Today, on December 3, the UN celebrates the International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”. This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. This year’s objectives include assessing the current status of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) and SDGs and laying the foundation for a future of greater inclusion for persons with disabilities.
The Reproductive Health Training Center in the Republic of Moldova (http://www.sanatateafemeii.md/) is celebrating this important day by launching the report “Assessing the issues confronting women and girls with locomotor disability in Moldova in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights”. The report is the outcome of the activities conducted during the project “All Equal, All Healthy: Empowering Women and Girls with Disabilities in Moldova to Exercise their Sexual and Reproductive Rights” /”Toți egali, toți sănătoși: Abilitarea femeilor și fetelor cu dizabilități din Moldova să își exercite drepturile sexuale și reproductive”. The project is funded by the Embassy of Finland in Bucharest, as part of the Fund for Local Cooperation and is carried out between July 2016 and June 2017.
Persons with a disability must be able to enjoy all sexual and reproductive rights guaranteed by international legal instruments and national policies. By ratifying the UN human rights conventions, especially the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Republic of Moldova has assumed their responsibility to ensure the enactment and guarantee of the observance of the rights of people with disabilities – including sexual and reproductive rights.
The total number of persons with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova is 184.3 thousand, according to the National Statistical Bureau (BNS ) which represents 5.2% of the country’s total population. Moreover, 48% of the total number of people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova are women, with 62% of persons with disabilities living in rural areas. The rate of disability in rural areas is 547 people with a disability out of ten thousand inhabitants, compared to 472 people with a disability out of ten thousand inhabitants in urban areas. The total number of people with disability has seen a 10% continuous increase over the last decade, and a 5% growth in the case of women.
International data shows girls and women with a disability are faced with many obstacles in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights, are often subject to stigma, discrimination and forced to make decisions regarding their private life, sexuality, sexual and reproductive health, couple relationships and childbearing.
Approaching sexual and reproductive rights of people with a disability is a new experience for Moldova, therefore the Reproductive Health Training Center has conducted a situational analysis. The present report evinces the interview analysis results, specifying the findings and recommendations for both respondents and the working group.
Almost all women believe sexual and reproductive rights include the right to decide whether to have children or not, including with whom and when, the right to be informed about methods of contraception and their utilization, the right to information and education, as well as the right to access sexual and reproductive health services. “All women have the right to family life, have the right to be mothers, and disability should not be a reason for depriving us from this right,” says a 28-year-old women with special needs.
One third of the women interviewed believed that in addition to the aforementioned rights, sexual and reproductive rights also include the decision to engage in sexual life, the right to marry or not, including with whom and when, the right to terminate an unwanted pregnancy, as well as the right to be protected against sexual violence. ”We are all equal and have rights to have a family and to be happy; to have a beautiful life, just as all people do,” a 21-year-old woman with special needs told us in an interview.
The conviction of all women is that they can have a family and give birth to children, and locomotor problems should not be a barrier in achieving these rights. ”Family planning is a right and it would be correct that young people who are healthy and also have a disability should be informed about the importance of contraception, planning a pregnancy with all necessary medical checkups, excluding afflictions by treating diseases so as to have a healthy body and a healthy family,” believes a 42-year-old woman with special needs.
The results obtained will be used by government bodies to draft and improve the policies pertaining to sexual health and sexual and reproductive rights of people with disabilities in the Republic of Moldova. The results will form the foundation for the development of relevant programs by civil society and other concerned bodies, as well as serving as advocacy tools for persons with a disability and their family members.
The Romanian version of the report ”Situation analysis of the issues confronting women and girls with locomotor disability in Moldova in exercising their sexual and reproductive rights” (first version) / “Analiza situațională a problemelor cu care se confruntă femeile și fetele cu dizabilități locomotorii din Moldova în exercitarea drepturilor sexuale și reproductive” (prima versiune) can be found here: Raport_Analiza-situationala-DSR-persoane-cu-dizabilitati_Versiunea-I.pdf
For additional information:
Rodica Comendant, Director
Ludmila Sîrbu, Coordonator proiect
Centrul de Instruire in Domeniul Sănătății Reproductive (CIDSR)
Tel.: 373 22 35 50 72, 373 69139878
ICPD Beyond 2014, International Conference, Issues Paper The Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls with Disabilities, pg. 2 http://wwda.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/issues_paper_srr_women_and_girls_with_disabilities_final.pdf