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Migrant Women’s Health and Human Rights in Jeopardy

By September 5, 2006News

Release date: 06 September 2006

The Irish Family Planning Association today welcomed the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) for its comprehensive and timely report into International Migration. The Report, A Passage to Hope: Women and International Migration officially launched by Minister Conor Lenihan, focuses on the women migrants who constitute almost half of all international migrants worldwide.

Speaking at the Launch the IFPA spokesperson noted that both the UNFPA and IFPA are delighted that Minister Lenihan is here to launch the Report.

'The Irish Government has provided important funding to allow the UNFPA to follow through on its vital mandate. The IFPA eagerly awaits the publication later this month of the White Paper on Irish Aid, which we hope will allow for Irish Aid policies and funding to continue to provide for improved sexual and reproductive services worldwide'.

The negative aspects of migration, as the State of World Population Report acknowledges, put women’s sexual and reproductive health and rights at risk. Immigrant women often have a higher incidence of unplanned pregnancies owing to poor access and a lack of information regarding contraceptives and how to obtain them.

'Higher crisis pregnancy rates among immigrants reflect women’s limited decision –making power and lack of access to quality family planning services. We also know that the psychological, social and cultural factors they are faced with mean that women and girls face particularly high risks of contracting HIV and other STIs throughout the migration process.

The report illustrates that access to sexual and reproductive health services and rights are strongest where women have autonomy, choice, bodily integrity and equality.

'From our experience of working with women on the move we know that they do not always have these services in their home countries and can benefit from family planning information, knowledge and services in Ireland.

'All service providers must work, to minimise the cultural, economic and linguistic barriers which stop women from accessing health services in Ireland. Financial support and increased data on the real requirements of migrants are required to allow us to provide adequate and appropriate services.

'The report points out that an integrated response from Government could ensure all migrants, but particularly females who are particularly vulnerable to exploitation and abuse are protected. As the State of World Population Report stresses migration, when well-managed, can be a win-win situation not only for society but for the individual' concluded the IFPA spokesperson.

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Background information.
United Nations Population Fund – www.unfpa.org – is the world's largest internationally funded source of population assistance to developing countries.

Since it began operations in 1969, the Fund has provided some $5 billion in assistance to developing countries.

One fourth of the world's population assistance from donor nations to developing countries is channelled through UNFPA. In 1997 the IFPA was granted ‘Collaborating NGO' status by the UNFPA and since then we have worked productively with the organisation by, amongst other things, hosting and organising the launch of the annual State of the World Population Report in Ireland.