Speaker of the National Assembly Patrick Matibini says Members of Parliament (MPs) have an important role to play in the attainment of Sexual Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) because of the unique position they hold in society.
Dr. Matibini said MPs can play a pivotal role in exerting and maintaining political pressure to influence and scrutinise policies as well as stimulate national
response to HIV and Sexual Reproductive Health.
ZANIS reports that the Speaker was speaking today during the official opening of a multi-stakeholders training workshop for women parliamentarians in Kafue.
The workshop was organised by the National Assembly of Zambia in collaboration with the Southern Africa Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF), with the support of the Swedish Embassy.
Dr Matibini noted that it is especially important for women parliamentarians, to realise that they have the power to champion advocacy for SRHR issues both within the country and the entire SADC region.
He said it is important for the MPs to be mindful that as advocates of the electorates, they are the voice of the silent majority who are often unable to fight against injustices that arise as a result of inappropriate policy and legislative frameworks.
The Speaker also said female law makers have a mandate to repeal and replace bad laws with laws that will take on board current trends in SRHR service provision and practice.
And Chairperson of the National working group Christopher Kalila noted that the empowerment of women is key to sustainable development.
Dr. Kalila pointed out that SRHR is a critical pre requisite of the empowerment of women and is key to the attainment of gender equality and realisation of other human rights.
He noted that accessibility, affordability, quality, accountability and availability of sexual reproductive rights continue to be major issues in the life cycle of women and girls
Dr. Kalila urged the Law Makers to confront the structures, traditions and forces that perpetrate and aggravate vulnerability among women and girls.
The SRHR, HIV and AIDS Governance project is aimed at building capacity of parliamentarians, especially female Members of Parliament to promote, intervene and advocate for comprehensive essential sexual and reproductive health, HIV and AIDS services.
The female MPs are expected to influence policy environment in their countries in order to ensure that it is supportive of the enjoyment of human rights in general especially sexual and reproductive health rights in particular.