacy, they can seize opportunities and have a stronger impact on ensuring that national laws, policies, and programs are based on human rights and address their specific needs and concerns.”
The Center will continue to work with the youth to prepare a submission for the Committee and virtually participate in the upcoming full session in August 2022. They will also engage with the Philippine Government and participate in the monitoring and assessment of the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations beyond August 2022.