It is our greatest pleasure to present you with H.E.R.A. Annual Report for 2012. You will be able to see a different and hopefully more interesting approach in the presentation of our achievements and challenges we had faced in the course of the past year. Styled to resemble social media, this report is full of numerous tweets on our success, photographs and real stories that provide visualization of what we have achieved, and ultimately recaptures the fate of people who clash in their everyday lives in their pursuit of better sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and in exercising their rights.
This year we celebrated the 60th anniversary of the International Planned Parenthood Federation – IPPF, here in Skopje, together with seventy activists from forty European countries. H.E.R.A. had the honour to host the Regional Council meeting of the IPPF European Network and together with Joanna Dec, President and Vicki Clays, Executive Director, held a press conference to present findings of the regional study for use of contraception. We continued to mark the anniversary by awarding certificates of appreciation to individuals and organisations belonging to different spheres of social living, as well as to associates and supporters of our cause, who have relentlessly invested themselves in promoting sexual rights in the past years. We are particularly happy about our first publication of a summary of texts written by our volunteers and employees who work on promotion of SRH every day – “Women and men who work in H.E.R.A. made an attempt by producing texts that present personal understandings, to emphasise the problems they face in their daily life that present an obstacle to achieving the rights of the citizens, when dealing with sexual and reproductive health”.
The general political climate in 2012 could be described as full acceptance and normalisation of opposition policies towards SRH and sexual rights led by conservative policies. The number of non-governmental organisations that continued to work on the human rights agenda declined, but those that remained fateful to their principles were mostly labelled “assistants”to the current political opposition, working against the national interests. Media also became victims of the policies and those that were consistent in their support of the agenda of SRH and sexual rights, stopped “overnight”to pursue their interest in subject matters which were not in line with the government positions. Both women’s and sexual minorities’ rights were not spared as well, since we were witness to a severe homophobic campaign and open stigmatising of people who worked on promoting the rights of women and of the members of the LGBT population. They were marked to be guilty for the decreased growth of the nation and of opposing the conservative pro-natal policy. Always prepared for a well-argued debate on sexual and reproductive health and sexual rights, as well as methods for their promotion, our concern grew as we became aware of messages lacking any scientific evidence, aiming to split our comprehensive mission into contradictory fragments, clashing the right to have children and the rights of women and affecting the rights of people with different sexual orientation, in the process of which our mission is simply delegitimized. However, this has not discouraged us and we will not stop to act, but on the contrary, we will strongly and loudly commit to our values to defend sexual and reproductive rights as a fundament to human existing and human rights in general. We would like to thank all of our volunteers, associates and partners for their contribution and trust invested in us.
Milena Stevanovikj – President
Bojan Jovanovski – Executive Director
Download the English and Macedonian version of the Annual Report