A section of the gathering at the State Level Consultation on ‘Reproductive Rights and Laws’ in Kohima. (Photo Courtesy: HRLN)
Kohima, December 6 (MExN): Nagaland Unit of Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) organized a State Level Consultation on ‘Reproductive Rights and Laws’ on November 28 and 29 at Jubilee Memorial Hall, Kohima.
The consultation was held to deliberate and discuss on various issues on reproductive rights and laws targeting to address the violation of reproduction rights and accessibility of services and facilities in Nagaland. The Consultation was attended by various student bodies from across the districts, Non-Governmental Organization, representatives from Mother’s Organization, students from Kohima Law College, Civil Society Organization, social workers and others, stated a press release.
Resource persons for the consultation were Hukatoli Chophy (Administrator, Legislator’s Forum on AIDS), Kezhokhoto Savi (Professor, Kohima Law College & President NVCO), Keyounkhum (Advisor, Chessor Area Public Forum), Vitono Haralu (Director, Pathfinders), Ketho Angami (President, Access to Rights & Knowledge Foundation), Kezhosano Kikhi (Coordinator, HRLN), Dr Rosemary Dzüvichü (Professor and HoD, English Department Nagaland University), Naro (Vice-President, Nagaland Users Network), Vilie Rhetso (Counselor, FPA India Nagaland Branch).
The two day consultation discussed on topics of violence against women in Nagaland vis-à-vis forced sterilization, right to food security in the state, core concerns on food security in the state, healthcare rights and relevant issues, issues/challenges/problems faced by the PLHIV communities in Nagaland, guide to public interest litigation/success stories through PILs in the state, women’s experiences of the public health system, right to education, sexual health, rights of female drug users, public health system in Nagaland and legal abortion/reproductive health, safe practices, issues and interventions.
Sharing the plight of sex workers in the state, Hukatoli stated that access to sexual health and reproductive rights for sex workers is a far cry for lack of information and limited knowledge by the sex worker communities and the public themselves at large.
Professor Savi highlighted the provisions of National Food Security Act 2013 and how it ensures nobody dies out of hunger in the country. Speaking on the topic core concerns on Food Security in the state, Keyoungkhum lamented the condition especially in rural areas where people are not acquainted with right to food and programme of schemes are taken advantage by implementing authorities and distributors. Keyoungkhum concluded that each individual is accountable for the weak implementation of the National food Security Act in Nagaland.
Ketho spoke on healthcare, rights and relevant issues where he pointed out that through pressure of activism, situations have improved to some extent in the context of availing HIV and Hepatitis treatment in Nagaland. He also highlighted poor health care facilities, such as old and dysfunctional CD4 machines, inaccessibility to proper treatment due to shortage of essential medicines, patients from rural areas suffers more.
Kezhosano shared on the guide to public Interest litigation/success stories through PILs in the state, and schemes of National Heath Mission in Nagaland. He highlighted that Nagaland despite coming under the category of high performing state, rate of women delivering in an institute stood at 32.6 % with 25.1% of the institutional birth occurring at public health facility.
She further lamented that the high rate of home deliveries in rural areas only explains the poor implementation of NHM policy and programmes which has failed to provide a robust health system, precluding women from delivering in the institutes. Nagaland till date has no official Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) despite the existence of a Maternal Death Review Committee.
Implementation of Janani Shishu Yojana (JSY) and Janani Shishu Suraksha Karyakram (JSSK) in the state also portrayed a sorry picture depicting vast existence of backlog payment in JSY scheme and lack of free and zero delivery expenses under JSSK Scheme, violating right to quality life and healthcare mandated under Article 21 of the Indian Constitution.
Focusing on the topic sexual health, rights of female drug users, ground realities and scenario in Nagaland, Naro pointed out the huge presence of female drugs users which is not recognized by the society. They have no access to sexual reproductive rights which in many cases pregnant female drug users are pressurized by medical practitioners for abortion and in some cases sterilization are done without their knowledge. The ground reality shows that the concept of sexual health rights doesn’t exist for them due to discrimination from all corners.
Ville spoke on essential benefits of family planning, safe abortion and the importance of knowing the method of contraception such as natural method, periodic abstinence or withdrawal method.
On issues/challenges and problems under Prevention of Parent to Child Transmission (PPTCT) in Nagaland, spokesperson of positive community highlighted numerous challenges faced by the community, such as essential medicines running out of stock, discrimination faced from some medical practitioners in government hospitals, wrong treatment.
Recommendations on the need to seek judicial services for effective implementation on sexual and reproductive rights were also suggested.