Men politicians missing at the APCRSH meet

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Hyderabad, Oct 29 (UNI) While 1300 delegates from 40 countries deliberated on the sexual and reproductive rights of the people, especially those of women, adolescents, transgender and gays, at the Fourth Asia Pacific Conference On Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights here today, male politicians chose to give it a miss indicating the low priority given to these issues.

Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss and Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy were conspicuous by their absence at the inauguration of the three day APCRSH meet here this morning. Dr Ramadoss' absence was attributed to having Viral fever, while Mr Reddy could not attend the meeting due to some family problem.

UNFPA Executive Director Thoraya Obaid also could not make the keynote address, which was read by UNFPA Deputy Executive Director Purnima Mane.

However, Chinese Vice Minister for National Population and Family Planning Commission Baige Zhao compensated for their absence at the inaugural function, while Minister of State for Women and Child Development Renuka Chowdhury made her presence felt at the plenary session on 'Implementing Sexual and Reproductive Rights: An Unfinished Agenda' later in the day.

Meanwhile, President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi sent their messages complimenting the efforts of Indian Consortium and the international community for making efforts to organise this International event for the first time in India.

The meet would focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights of the people and bring it to the centre stage as it would not only help in checking population growth but would also prevent HIV/AIDS infection.

The Conference on the theme of 'Exploring New Frontier in Reproductive and Sexual Health and Rights' would focus on the sexual and reproductive rights of women, adolescent, youth, transgender, disabled and other marginalised sections of the society.

Addressing the conference, Ms Purnima Mani of UNFPA highlighted the high maternal mortality, HIV/AIDS infection and violence against women and said that meeting their sexual and reproductive needs were crucial for reducing maternal mortality and morbidity and realising the Millennium Development Goals.

Dr Gillian Greer, Director General of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, emphasised women's rights to control her body was crucial in controlling population. He said that the policies and programmes should be properly implemented so that the sexual and reproductive rights of women, especially adolescent girls and boys were met.

Ms Zhao also released the documents of the conference and announced that the 5th APCRSH would be held in China.


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