In January 2009, the EN-HERA! project published a report that was the result of a collaborative European research project, designed to serve as an advocacy tool for organizations and policy makers working in the field of sexual and reproductive health and rights of such target groups as refugees and asylum seekers. EPHA was present at the launch of the network in November 2008.
EN-HERA!, which stands for European Network for Promotion of Sexual and Reproductive Health of Refugees and Asylum Seekers, was an 18-month project funded by the European Refugee Fund and conducted by five European academic research institutions and one national knowledge centre. In November 2008 the network was officially launched during the international conference and seminar in Ghent, Belgium.
EN-HERA! publication is a result of a cross-European, multi-disciplinary and participatory research. It provides users with useful resources on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRH&R) of refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants. Secondly, the publication introduces a self-assessment tool both for organizations and policy makers working in the field of SRH&R who currently work, or plan to extend their work, on such specific group of clients as refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants.
This self-assessment tool, which takes the form of a check list, has been designed and elaborated on around six core principles that were embraced by EN-HERA!: rights-based, participatory, empowered, gender-balanced, cross-sectoral and multi-disciplinary, and sensitive to sexual diversity. Such a tool can produce deliverables in terms of:
raising awareness amongst stakeholders about SRH&R of refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants,
contributing to the recognition and realization of these rights,
supporting stakeholders in the development of strategies, policies and initiatives that address SRH&R of these clients.
It is worth mentioning that although the initial project proposal did not include a group of undocumented migrants, the decision to do so was taken unanimously during the launch event in November 2008. Asylum seekers often become undocumented migrants after an unsuccessful refugee status application, and they account for a particularly vulnerable, but barely visible group in Europe.
The EN-HERA! report ends with a review on the research agenda in the EU, setting the possible future study paths. Obviously more research on SRH&R of refugees, asylum seekers and undocumented migrants is needed - especially in collaboration with new EN-HERA! members and particularly with members from the new EU member states. Health campaigners have expressed hopes that this new network endures and expands in Europe and beyond to trigger, empower and guide positive changes amongst academia, health professionals, civil society and the target groups themselves.
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