Before you is HERA’s 2023 Enlargement Review, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in our country.
Sexual and reproductive rights are part of fundamental human rights and a precondition to gender equality. Bearing this in mind, as well as the fact that EU accession remains a key goal for our country, this review outlines what changes are needed to ensure the realisation of SRHR, especially for women, young people and marginalised communities vulnerable to HIV.
During this year the anti-gender movement in the country grew stronger with the support from the five largest religious communities, including the Macedonian Orthodox Church, and continued to distribute disinformation not only against the comprehensive sexuality education but also against gender equality as well as to use and foster hate speech which to this day remains unsanctioned by the State.
The omnipresent domestic and gender based violence becomes even more visible and yet, the state budget for services for SGBV victims continues to remain at a concerning low level. The drastic budget cuts for CSOs that provide HIV and SRH services and for free contraception for socially excluded women in society, especially the unemployed and Roma women, are also among the most relevant indicators for the key developments and challenges on the road to SRHR and gender equality.
Following the 2022 Report, this one, too, highlights the gaps in legislation and policy implementation for the purpose of protecting and advancing the SRHR of all people in the country.
The 2023 Enlargement review, with a focus on SRHR, is available here.