Spanish Senator on follow up mission to El Salvador
SAN SALVADOR, 15 May – In January 2017, 7 parliamentarians representing Finland, Spain, the United Kingdom and Portugal, members of the European Parliamentary Forum on Population and Development (EPF) in coordination with the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) and the Salvadoran Demographic Association ( ADS) conducted a study trip to El Salvador and Guatemala. During the visit to El Salvador, the delegation met with the Technical Secretariat of the Presidency, the Secretariat for Social Inclusion, the Human Rights Defense Procurator's Office (PDDH), the Parliamentary Women's Committee of the Legislative Assembly, various ADS projects / Profamilia, Salvadoran Coalition for Sexual Education and Projects of the Spanish Cooperation Agency (in the case of Spanish senators). As a result of this visit and the concern aroused by the group of parliamentarians regarding the legal and social situation of Salvadoran women, how to improve women's lives, their health and well-being, Senator Rubio Mielgo, together with the other parliamentarians of the EPF and AECID Spanish Cooperation coordinated a specific follow-up visit to El Salvador to strengthen parliamentary and social initiatives around the theme of Population and Development.
Over the course of the 6 day visit, Senator Rubio met with several stakeholders such as:
- Civil Society Organisations highlighting the importance of the role of civil and the need to generate and / or continue a joint block of clear demands on legislators by Civil Society. It was noted that the civil movement is very prepared and willing to talk about Human Rights of Women. Among the organisations there were: Movement for a secular culture (Movimiento por una cultura laica), Citizen Group for the Decriminalization of therapeutic, ethical and eugenic abortion (Agrupación Ciudadana por la Despenalización del aborto terapéutico, ético y eugenésico), Association of Women for Dignity and Life – Las Dignas (Asociación de Mujeres por la Dignidad y la Vida- Las Dignas), Salvadoran Network of Human Rights Defenders (Red Salvadoreña de Defensoras de Derechos Humanos), Feminist Concertation Prudencia Ayala (Concertación Feminista Prudencia Ayala).
- Medical Associations, such as the Medicial Society of Psychiatrists and the Medicial Society of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, having a warm discussion on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights in El Salvador. It was assured that 90% of the medical staff coincide with the decriminalization of abortion in the cases proposed by the draft bill presented to the Salvadoran National Assembly (according to the internal survey of the College). However, in this regard, in general the medical profession is afraid of the repercussions of being linked to the issue.
- Journalists and the Media, including discussion with the documentarist Ms. Paula Heredia, based in the US, who is doing a documentary on Gender Based Violence in El Salvador. Ms. Heredia, who also filmed part of the conversation between the Senator and the civil society, heads the New York Women's International Committee on Film and Television, participates in the Board of Advisors of Robert De Niro's Tribeca Film Institute, is a member of the Board of Directors of Clementina, Inc.
The EPF Study Tour Follow up Visit to El Salvador proved to be very intense and productive, constituting an important contribution to the needed improvement in the lives and welfare of so many Salvadoran women and children, who do not have access to SRHR services and supplies to the several formal and informal barriers. Senator Rubio is confident that there is willingness of the decision makers of El Salvador to arrive to a consensus to decriminalize the abortion law in two specific cases, they are: (i) important risk to the of the pregnant woman and (ii) unviability of the extra uterine life of the foetus. In the two final cases that address sexual violation, such as rape or incest , there is however less consensus among the stakeholders in the country.