4th APCRSH begins with 1,300 delegates representing 52 countries

October 29, 2007 | By Editor | Reply More

The impact of religious fundamentalism on woman’s sexual and reproductive health and rights will be another issue to be debated at this conference. Photography: Md. Shahidul IslamHYDERABAD: Youth and their sexual and reproductive health issues will be the focus of the three-day Fourth Asia Pacific Conference on Reproductive Sexual Health and Rights (APCRSH) which begins at the Hyderabad International Convention Centreon Monday.

The impact of religious fundamentalism on woman’s sexual and reproductive health and rights will be another issue to be debated at this conference.

Talking to reporters on the eve of the three-day conference, Terence Hull, Professor of demography at the Australian national University said the debate surrounding child marriages, adolescent sexuality and abortion policy and maintaining traditional values against what the policy makers perceive as globalisation and Westernisation would be put before for the participants to express their opinions.

The problems of sex ratio at birth that daunted policy makers in India and China did not exist in the countries of the Pacific though they were home to the diaspora from these countries, Prof. Hull said.

Pointing out thousands of million died in India due during abortions though it was legalised but the procedures adopted were unsafe. There was also a need to educate the youth about sexuality and provide them adequate services including preventive tools.

To give the conference a political touch, 10 members of Parliament and Parliamentarians from different countries of this region will come together under the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development.

“Sexuality does not operate in isolation. It intersects gender, class, caste, religion, economics, law, culture and many other variables. We need to acknowledge that all people are not heterosexual and can have different preferences. Everyone including lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgendered, transsexual have a right to be safe from violence and discrimination and enjoy their sexuality,” Radhika Chandiramani, executive director of TARSHI told reporters.

“People with disabilities have rights too and there have always been deep and persistent negative stereotypes, prejudices and fears about people living with disability and particularly about their sexuality. There are 650 million people in the world living with a disability and this figure is increasing. These prejudices are consistent across most countries and cultures and in many cultures, to have a disability and to be a sexual being is a double taboo,” said Jane Chivers, manager Family Planning NSW, Australia.

The issue is expected to produce a lively debate, considering religion has an impact on sexual behaviour of women and limits their access to health care and sexual choices.

Of the over 1,300 delegates representing 52 countries, one-third of the participants are youngsters who were given scholarships to participate in the conference. They would be speaking in the plenary sessions.

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Category: Development, South Asia

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