The Matić Report: Joint Letter to MEPs on the situation of sexual & reproductive health and rights in the EU

On the 23rd June 12 NGOs and civil society organisations, including aditus foundation, sent a letter to our 6 MEPs asking them to support and vote in favour of the Matić Report. This Report on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health was presented for approval to the European Parliament by MEP Predrag Matić on the 24th June 2021.

The Matić report covers a number of areas relating to sexual and reproductive health and rights in the European Union. The report at the outset considers that sexual and reproductive health (SRH) is a state of physical, emotional, mental and social well-being in relation to all aspects of sexuality and reproduction. It furthermore declares that all individuals have a right to make decisions governing their bodies, free from discrimination, coercion and violence.

Primarily, it identifies SRH as an essential component of good health and calls on Member States to guarantee the enjoyment of SRH services and rights for all with consideration for marginalised groups, including women from ethnic, racial and religious minorities, migrant women, women with disabilities, women without health insurance, LGBTI persons and victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

The report identifies a number of key services in order to achieve this:

  • Access to safe, fair and circular menstrual products for all: widespread availability of toxin-free and reusable menstrual products and to counter the negative effects of the so-called tampon tax on gender equality.
  • Comprehensive sexuality education benefits young people: universal access to scientifically accurate, evidence-based, age-appropriate, non-judgemental and comprehensive sexuality education and information for all primary and secondary school children.
  • Modern contraception as a strategy for achieving gender equality: universal access to a range of high-quality and accessible modern contraceptive methods and supplies, family planning counselling and information on contraception for all, and addressing all barriers impeding access to contraception, such as financial and social barriers.
  • Safe and legal abortion care anchored in women’s health and rights: abortion should also be a voluntary decision based on a person’s request, given of their own free will, in accordance with medical standards and availability, accessibility, affordability and safety based. Importantly for Malta, in a watershed moment the Report:

Invites the Member States to review their national legal provisions on abortion and bring them into line with international human rights standards and regional best practices by ensuring that abortion at request is legal in early pregnancy and, when needed, beyond if the pregnant person’s health or life is in danger; recalls that a total ban on abortion care or denial of abortion care is a form of gender-based violence and urges Member States to promote best practices in healthcare by establishing available SRH services at primary-care level, with referral systems in place for all required higher-level care.”

para. 35 – European Parliament resolution of 24 June 2021 on the situation of sexual and reproductive health and rights in the EU, in the frame of women’s health (2020/2215(INI))
  • Access to fertility treatments: all persons of reproductive age have access to fertility treatments, regardless of their socio-economic or marital status, gender identity or sexual orientation.
  • Maternity, pregnancy and birth-related care for all:  access without discrimination to high-quality, accessible, evidence-based and respectful maternity, pregnancy and birth-related care for all, including midwifery, antenatal, childbirth and postnatal care, and maternal mental health support.

The Report was approved with 378 votes in favour, 255 votes against and with 32 abstentions. Only one Maltese MEP voted in favour, two abstained and two voted against.

Vacancy Announcement: Junior Legal Officer

We are seeking to immediately recruit a Junior Legal Officer to join our Pro Bono Unit, as part of our implementation of the project ‘Documentation = Employability‘, funded by the European Social Fund.

Recruitment Policies

aditus foundation is an independent, voluntary and non-profit organisation established with a mission to monitor, act and report on access to fundamental human rights. Our work includes advocacy, research, capacity building and provision of pro bono legal services in the field of asylum, migration, LGBTIQ+ rights and individual rights and freedoms.

We are seeking to recruit a motivated individual to join our team of human rights advocates in Malta. Our team consists of 4 permanent staff members, supported by a dynamic group of interns and trainees.

aditus is an equal opportunity employer. We value a diverse workforce and an inclusive culture. We encourage applications from all qualified individuals without regard to race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, age, marital status, citizenship, and (dis)ability.

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Malta and national minorities: what does the Council of Europe say?

Fifth Opinion of Malta of the Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities, Council of Europe, 18 February 2021

The Advisory Committee on the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities rendered its Fifth Opinion of Malta, despite the absence of a state report and a country visit. The conclusions and recommendations reflect Malta’s long-standing political, cultural and social issues regarding integration, discrimination, hate crime and hate speech.

‘No national minorities in Malta’?

Under the scope of the Council of Europe, national minorities are meant to be protected by the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM). This is a legally binding document adopted in 1994 that Malta signed in 1995 and ratified in 1998. It is currently in force in 38 other states.

By signing and ratifying the FCNM, Malta committed to “respect, ensure the protection of national minorities, to promote full and effective equality of persons belonging to minorities in economic, social political, public and cultural” spheres as well as to ensure their “freedom of assembly, association, expression, thought, conscience, religion, access to and use of the media, linguistic freedom and right to education”

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New projects for 2021!

We’re happy to present the list of new projects we’ll be working on this year. These projects cover a broad range of issues…from statelessness to sex work from child detention to undocumented migrants…pretty much reflecting the needs we’ve identified in several sectors. Many of these initiatives will commence this year and flow into 2022. They join the projects we started last year, with the entire list giving you an idea of how busy we are but also of the human rights issues Malta still needs to address.

Contrary to what most people think, a long list of projects is not necessarily a good thing. Whilst it does mean that we’re able to address several human rights concerns, it also means that our work runs the risk of being fragmented and boxed within the constraints of specific projects: timelines, ear-marked budgets, constant reporting.

Human rights advocacy, by definition, is very difficult to squeeze into a finite project. Goals are generally long-term, targets not always reached and activities usually involve meeting stakeholders, initiating dialogue and other ‘soft’ elements that are hard to measure, evaluate and report on. Yet of course we count ourselves lucky that we have access to project funds to carry out our work, and thank all funding entities for these opportunities.

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