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Camilo Jimenez

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Latest news from across the federation and our partners

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Alvaro with YAM Ghana

Ghana

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Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare. 
Uganda law 1
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| 03 April 2024

IPPFAR is alarmed by Uganda’s ruling upholding draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023

Nairobi, Kenya: 3 April 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is appalled by the ruling to uphold Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.  This regressive law violates human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ugandans. IPPFAR is deeply concerned by the Constitutional Court’s statement following the ruling, which implies a conflict between universal human rights on the one hand, and the diversity of cultures on the other. This is a dangerous path. The foundational tenet of human rights is that they are applicable to all simply because we exist as human beings, regardless of any other status. This must be defended at all costs.   "We wholeheartedly condemn the decision to uphold this abhorrent law. IPPFAR reiterates that Human Rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. We stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight against the injustices inflicted by this law on Ugandans", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. IPPFAR also notes with alarm the framing of the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda as conflicting with broader communal or societal rights. This is a continuation of the ‘othering’ of members of the community and contributes to their exclusion, discrimination, and precarious safety situation. Local Ugandan civil society organizations have documented a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the law was enacted. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that this law will have a harmful impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating decision is a setback and is a call to action to resist increasing human rights violations in Uganda and across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to push back against efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. IPPFAR will continue to staunchly advocate for the sexual and reproductive health rights of all and against regressive laws and actions that limit people’s human rights and freedoms. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is inspired by the strength and courage of human rights defenders, advocates, and activists in Uganda who continue to fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Act despite the real dangers they face. They have led the fight, and this is our collective continued struggle. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights   For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Uganda law 1
media_center

| 17 May 2024

IPPFAR is alarmed by Uganda’s ruling upholding draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023

Nairobi, Kenya: 3 April 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is appalled by the ruling to uphold Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.  This regressive law violates human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ugandans. IPPFAR is deeply concerned by the Constitutional Court’s statement following the ruling, which implies a conflict between universal human rights on the one hand, and the diversity of cultures on the other. This is a dangerous path. The foundational tenet of human rights is that they are applicable to all simply because we exist as human beings, regardless of any other status. This must be defended at all costs.   "We wholeheartedly condemn the decision to uphold this abhorrent law. IPPFAR reiterates that Human Rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. We stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight against the injustices inflicted by this law on Ugandans", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. IPPFAR also notes with alarm the framing of the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda as conflicting with broader communal or societal rights. This is a continuation of the ‘othering’ of members of the community and contributes to their exclusion, discrimination, and precarious safety situation. Local Ugandan civil society organizations have documented a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the law was enacted. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that this law will have a harmful impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating decision is a setback and is a call to action to resist increasing human rights violations in Uganda and across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to push back against efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. IPPFAR will continue to staunchly advocate for the sexual and reproductive health rights of all and against regressive laws and actions that limit people’s human rights and freedoms. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is inspired by the strength and courage of human rights defenders, advocates, and activists in Uganda who continue to fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Act despite the real dangers they face. They have led the fight, and this is our collective continued struggle. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights   For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Gambia FGM
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| 26 March 2024

The Gambia: Reversal Of The FGM/C Law Would Be A Major Setback For The Human Rights Of Gambian Women And Girls

Nairobi, Kenya: 26 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply concerned by the proposal to reverse the ban on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia. Lawmakers in the country have voted 42 to four to send the bill to a parliamentary committee for review. Joining the voices of survivors and activists, IPPFAR urges the government to not repeal the law and uphold the rights of women and girls in The Gambia. The purposed bill to lift the ban of FGM/C in The Gambia is a regressive step that threatens to jeopardize the progress made in safeguarding the rights and health of women and girls. FGM/C is a violation of human rights and poses serious health risks. Women and girls are subjected to FGM/C in at least 30 countries in Africa. Many reasons are given for this abuse including religious, sexual, cleanliness and health. However, these have been dispelled. FGM/C is not a religious obligation in any religion, it does not increase cleanliness, and has absolutely no health benefits. In reality, FGM/C is underscored and fuelled by harmful gender and social norms and is yet another way that patriarchal systems try to control bodies and sexuality of women and girls. FGM/C affects women and girls thought their entire lives, impacting both mental and physical health and is unequivocally a gross violation of several human rights including; Equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, The Right to highest attainable standard of health, The Right to physical integrity, The Rights of the child, The Right to life. “At a time when countries are working to end FGM/C for good and protect the rights of women and girls, it is incredibly disappointing that The Gambia is going against this trend and put the lives of young girls and women at risk. We urge the government of the Gambia to join the growing number of countries that are working to eliminate this human rights abuse for good,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Regional Director, IPPF Africa Region. The detrimental impacts of the tabling of the bill are already evident across The Gambia. As highlighted by Human Rights Activist and FGM/C survivor Fatou Darboe, the tabling of the pro-FGM/C bill undermines the crucial protections afforded to women and girls in the country. This erosion of protection is exemplified by the observations of activist Haddy Jonga, who rightfully expressed concerns that without stringent enforcement, women and girls remain at risk of undergoing FGM/C. “FGM/C affects the entire life of a survivor. Those who have been subjected to FGM/C are more likely to drop out of school early, be subjected to early, forced or child marriage, and become pregnant as adolescents. Eliminating the practice increases the chances of a girl finishing school, and contributing towards better health and life outcomes,” added Fadoua Bakhadda, Regional Director, IPPF Arab World Region. IPPFAR urges the Gambian government to keep the anti-FGM/C law in place. Maintaining the legal framework against FGM/C is imperative to protecting the well-being and bodily autonomy of Gambian women and girls. Anti-FGM/C activists in the country – largely led by survivors – are being attacked and threatened for their efforts to defend human rights. Furthermore, the proposal to reverse the law has emboldened FGM/C practitioners, risking the lives of women and girls. We urge the government to prioritize the enforcement of the existing Anti-FGM/C law and to ensure the continued advancement of women's rights and the promotion of gender equality in The Gambia. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Gambia FGM
media_center

| 17 May 2024

The Gambia: Reversal Of The FGM/C Law Would Be A Major Setback For The Human Rights Of Gambian Women And Girls

Nairobi, Kenya: 26 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply concerned by the proposal to reverse the ban on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia. Lawmakers in the country have voted 42 to four to send the bill to a parliamentary committee for review. Joining the voices of survivors and activists, IPPFAR urges the government to not repeal the law and uphold the rights of women and girls in The Gambia. The purposed bill to lift the ban of FGM/C in The Gambia is a regressive step that threatens to jeopardize the progress made in safeguarding the rights and health of women and girls. FGM/C is a violation of human rights and poses serious health risks. Women and girls are subjected to FGM/C in at least 30 countries in Africa. Many reasons are given for this abuse including religious, sexual, cleanliness and health. However, these have been dispelled. FGM/C is not a religious obligation in any religion, it does not increase cleanliness, and has absolutely no health benefits. In reality, FGM/C is underscored and fuelled by harmful gender and social norms and is yet another way that patriarchal systems try to control bodies and sexuality of women and girls. FGM/C affects women and girls thought their entire lives, impacting both mental and physical health and is unequivocally a gross violation of several human rights including; Equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, The Right to highest attainable standard of health, The Right to physical integrity, The Rights of the child, The Right to life. “At a time when countries are working to end FGM/C for good and protect the rights of women and girls, it is incredibly disappointing that The Gambia is going against this trend and put the lives of young girls and women at risk. We urge the government of the Gambia to join the growing number of countries that are working to eliminate this human rights abuse for good,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Regional Director, IPPF Africa Region. The detrimental impacts of the tabling of the bill are already evident across The Gambia. As highlighted by Human Rights Activist and FGM/C survivor Fatou Darboe, the tabling of the pro-FGM/C bill undermines the crucial protections afforded to women and girls in the country. This erosion of protection is exemplified by the observations of activist Haddy Jonga, who rightfully expressed concerns that without stringent enforcement, women and girls remain at risk of undergoing FGM/C. “FGM/C affects the entire life of a survivor. Those who have been subjected to FGM/C are more likely to drop out of school early, be subjected to early, forced or child marriage, and become pregnant as adolescents. Eliminating the practice increases the chances of a girl finishing school, and contributing towards better health and life outcomes,” added Fadoua Bakhadda, Regional Director, IPPF Arab World Region. IPPFAR urges the Gambian government to keep the anti-FGM/C law in place. Maintaining the legal framework against FGM/C is imperative to protecting the well-being and bodily autonomy of Gambian women and girls. Anti-FGM/C activists in the country – largely led by survivors – are being attacked and threatened for their efforts to defend human rights. Furthermore, the proposal to reverse the law has emboldened FGM/C practitioners, risking the lives of women and girls. We urge the government to prioritize the enforcement of the existing Anti-FGM/C law and to ensure the continued advancement of women's rights and the promotion of gender equality in The Gambia. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Uganda ilga
media center

| 18 March 2024

Uganda: denying NGO registration fails democratic principles

Geneva/London, 15 March 2024 - The Ugandan Court of Appeal’s decision to deny Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) legal registration fails the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution and should be reversed, ILGA World and The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said today.  Despite having worked to protect the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions for more than twenty years, Sexual Minorities Uganda has repeatedly been denied legal recognition: first in 2012 and then in 2018, when the High Court upheld the initial decision by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. Six years later, in March 2024, the Court of Appeal shut down SMUG’s hope to register and be recognised as an independent legal entity under the law. “For civil society organisations working on sexual, gender and bodily diversity issues, registration allows them to serve more effectively those parts of societies that States fail to protect,” said ILGA World and IPPF. “Without this opportunity, they cannot conduct their activities formally or receive funding for their work. Ultimately, this decision restricts freedom of association and further pushes those who are already targeted by discriminatory laws to the margins of society.” “The Constitution of Uganda,” continue ILGA World and IPPF, “claims that ‘The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.’ Ultimately, the extremely disappointing decision to reject SMUG’s registration goes in the entirely opposite direction. We are in solidarity with the organisation and join them in calling out this missed opportunity to protect better the rights of some of the most vulnerable populations in Ugandan society.” In Uganda, registration is banned for those organisations with goals that allegedly are “in contravention of the laws”. In January 2023, a report by the NGO Bureau detailed how the agency investigated and acted upon several organisations for promoting the rights of LGBTI people and recommended authorities take stricter measures against NGOs that "promote LGBTIQ activities" — including stepping up the criminalisation of activism. A few months later, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law, further cracking down also on organisations found guilty of “promoting homosexuality”. These actions against LGBTI human rights NGOs are part of a larger crackdown on Ugandan civil society. In November 2019, the Ugandan government shut down more than 12,000 organisations. Such actions have since continued, with as many as 54 organisations suspended in a single day in August 2021. “Across the world, State and non-state actors are mobilising voter bases by attacking our identities and freedoms: we see the same tactics at play here, too,” ILGA World and IPPF conclude. “At this critical time, politicians need to focus on the things that matter – a stable economy and vibrant communities — rather than attacking those who work to support vulnerable parts of societies. LGBTI people and cisgender heterosexual women and girls are marginalised and excluded by policies, legislation and narratives that strip away reproductive rights and criminalise sexuality and gender. But our communities stand united to defend and secure democratic and economic rights for all.”   Notes to editors: ILGA World is a global federation of more than 2,000 organisations from 170 countries and territories, advocating for the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics worldwide. https://ilga.org  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global healthcare provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Led by a courageous and determined group of women, IPPF was founded in 1952, and today, it is a movement of 150 member associations and collaborative partners with a presence in over 146 countries. https://www.ippf.org/    Contacts for media enquiries: ILGA World: Daniele Paletta, communications manager, [email protected] IPPF: Alice Ackermann, communications adviser, [email protected] 

Uganda ilga
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Uganda: denying NGO registration fails democratic principles

Geneva/London, 15 March 2024 - The Ugandan Court of Appeal’s decision to deny Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) legal registration fails the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution and should be reversed, ILGA World and The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said today.  Despite having worked to protect the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions for more than twenty years, Sexual Minorities Uganda has repeatedly been denied legal recognition: first in 2012 and then in 2018, when the High Court upheld the initial decision by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. Six years later, in March 2024, the Court of Appeal shut down SMUG’s hope to register and be recognised as an independent legal entity under the law. “For civil society organisations working on sexual, gender and bodily diversity issues, registration allows them to serve more effectively those parts of societies that States fail to protect,” said ILGA World and IPPF. “Without this opportunity, they cannot conduct their activities formally or receive funding for their work. Ultimately, this decision restricts freedom of association and further pushes those who are already targeted by discriminatory laws to the margins of society.” “The Constitution of Uganda,” continue ILGA World and IPPF, “claims that ‘The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.’ Ultimately, the extremely disappointing decision to reject SMUG’s registration goes in the entirely opposite direction. We are in solidarity with the organisation and join them in calling out this missed opportunity to protect better the rights of some of the most vulnerable populations in Ugandan society.” In Uganda, registration is banned for those organisations with goals that allegedly are “in contravention of the laws”. In January 2023, a report by the NGO Bureau detailed how the agency investigated and acted upon several organisations for promoting the rights of LGBTI people and recommended authorities take stricter measures against NGOs that "promote LGBTIQ activities" — including stepping up the criminalisation of activism. A few months later, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law, further cracking down also on organisations found guilty of “promoting homosexuality”. These actions against LGBTI human rights NGOs are part of a larger crackdown on Ugandan civil society. In November 2019, the Ugandan government shut down more than 12,000 organisations. Such actions have since continued, with as many as 54 organisations suspended in a single day in August 2021. “Across the world, State and non-state actors are mobilising voter bases by attacking our identities and freedoms: we see the same tactics at play here, too,” ILGA World and IPPF conclude. “At this critical time, politicians need to focus on the things that matter – a stable economy and vibrant communities — rather than attacking those who work to support vulnerable parts of societies. LGBTI people and cisgender heterosexual women and girls are marginalised and excluded by policies, legislation and narratives that strip away reproductive rights and criminalise sexuality and gender. But our communities stand united to defend and secure democratic and economic rights for all.”   Notes to editors: ILGA World is a global federation of more than 2,000 organisations from 170 countries and territories, advocating for the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics worldwide. https://ilga.org  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global healthcare provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Led by a courageous and determined group of women, IPPF was founded in 1952, and today, it is a movement of 150 member associations and collaborative partners with a presence in over 146 countries. https://www.ippf.org/    Contacts for media enquiries: ILGA World: Daniele Paletta, communications manager, [email protected] IPPF: Alice Ackermann, communications adviser, [email protected] 

Stand together in Ghana
media center

| 02 March 2024

Ghana: IPPFAR is dismayed by the passing of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ rights bill in parliament

Nairobi, Kenya: 2 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply shocked and disturbed following Ghana’s parliament legislation passed on Wednesday 28 February which severely infringes on LGBTIQ+ rights and urges President Nana Akufo-Addo to not assent it. This regressive bill blatantly violates human rights and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ghanaians. The introduction of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will undoubtedly result in a surge of attacks on real and perceived members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ghana, further undermining their fundamental human rights and access to healthcare. The passage of the bill follows closely after Uganda's enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, and amid discussions on a pending anti-LGBTIQ+ bill in Kenya. While Ghana's bill doesn't impose death sentences, it broadens its scope by criminalizing individuals who merely express LGBTIQ+ identity or support, suggesting the exclusion of a significant portion of society. This unacceptable bill imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTIQ+ and imposes a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTIQ+ rights groups. Violations imposed by the new bill include infringements on the rights to equality, dignity, privacy, freedom of speech, association, health, freedom from discrimination, arbitrary arrest, and the right to a fair trial. "We wholeheartedly condemn the introduction of this new abhorrent bill and urge President Nana Akufo-Addo to not sign it into law. It has no place in our legal systems or in our societies, and we stand in solidarity with those who continue to stand up for the human rights of all Ghanaians", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. Local civil society organizations fear a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the bill was passed in parliament. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will have a detrimental impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating parliament bill is a major setback and is a reminder to remain aware that human rights violations of the LGBTIQ+ community persist across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to resist efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. The vote by the parliament on Wednesday, along with the strong backing of certain groups for the bill, highlights the parliament's disregard for the human rights and social acceptance of LGBTIQ+ individuals. The anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric reflects a regression in democratic values, and it is crucial for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Stand together in Ghana
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Ghana: IPPFAR is dismayed by the passing of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ rights bill in parliament

Nairobi, Kenya: 2 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply shocked and disturbed following Ghana’s parliament legislation passed on Wednesday 28 February which severely infringes on LGBTIQ+ rights and urges President Nana Akufo-Addo to not assent it. This regressive bill blatantly violates human rights and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ghanaians. The introduction of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will undoubtedly result in a surge of attacks on real and perceived members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ghana, further undermining their fundamental human rights and access to healthcare. The passage of the bill follows closely after Uganda's enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, and amid discussions on a pending anti-LGBTIQ+ bill in Kenya. While Ghana's bill doesn't impose death sentences, it broadens its scope by criminalizing individuals who merely express LGBTIQ+ identity or support, suggesting the exclusion of a significant portion of society. This unacceptable bill imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTIQ+ and imposes a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTIQ+ rights groups. Violations imposed by the new bill include infringements on the rights to equality, dignity, privacy, freedom of speech, association, health, freedom from discrimination, arbitrary arrest, and the right to a fair trial. "We wholeheartedly condemn the introduction of this new abhorrent bill and urge President Nana Akufo-Addo to not sign it into law. It has no place in our legal systems or in our societies, and we stand in solidarity with those who continue to stand up for the human rights of all Ghanaians", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. Local civil society organizations fear a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the bill was passed in parliament. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will have a detrimental impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating parliament bill is a major setback and is a reminder to remain aware that human rights violations of the LGBTIQ+ community persist across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to resist efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. The vote by the parliament on Wednesday, along with the strong backing of certain groups for the bill, highlights the parliament's disregard for the human rights and social acceptance of LGBTIQ+ individuals. The anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric reflects a regression in democratic values, and it is crucial for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media center

| 15 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media center

| 13 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

Uganda law 1
media center

| 03 April 2024

IPPFAR is alarmed by Uganda’s ruling upholding draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023

Nairobi, Kenya: 3 April 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is appalled by the ruling to uphold Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.  This regressive law violates human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ugandans. IPPFAR is deeply concerned by the Constitutional Court’s statement following the ruling, which implies a conflict between universal human rights on the one hand, and the diversity of cultures on the other. This is a dangerous path. The foundational tenet of human rights is that they are applicable to all simply because we exist as human beings, regardless of any other status. This must be defended at all costs.   "We wholeheartedly condemn the decision to uphold this abhorrent law. IPPFAR reiterates that Human Rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. We stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight against the injustices inflicted by this law on Ugandans", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. IPPFAR also notes with alarm the framing of the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda as conflicting with broader communal or societal rights. This is a continuation of the ‘othering’ of members of the community and contributes to their exclusion, discrimination, and precarious safety situation. Local Ugandan civil society organizations have documented a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the law was enacted. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that this law will have a harmful impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating decision is a setback and is a call to action to resist increasing human rights violations in Uganda and across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to push back against efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. IPPFAR will continue to staunchly advocate for the sexual and reproductive health rights of all and against regressive laws and actions that limit people’s human rights and freedoms. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is inspired by the strength and courage of human rights defenders, advocates, and activists in Uganda who continue to fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Act despite the real dangers they face. They have led the fight, and this is our collective continued struggle. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights   For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Uganda law 1
media_center

| 17 May 2024

IPPFAR is alarmed by Uganda’s ruling upholding draconian Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023

Nairobi, Kenya: 3 April 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is appalled by the ruling to uphold Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Act 2023.  This regressive law violates human rights including sexual and reproductive rights, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ugandans. IPPFAR is deeply concerned by the Constitutional Court’s statement following the ruling, which implies a conflict between universal human rights on the one hand, and the diversity of cultures on the other. This is a dangerous path. The foundational tenet of human rights is that they are applicable to all simply because we exist as human beings, regardless of any other status. This must be defended at all costs.   "We wholeheartedly condemn the decision to uphold this abhorrent law. IPPFAR reiterates that Human Rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable. We stand in solidarity with those who continue to fight against the injustices inflicted by this law on Ugandans", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. IPPFAR also notes with alarm the framing of the rights of LGBTIQ+ people in Uganda as conflicting with broader communal or societal rights. This is a continuation of the ‘othering’ of members of the community and contributes to their exclusion, discrimination, and precarious safety situation. Local Ugandan civil society organizations have documented a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the law was enacted. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that this law will have a harmful impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating decision is a setback and is a call to action to resist increasing human rights violations in Uganda and across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to push back against efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. IPPFAR will continue to staunchly advocate for the sexual and reproductive health rights of all and against regressive laws and actions that limit people’s human rights and freedoms. The International Planned Parenthood Federation is inspired by the strength and courage of human rights defenders, advocates, and activists in Uganda who continue to fight against the Anti-Homosexuality Act despite the real dangers they face. They have led the fight, and this is our collective continued struggle. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For more on IPPFAR's statements on the Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda: 23 March 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region strongly urges the government not to enact the new harmful anti – LGBTIQ+ law 10 May 2023 Uganda: IPPF Africa Region Urges President Museveni to Veto Harmful New Anti-Rights Law Targeting LGBTIQ+ Community 30 May 2023 IPPF Africa Condemns Uganda's Anti-Homosexuality Act as a Violation of Human Rights And Sexual And Reproductive Rights   For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Gambia FGM
media center

| 26 March 2024

The Gambia: Reversal Of The FGM/C Law Would Be A Major Setback For The Human Rights Of Gambian Women And Girls

Nairobi, Kenya: 26 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply concerned by the proposal to reverse the ban on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia. Lawmakers in the country have voted 42 to four to send the bill to a parliamentary committee for review. Joining the voices of survivors and activists, IPPFAR urges the government to not repeal the law and uphold the rights of women and girls in The Gambia. The purposed bill to lift the ban of FGM/C in The Gambia is a regressive step that threatens to jeopardize the progress made in safeguarding the rights and health of women and girls. FGM/C is a violation of human rights and poses serious health risks. Women and girls are subjected to FGM/C in at least 30 countries in Africa. Many reasons are given for this abuse including religious, sexual, cleanliness and health. However, these have been dispelled. FGM/C is not a religious obligation in any religion, it does not increase cleanliness, and has absolutely no health benefits. In reality, FGM/C is underscored and fuelled by harmful gender and social norms and is yet another way that patriarchal systems try to control bodies and sexuality of women and girls. FGM/C affects women and girls thought their entire lives, impacting both mental and physical health and is unequivocally a gross violation of several human rights including; Equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, The Right to highest attainable standard of health, The Right to physical integrity, The Rights of the child, The Right to life. “At a time when countries are working to end FGM/C for good and protect the rights of women and girls, it is incredibly disappointing that The Gambia is going against this trend and put the lives of young girls and women at risk. We urge the government of the Gambia to join the growing number of countries that are working to eliminate this human rights abuse for good,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Regional Director, IPPF Africa Region. The detrimental impacts of the tabling of the bill are already evident across The Gambia. As highlighted by Human Rights Activist and FGM/C survivor Fatou Darboe, the tabling of the pro-FGM/C bill undermines the crucial protections afforded to women and girls in the country. This erosion of protection is exemplified by the observations of activist Haddy Jonga, who rightfully expressed concerns that without stringent enforcement, women and girls remain at risk of undergoing FGM/C. “FGM/C affects the entire life of a survivor. Those who have been subjected to FGM/C are more likely to drop out of school early, be subjected to early, forced or child marriage, and become pregnant as adolescents. Eliminating the practice increases the chances of a girl finishing school, and contributing towards better health and life outcomes,” added Fadoua Bakhadda, Regional Director, IPPF Arab World Region. IPPFAR urges the Gambian government to keep the anti-FGM/C law in place. Maintaining the legal framework against FGM/C is imperative to protecting the well-being and bodily autonomy of Gambian women and girls. Anti-FGM/C activists in the country – largely led by survivors – are being attacked and threatened for their efforts to defend human rights. Furthermore, the proposal to reverse the law has emboldened FGM/C practitioners, risking the lives of women and girls. We urge the government to prioritize the enforcement of the existing Anti-FGM/C law and to ensure the continued advancement of women's rights and the promotion of gender equality in The Gambia. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Gambia FGM
media_center

| 17 May 2024

The Gambia: Reversal Of The FGM/C Law Would Be A Major Setback For The Human Rights Of Gambian Women And Girls

Nairobi, Kenya: 26 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply concerned by the proposal to reverse the ban on Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (FGM/C) in The Gambia. Lawmakers in the country have voted 42 to four to send the bill to a parliamentary committee for review. Joining the voices of survivors and activists, IPPFAR urges the government to not repeal the law and uphold the rights of women and girls in The Gambia. The purposed bill to lift the ban of FGM/C in The Gambia is a regressive step that threatens to jeopardize the progress made in safeguarding the rights and health of women and girls. FGM/C is a violation of human rights and poses serious health risks. Women and girls are subjected to FGM/C in at least 30 countries in Africa. Many reasons are given for this abuse including religious, sexual, cleanliness and health. However, these have been dispelled. FGM/C is not a religious obligation in any religion, it does not increase cleanliness, and has absolutely no health benefits. In reality, FGM/C is underscored and fuelled by harmful gender and social norms and is yet another way that patriarchal systems try to control bodies and sexuality of women and girls. FGM/C affects women and girls thought their entire lives, impacting both mental and physical health and is unequivocally a gross violation of several human rights including; Equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, Freedom from torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, The Right to highest attainable standard of health, The Right to physical integrity, The Rights of the child, The Right to life. “At a time when countries are working to end FGM/C for good and protect the rights of women and girls, it is incredibly disappointing that The Gambia is going against this trend and put the lives of young girls and women at risk. We urge the government of the Gambia to join the growing number of countries that are working to eliminate this human rights abuse for good,” said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, Regional Director, IPPF Africa Region. The detrimental impacts of the tabling of the bill are already evident across The Gambia. As highlighted by Human Rights Activist and FGM/C survivor Fatou Darboe, the tabling of the pro-FGM/C bill undermines the crucial protections afforded to women and girls in the country. This erosion of protection is exemplified by the observations of activist Haddy Jonga, who rightfully expressed concerns that without stringent enforcement, women and girls remain at risk of undergoing FGM/C. “FGM/C affects the entire life of a survivor. Those who have been subjected to FGM/C are more likely to drop out of school early, be subjected to early, forced or child marriage, and become pregnant as adolescents. Eliminating the practice increases the chances of a girl finishing school, and contributing towards better health and life outcomes,” added Fadoua Bakhadda, Regional Director, IPPF Arab World Region. IPPFAR urges the Gambian government to keep the anti-FGM/C law in place. Maintaining the legal framework against FGM/C is imperative to protecting the well-being and bodily autonomy of Gambian women and girls. Anti-FGM/C activists in the country – largely led by survivors – are being attacked and threatened for their efforts to defend human rights. Furthermore, the proposal to reverse the law has emboldened FGM/C practitioners, risking the lives of women and girls. We urge the government to prioritize the enforcement of the existing Anti-FGM/C law and to ensure the continued advancement of women's rights and the promotion of gender equality in The Gambia. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

Uganda ilga
media center

| 18 March 2024

Uganda: denying NGO registration fails democratic principles

Geneva/London, 15 March 2024 - The Ugandan Court of Appeal’s decision to deny Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) legal registration fails the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution and should be reversed, ILGA World and The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said today.  Despite having worked to protect the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions for more than twenty years, Sexual Minorities Uganda has repeatedly been denied legal recognition: first in 2012 and then in 2018, when the High Court upheld the initial decision by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. Six years later, in March 2024, the Court of Appeal shut down SMUG’s hope to register and be recognised as an independent legal entity under the law. “For civil society organisations working on sexual, gender and bodily diversity issues, registration allows them to serve more effectively those parts of societies that States fail to protect,” said ILGA World and IPPF. “Without this opportunity, they cannot conduct their activities formally or receive funding for their work. Ultimately, this decision restricts freedom of association and further pushes those who are already targeted by discriminatory laws to the margins of society.” “The Constitution of Uganda,” continue ILGA World and IPPF, “claims that ‘The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.’ Ultimately, the extremely disappointing decision to reject SMUG’s registration goes in the entirely opposite direction. We are in solidarity with the organisation and join them in calling out this missed opportunity to protect better the rights of some of the most vulnerable populations in Ugandan society.” In Uganda, registration is banned for those organisations with goals that allegedly are “in contravention of the laws”. In January 2023, a report by the NGO Bureau detailed how the agency investigated and acted upon several organisations for promoting the rights of LGBTI people and recommended authorities take stricter measures against NGOs that "promote LGBTIQ activities" — including stepping up the criminalisation of activism. A few months later, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law, further cracking down also on organisations found guilty of “promoting homosexuality”. These actions against LGBTI human rights NGOs are part of a larger crackdown on Ugandan civil society. In November 2019, the Ugandan government shut down more than 12,000 organisations. Such actions have since continued, with as many as 54 organisations suspended in a single day in August 2021. “Across the world, State and non-state actors are mobilising voter bases by attacking our identities and freedoms: we see the same tactics at play here, too,” ILGA World and IPPF conclude. “At this critical time, politicians need to focus on the things that matter – a stable economy and vibrant communities — rather than attacking those who work to support vulnerable parts of societies. LGBTI people and cisgender heterosexual women and girls are marginalised and excluded by policies, legislation and narratives that strip away reproductive rights and criminalise sexuality and gender. But our communities stand united to defend and secure democratic and economic rights for all.”   Notes to editors: ILGA World is a global federation of more than 2,000 organisations from 170 countries and territories, advocating for the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics worldwide. https://ilga.org  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global healthcare provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Led by a courageous and determined group of women, IPPF was founded in 1952, and today, it is a movement of 150 member associations and collaborative partners with a presence in over 146 countries. https://www.ippf.org/    Contacts for media enquiries: ILGA World: Daniele Paletta, communications manager, [email protected] IPPF: Alice Ackermann, communications adviser, [email protected] 

Uganda ilga
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Uganda: denying NGO registration fails democratic principles

Geneva/London, 15 March 2024 - The Ugandan Court of Appeal’s decision to deny Sexual Minorities Uganda (SMUG) legal registration fails the democratic principles enshrined in the country’s Constitution and should be reversed, ILGA World and The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) said today.  Despite having worked to protect the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions for more than twenty years, Sexual Minorities Uganda has repeatedly been denied legal recognition: first in 2012 and then in 2018, when the High Court upheld the initial decision by the Uganda Registration Services Bureau. Six years later, in March 2024, the Court of Appeal shut down SMUG’s hope to register and be recognised as an independent legal entity under the law. “For civil society organisations working on sexual, gender and bodily diversity issues, registration allows them to serve more effectively those parts of societies that States fail to protect,” said ILGA World and IPPF. “Without this opportunity, they cannot conduct their activities formally or receive funding for their work. Ultimately, this decision restricts freedom of association and further pushes those who are already targeted by discriminatory laws to the margins of society.” “The Constitution of Uganda,” continue ILGA World and IPPF, “claims that ‘The State shall be based on democratic principles which empower and encourage the active participation of all citizens at all levels in their own governance.’ Ultimately, the extremely disappointing decision to reject SMUG’s registration goes in the entirely opposite direction. We are in solidarity with the organisation and join them in calling out this missed opportunity to protect better the rights of some of the most vulnerable populations in Ugandan society.” In Uganda, registration is banned for those organisations with goals that allegedly are “in contravention of the laws”. In January 2023, a report by the NGO Bureau detailed how the agency investigated and acted upon several organisations for promoting the rights of LGBTI people and recommended authorities take stricter measures against NGOs that "promote LGBTIQ activities" — including stepping up the criminalisation of activism. A few months later, the Anti-Homosexuality Act was signed into law, further cracking down also on organisations found guilty of “promoting homosexuality”. These actions against LGBTI human rights NGOs are part of a larger crackdown on Ugandan civil society. In November 2019, the Ugandan government shut down more than 12,000 organisations. Such actions have since continued, with as many as 54 organisations suspended in a single day in August 2021. “Across the world, State and non-state actors are mobilising voter bases by attacking our identities and freedoms: we see the same tactics at play here, too,” ILGA World and IPPF conclude. “At this critical time, politicians need to focus on the things that matter – a stable economy and vibrant communities — rather than attacking those who work to support vulnerable parts of societies. LGBTI people and cisgender heterosexual women and girls are marginalised and excluded by policies, legislation and narratives that strip away reproductive rights and criminalise sexuality and gender. But our communities stand united to defend and secure democratic and economic rights for all.”   Notes to editors: ILGA World is a global federation of more than 2,000 organisations from 170 countries and territories, advocating for the human rights of people of diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions, and sex characteristics worldwide. https://ilga.org  The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global healthcare provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. Led by a courageous and determined group of women, IPPF was founded in 1952, and today, it is a movement of 150 member associations and collaborative partners with a presence in over 146 countries. https://www.ippf.org/    Contacts for media enquiries: ILGA World: Daniele Paletta, communications manager, [email protected] IPPF: Alice Ackermann, communications adviser, [email protected] 

Stand together in Ghana
media center

| 02 March 2024

Ghana: IPPFAR is dismayed by the passing of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ rights bill in parliament

Nairobi, Kenya: 2 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply shocked and disturbed following Ghana’s parliament legislation passed on Wednesday 28 February which severely infringes on LGBTIQ+ rights and urges President Nana Akufo-Addo to not assent it. This regressive bill blatantly violates human rights and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ghanaians. The introduction of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will undoubtedly result in a surge of attacks on real and perceived members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ghana, further undermining their fundamental human rights and access to healthcare. The passage of the bill follows closely after Uganda's enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, and amid discussions on a pending anti-LGBTIQ+ bill in Kenya. While Ghana's bill doesn't impose death sentences, it broadens its scope by criminalizing individuals who merely express LGBTIQ+ identity or support, suggesting the exclusion of a significant portion of society. This unacceptable bill imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTIQ+ and imposes a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTIQ+ rights groups. Violations imposed by the new bill include infringements on the rights to equality, dignity, privacy, freedom of speech, association, health, freedom from discrimination, arbitrary arrest, and the right to a fair trial. "We wholeheartedly condemn the introduction of this new abhorrent bill and urge President Nana Akufo-Addo to not sign it into law. It has no place in our legal systems or in our societies, and we stand in solidarity with those who continue to stand up for the human rights of all Ghanaians", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. Local civil society organizations fear a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the bill was passed in parliament. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will have a detrimental impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating parliament bill is a major setback and is a reminder to remain aware that human rights violations of the LGBTIQ+ community persist across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to resist efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. The vote by the parliament on Wednesday, along with the strong backing of certain groups for the bill, highlights the parliament's disregard for the human rights and social acceptance of LGBTIQ+ individuals. The anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric reflects a regression in democratic values, and it is crucial for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Stand together in Ghana
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Ghana: IPPFAR is dismayed by the passing of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ rights bill in parliament

Nairobi, Kenya: 2 March 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is deeply shocked and disturbed following Ghana’s parliament legislation passed on Wednesday 28 February which severely infringes on LGBTIQ+ rights and urges President Nana Akufo-Addo to not assent it. This regressive bill blatantly violates human rights and sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, impacting not only the LGBTIQ+ community but all Ghanaians. The introduction of the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will undoubtedly result in a surge of attacks on real and perceived members of the LGBTIQ+ community in Ghana, further undermining their fundamental human rights and access to healthcare. The passage of the bill follows closely after Uganda's enactment of the Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2023, and amid discussions on a pending anti-LGBTIQ+ bill in Kenya. While Ghana's bill doesn't impose death sentences, it broadens its scope by criminalizing individuals who merely express LGBTIQ+ identity or support, suggesting the exclusion of a significant portion of society. This unacceptable bill imposes a prison sentence of up to three years for anyone convicted of identifying as LGBTIQ+ and imposes a maximum five-year jail term for forming or funding LGBTIQ+ rights groups. Violations imposed by the new bill include infringements on the rights to equality, dignity, privacy, freedom of speech, association, health, freedom from discrimination, arbitrary arrest, and the right to a fair trial. "We wholeheartedly condemn the introduction of this new abhorrent bill and urge President Nana Akufo-Addo to not sign it into law. It has no place in our legal systems or in our societies, and we stand in solidarity with those who continue to stand up for the human rights of all Ghanaians", stated Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry, IPPF Africa Regional Director. Local civil society organizations fear a significant increase in arrests, physical assaults against the LGBTIQ+ community, threats to the safety of civil society organizations, and a distressing rise in hate speech targeting LGBTIQ+ individuals and their allies since the bill was passed in parliament. "As the foremost provider of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) services in Africa, we are deeply concerned that the new anti-LGBTIQ+ bill will have a detrimental impact on our delivery of vital SRH services in the country due to the fear of individuals seeking healthcare, including HIV treatment, being targeted, persecuted, or discriminated against", added Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. This devastating parliament bill is a major setback and is a reminder to remain aware that human rights violations of the LGBTIQ+ community persist across the continent. IPPFAR continues to be concerned about similar attempts to pass anti-LGBTIQ+ legislation in other African countries, as part of a growing effort to curtail SRHR and human rights more broadly. “We must continue to resist efforts to roll back the human rights of Africans and uphold the full enjoyment and protection of sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice for all, regardless of their background, circumstances, sexual orientation, or gender identity”, said Marie-Evelyne Petrus-Barry. The vote by the parliament on Wednesday, along with the strong backing of certain groups for the bill, highlights the parliament's disregard for the human rights and social acceptance of LGBTIQ+ individuals. The anti-LGBTIQ+ rhetoric reflects a regression in democratic values, and it is crucial for President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to reject the bill. We call on all stakeholders to support local activists as they are often at the forefront in the effort for the realization of human rights for all, including SRHR. IPPFAR stands in unwavering solidarity with the LGBTIQ+ community, wherever they may be. END For further information or to request an interview, please contact: -Mahmoud GARGA, Lead Strategic Communication, Voice and Media, IPPF Africa Regional Office (IPPFAR) – email: [email protected] / Tel: +254 704 626 920   ABOUT IPPF AFRICA REGION (IPPFAR) The International Planned Parenthood Federation Africa Region (IPPFAR) is one of the leading sexual and reproductive health (SRH) service delivery organization in Africa, and a leading sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocacy voice in the region. Headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, the overarching goal of IPPFAR is to increase access to SRHR services to the most vulnerable youth, men and women in sub-Saharan Africa. Supported by thousands of volunteers, IPPFAR tackles the continent’s growing SRHR challenges through a network of Member Associations (MAs) in 40 countries. We do this by developing our MAs into efficient entities with the capacity to deliver and sustain high quality, youth focused and gender sensitive services. We work with Governments, the African Union, Regional Economic Commissions, the Pan-African Parliament, United Nations bodies among others to expand political and financial commitments to sexual and reproductive health and rights in Africa. Learn more about us on our website. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and You Tube.

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media center

| 15 February 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro with YAM Ghana
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Ghana: From The Community Level, To The Highest Political Offices, IPPF Director General Advocates For SRHR For All

Accra, February 14, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a three-day visit to Ghana this week hosted by IPPF member association Planned Parenthood Association of Ghana (PPAG). High-level meetings with authorities and partners alongside community-level engagements underscored the two organizations’ commitment to expanding access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare.  “This mission has reaffirmed the robust collaboration between IPPF and PPAG toward our shared vision of universal sexual and reproductive health and rights in Ghana,” said Dr. Bermejo. “I want to thank PPAG and all partners for their efforts and look forward to enhanced global-to-local coordination that ensures information and services reach all who need them.”  Founded in 1967, PPAG was IPPF’s first West African member association. Today it operates over 10 clinics and education centers delivering counseling, contraceptives, maternal care, HIV/AIDS testing, and more. The visit aimed to assess how the Federation could better support its Member Association while identifying persisting barriers around access to SRHR and strengthening joint advocacy and programming with local CSOs and governmental actors.  Upon his arrival, Dr. Bermejo was welcomed by PPAG leadership, staff, and youth advocates. “Your visit represents our collective renewed passions for influencing policy, delivering services, and progressing sexual and reproductive health rights to ensure universal quality of life,” said PPAG Executive Director Abena Adebuah Amoah, capturing a spirit of reinvigorated collaboration set from the outset.  Highlights from the mission included visiting PPAG’s new self-funded clinic under construction in Cape Coast as a symbol of the association’s increasing self-sustainability and ability to reach underserved communities independently. “The urgency and innovation PPAG shows to serve more people epitomize the federation’s bold vision for the future,” Dr. Bermejo remarked.  During his visit, the Director General engaged with members of the Youth Action Movement – PPAG youth arm -  to deepen his understanding of youth perspectives on barriers and solutions to comprehensive sexual health education and services. He was particularly moved by personal stories from youth volunteers and beneficiaries, including teen mothers, early pregnancy survivors, individuals facing disability and Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) challenges, as well as those experiencing exclusion due to their LGBTIQ+ identity. The DG assured full support for developing their capacities as informed advocates and programme beneficiaries, highlighting the importance of empathy and tailored support in addressing these critical issues.  Meetings with partners like UNFPA and the Ministry of Health focused on strengthening coordination across the sexual and reproductive health landscape in Ghana. The Director General also met PPAG local partners (CSOs, and embassies) to discuss national priorities and how to reinforce IPPF and PPAG’s role in advancing universal health access and rights-based approaches.  “From the community level to the highest political offices, this visit revealed the deep roots and trust established between PPAG and partners over decades of collaboration to uphold health and human rights,” Dr. Bermejo concluded. “IPPF has supported PPAG since the beginning, and we reaffirm our commitment to advancing quality sexual and reproductive healthcare across Ghana long into the future.”   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media center

| 13 February 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.   

Alvaro in Cote d'Ivoire
media_center

| 17 May 2024

Advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights in Côte d’Ivoire: highlights from the IPPF Director General’s visit

Abidjan, February 13, 2024 – The International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Director General, Dr. Alvaro Bermejo, concluded a four-day visit to Côte d’Ivoire last week. Hosted by IPPF member association « Association Ivoirienne pour le Bien-Être Familial (AIBEF) », Dr. Bermejo met with key stakeholders to discuss priorities and challenges related to advancing sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in the country.  “I want to thank the Ivorian government for its efforts and partnership with AIBEF over the years to expand access to quality sexual and reproductive healthcare information and services. During my meetings, I emphasized IPPF’s commitment to continue investing and supporting the country’s SRHR efforts. An improved legal framework would facilitate our work and allow us to achieve greater impact,” said Dr. Bermejo.  Highlights from the visit included meetings with the Minister of Health, Dr. Pierre Dimba, the President of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council, Dr. Eugène Aka Aouélé, and the Chief of Staff of the Minister of Women, Family and Children, Mr. Moussa Diarrassouba. Discussions focused on ongoing collaboration and future opportunities to strengthen SRHR policy, programming and awareness in Côte d’Ivoire.  Dr. Bermejo also met with key partners including UNFPA, PSI, MSI, IPAS, PATHFINDER and local NGOs supporting AIBEF’s work on the ground. Partners highlighted impactful partnerships on various SRHR issues and exploring ways to enhance collaboration moving forward. The visit also included a meeting with UNAIDS Country Office to identify opportunities for closer collaboration between HIV and family planning services.  At the community level, Dr. Bermejo visited “Espace Confiance”, an AIBEF-supported clinic providing SRHR services to key populations, including members of the LGBTQ+ community, transgender people, and sex workers. He spoke directly with clients to better understand the services they access and persistent barriers faced. Finally, recognizing the importance of leaving no one behind, the Director General visited the National Ivorian Institute for the Promotion of the Blind (INIPA) which recently received support from AIBEF to translate a comprehensive sexuality education manual into braille so visually impaired young people can access this critical information.  “This visit allowed for critical high-level discussions about how we can work together to fully meet the sexual and reproductive health needs of all people in Côte d’Ivoire. It also revealed grassroots perspectives to ensure our programmes address barriers and gaps experienced by key populations and marginalized groups on a daily basis as we advance universal health coverage,” concluded Dr. Bermejo.