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AFY 2012 2089

Every August 12, the world celebrates International Youth Day.  This year’s theme is “Youth Migration: Moving Development Forward.” As advocates dedicated to advancing the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young people, you might be asking, what’s migration got to do with SRHR?  Well, just about everything.

Nearly half of the world’s population—more than 3 billion people—is under the age of 25. Furthermore, young people under the age of 29 make up half of all global migrants. During the process of migration, young women and girls …

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This week, we celebrated the tenth and final week of 50 Days of Action for Women and Girls, a social media campaign mobilizing mass support for policies and programs that enable women and girls around the world to be healthy, empowered, educated, and safe.   Spearheaded by our friends at the International Women’s Health Coalition, and supported by hundreds of advocacy organizations around the world, the campaign focused on eight critical topics over the course of ten weeks:

  • Ensuring quality education of women and girls;
  • Putting women and

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BREAKING NEWS: Today, the US Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that the Anti-Prostitution Pledge (or the Anti-Prostitution Loyalty Oath—APLO) is unconstitutional because it violates the First Amendment’s free speech clause.

As way of background, the APLO is a provision in PEPFAR’s authorizing legislation (our global HIV/AIDS program) which requires NGOs receiving PEPFAR funds to explicitly oppose prostitution and sex trafficking as a condition of receiving those funds.  The Court ruled that the government cannot do this because it requires NGOs to adopt the government’s viewpoint in violation of its free speech …

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In honor of International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, Susan Rice–US Representative to the United Nations–released this statement and video expressing support for equal rights for all individuals and communities, particularly LGBT youth.

Today, as we commemorate International Day Against Homophobia, we rededicate ourselves to a basic but essential truth – that human rights are universal and must be protected for all.  Homophobia, sadly, is present in every corner of our world.  And, it is a problem we continue to face here in the United States.

At the United Nations,

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Last week, governments from around the world met at the United Nations for the 46th Commission on Population and Development (CPD).  Throughout the week-long deliberations, governments, UN agencies, demographers, and NGOs debated the topic of migration and its relationship to the 1994 ICPD Programme of Action—a groundbreaking declaration which signaled a major shift in population policy from one based on population control to one based on human rights, including sexual and reproductive health (SRH).

What’s migration got to do with sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR), you …

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The two years I spent serving as a health volunteer with the Peace Corps in West Africa were some of the most formative years of my life. They fostered my sense of independence and resourcefulness, solidified my career and life goals, and taught me to question injustices, particularly those injustices that jeopardized the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young women and girls and placed them at an educational, economic, social, and political disadvantage. I never imagined that one day I would find myself questioning injustices faced by …

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Just in time for World AIDS Day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton unveiled a Blueprint for Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation.  The Blueprint lays out four “roadmaps” that will guide the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR)—the U.S. government’s global AIDS program—as it continues to provide life-saving HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support programs around the world.

The four roadmaps—saving lives, smart investments, shared responsibility, and driving results with science—are based on the following five principles:

  • Make strategic, scientifically sound investments to rapidly scale-up core HIV prevention, treatment

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On November 29, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)—the government’s lead agency delivering foreign assistance to more than 100 countries around the world—officially launched its first-ever Youth in Development Policy. The policy, which has been posted on the USAID website since the beginning of November, provides the agency with important guidance recognizing young people as a driving force in global development efforts.

Nearly two years in the making, the policy seeks to strengthen youth programming, participation, and partnership while mainstreaming and integrating young people throughout all of …

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Today, October 11, marks the FIRST-ever International Day of the Girl. Recognized by the United Nations, governments, communities, and girls around the world, the Day of the Girl is about highlighting, celebrating, discussing, and advancing young women’s and girls’ lives and opportunities across the globe.

While I would argue that every day should be about honoring young women and girls who are standing up to injustice and oppression, having the entire world mobilize around one day is extremely powerful. It unites communities in raising awareness of issues uniquely facing …

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Well, they’re at it again. Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee are using smoke and mirrors to try to distract us all from their real intentions of being the most anti-woman, anti-life crusaders the U.S. Congress has seen in decades. But, we’re not falling for their thinly-veiled hypocrisy. And neither should the US public.

Republicans voted eleven separate times yesterday to block funding for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). That’s right, eleven separate times in the span of just three hours. What exactly were they voting against? …

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Last week, the US Senate took several important steps forward in supporting the sexual and reproductive health and rights of women, men, and young people in the Global South. While deficit reduction talks and threats of a government shut-down loomed over the US Capitol, the Senate Appropriations Committee carried on with business as usual and approved its annual funding bill for foreign assistance programs, including global health programs. In a direct repudiation of the House of Representatives’ ongoing ideological attacks on women, the Senate committee voted to fund international …

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This morning, 13 U.S. Senators unveiled a new video for the “It Gets Better” project.  In the video, they discuss the struggles of friends and classmates who were unable to come out when they were in school as well as the efforts they are undertaking today in the Senate to protect LGBTQ youth from discrimination and bullying.  Check out the video and be sure to thank Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Chris Coons (D-Del.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Chuck …

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Today, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted the first-ever UN resolution on the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Imagine that…LGBT individuals are finally considered worthy of human rights protections! Let’s ignore the fact that a longstanding principle of international human rights law is that human rights are universal and therefore apply to ALL individuals as an inalienable right of being human. Yes, that’s right, LGBT individuals were just not considered human beings, I guess.

Until today, that is. The UN resolution, offered by …

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Editor’s Note: This post is part of the 2011 Amplify International Women’s Day Blogathon. Click here to learn more about how you can join this week of action.

Today marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. While we’ve come a long way over the last century, the fact remains that in many parts of the world, life is still a significant challenge for women, particularly young women. Whether she lives in a refugee camp, a rural village, or the capital of her country, a young woman …

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Yesterday, leading LGBTQ activist David Kato was brutally attacked and murdered in his home outside Kampala, Uganda. For those of you who have been following the situation in Uganda, you know that David’s photo and address had been published in the Ugandan tabloid newspaper, Rolling Stone, along with a headline advocating for death by hanging for all homosexuals. David and two other activists filed suit against the newspaper seeking an injunction against further publication. And just recently, the High Court of Uganda ruled in their favor, citing a constitutional …

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Congress is wrapping up its work for the year and we need you to make sure they don’t leave town without taking action to eliminate the harmful practice of child marriage. I recently wrote about Senate passage of the International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act. This groundbreaking legislation would require the president to develop a strategy to combat child marriage, integrate the issue of child marriage into relevant U.S. development programs, and require the State Department to report on the practice in its annual Human Rights Report.

In order …

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Sixty million girls aged 15-19 are married worldwide. If present trends continue, in the next decade, 100 million girls will be married before they turn 18. Earlier this year, we heard the courageous story of Nujood Ali, a 12-year-old girl in Yemen who successfully sought a divorce at the age of 10. In April, another 12-year-old Yemeni bride, Elham Madhi, died of internal bleeding following intercourse just three days after her marriage to a man twice her age. Sadly, these are just two instances among thousands around the world. 
During

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Can you hear that high-pitched siren? See those flashing lights? Unlike the emergency broadcasts you sometimes see on t.v., this time you won’t hear that common refrain, “This is a test. This is only a test.” That’s because we’re experiencing a real emergency here. The U.S. is about to self-destruct and it’s all because of women. Yeah, women! Who knew? I mean, I know we’re powerful and all, but I had no idea that we could single-handedly destroy the universe.

Well, that’s what conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation believe. For the first time in eight long …

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Happy Birthday 19th Amendment!

Believe it or not, it’s only been 90 years since the 19th Amendment guaranteeing women the right to vote in our democracy was made part of the Constitution. Since 1971, we’ve celebrated the anniversary of August 26, 1920, as Women’s Equality Day.

One great way to celebrate would be to make sure that every eligible woman is registered to vote. That includes women turning 18 and those who have recently become naturalized citizens. After all, as important as the right to vote …

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On July 31st, the Obama Administration released its strategy for achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals, the eight goals 192 nations agreed to achieve by the year 2015. They include eradicating poverty, achieving universal primary education, promoting gender equality, reducing child mortality, improving maternal health, combating HIV/AIDS, ensuring environmental sustainability, and forging a global partnership.

This strategy should not become just another piece of paper to read and then file away in cabinets filled to the brim with policy statements that never see the light of day again. This document …

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Last night, Advocates for Youth’s Mimi Melles co-hosted the Youth Reception at the 2010 International AIDS Conference. Dressed in costumes made out of condoms, she and her co-host Hugh Stephens honored Michel Sidibe for his work in support of youth. Check out this article on the UNAIDS website for a full report.

 

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Remember when you were little and you labored over creating a catchy “Roses are Red, Violets are Blue” poem to write in your homemade Mother’s Day card? Even though your poem might not have been the most eloquent and your card might not have been the prettiest, it didn’t matter. What mattered was that you took the time to recognize all the amazing contributions your mother made in your life as well as the lives of countless others.

Now, imagine if your mother faced violence and discrimination daily. What if she …

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Janine Kossen, Advocates for Youth

Last week, promising news broke about a decline in global maternal mortality over the past 28 years. While this is indeed fantastic news and definitely a step in the right direction, the reality is that complications from pregnancy (including childbirth and unsafe abortion) are still the leading cause of death for young women aged 15-19. Furthermore, the abovementioned report makes note that progress in reducing maternal mortality would have been even greater had it not been for HIV/AIDS, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, where the …