Today, 10 December, is marked as an International Human Rights Day. On this day in our country and countries all around the World, messages are sent and exchanged in order to confirm the significance of realization of human rights, and also time is spent for reviewing the activities from the previous year.
We, as young volunteers and activists in the informal youth organization H.E.R.A. in our everyday activities and initiatives, restlessly work on more affirmation, but also actualization of the sexual rights. Sexual rights are actually part from human rights, but they are the ones that refer to human sexuality. The corpus of the human rights can not be entirely realized without respecting all the rights, including the ones which refer to sexuality.
The previous year in Macedonia, was marked by many events which reminded us that sexual rights are a part from our everyday life and that they have to be accomplished and respected.
This year like no previous one, can also be marked by the events which occurred, and were a result to the homophobic atmosphere in our countries society.
Hate speech towards people with different sexual orientation and identity, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex, was present. But, in that atmosphere, homophobia didn’t remain just as a pail trail which was somewhere said of written. Homophobia gave birth to violence towards this society and people from the LGBTI society were subject to physical attacks. The whole homophobic atmosphere was transferred to the highest legislative house, through the argument for constitutional changes and defining marriage. The institutions response toward this situation was SILENCE. But silence, does not change anything, only deepens the problem and makes violence lawful. And behind the blind curtain of the so called “preserving of woman’s health”, this summer in Republic of Macedonia’s Assembly, a new law for pregnancy interruption was brought. A law which directly affects the life and health of women and girls, and was brought to the legislative house by a fast-track procedure.
The message was more than clear, somebody in this country has the right to terminate somebody else’s rights in just a few days, and the state will be the one to decide what’s “best” for women, instead of them themselves. This law was passed, the women’s body integrity has been limited and as a result, girls and women who have need from this medical intervention are been stigmatized by pushing them into the administrative mazes. All of this was complemented with the ‘millions’ of governmental commercials, girls are stigmatized even more, just for bringing a decision for their own body. True planned parenthood is also unavailable because for most of the citizen, contraceptives are still too expensive, and the state doesn’t enable them through the state’s budget.
Youngsters in Macedonia need a thorough sexual education which will teach them the values built on the bases of human rights, values that will help them be more open and tolerate, education which will offer them true and scientifically based information. The initiative for thorough sexual education was rejected without real arguments. The youth in Macedonia stays without relevant and thorough information for their own body, sexuality and health.
Everyday examples for limiting, public encouragement for breaking the human rights connected with sexual and reproductive life, as well as closing all the well – argued debates, will not discourage us in our work. We will continue somewhere, and start some-where else, but that work will still be addressed towards building a society which is based on equality for all, in which the youth has the opportunity to be informed for everything that interests them, and have the rights and liberties to bring their own decisions.