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Obstacles in exercising the sexual and reproductive rights of women with disabilities from Valjevo

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IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA orga­nized an online con­fer­ence Obsta­cles in exer­cis­ing sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights on Tues­day, Novem­ber 10, 2020, from 11:00 to 12:30.

The con­fer­ence was orga­nized with­in the project Capac­i­ty Build­ing of Women with Dis­abil­i­ties for Advo­ca­cy of Their Sex­u­al and Repro­duc­tive Rights in five munic­i­pal­i­ties in Ser­bia: Uzice, Ras­ka, Temerin, Kragu­je­vac and Vran­je. The project is imple­ment­ed with the sup­port of the Unit­ed Nations Pop­u­la­tion Fund (UNFPA) and aims to empow­er women with dis­abil­i­ties to advo­cate and active­ly advo­cate for their sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights.

The con­fer­ence was opened by the train­er on the project Miladin­ka Mija­tovic, and mod­er­at­ed by Ivana Zel­ic, coor­di­na­tor of the SOS ser­vice of the Orga­ni­za­tion IZ KRUGAVOJVODINA.

The con­fer­ence was attend­ed by 10 par­tic­i­pants in online train­ing on advo­ca­cy for sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights for women with dis­abil­i­ties from Uzice, Ras­ka, Temerin, Vran­je and Val­je­vo. In pre­vi­ous months, par­tic­i­pants gained knowl­edge about sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive health and rights, the legal frame­work, the acces­si­bil­i­ty of health facil­i­ties, the con­cept and mod­els of dis­abil­i­ty, lan­guage and ter­mi­nol­o­gy and advo­ca­cy meth­ods.

At the con­fer­ence, mem­bers of the Soci­ety for Cere­bral Pal­sy from Val­je­vo, Svet­lana Bel­jan­s­ki, Mar­i­ja Sofranac and Jele­na Sofranac, pre­sent­ed a pre­sen­ta­tion in which they mapped the obsta­cles faced by women with dis­abil­i­ties in exer­cis­ing sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights in their munic­i­pal­i­ty, archi­tec­tur­al inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of insti­tu­tions and inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of sup­port and health care sys­tems.

Pho­to: Online con­fer­ence par­tic­i­pants

Obsta­cles faced by women with dis­abil­i­ties in Val­je­vo in exer­cis­ing their sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights are: inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of pub­lic trans­port, inac­ces­si­bil­i­ty of infor­ma­tion for peo­ple with sen­so­ry dis­abil­i­ties (lack of infor­ma­tion in adapt­ed for­mats and sign lan­guage trans­la­tion ser­vice), insuf­fi­cient infor­ma­tion of med­ical staff about dis­abil­i­ty and inap­pro­pri­ate treat­ment of per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties, use of inad­e­quate lan­guage and ter­mi­nol­o­gy, pres­ence of prej­u­dices against women with dis­abil­i­ties and their sex­u­al­i­ty, as well as lack of ade­quate ser­vices to sup­port per­sons with dis­abil­i­ties in exer­cis­ing their rights.

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive groups from Uzice, Ras­ka, Temerin and Vran­je shared their expe­ri­ences of par­tic­i­pat­ing in the project, dis­cussed ways to map and present obsta­cles to the exer­cise of sex­u­al and repro­duc­tive rights, as well as advo­ca­cy actions orga­nized in their munic­i­pal­i­ties.

The par­tic­i­pants empha­sized the impor­tance of the con­fer­ence and the pos­si­bil­i­ty of meet­ing and exchang­ing expe­ri­ences that are sim­i­lar in all cities. They believe that the key issues that need to be addressed in the com­ing peri­od are: acces­si­bil­i­ty (archi­tec­tur­al and com­mu­ni­ca­tion), chang­ing atti­tudes in soci­ety and empow­er­ing women with dis­abil­i­ties to advo­cate for their own rights.

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