The Opportunity to Seriously Talk about the Right to Health

This year more than ever we needed to talk about our right to health. With Covid-19 on the high point, not only it is important to know our right to health in a concern to Covid-19, but above all, in concern to everything else, as the health system in every aspect is being questioned at the time.

WYA organized this year for us, an amazing conference, on the subject of “Youth for women’s health and rights”. During a period of 5 days, from 2nd till 6th of November, we have had an opportunity to introduce ourselves with human rights in general above all, women’s rights and especially women’s rights to health and how it is preserved in different COE Countries.

The event was to be held online, during to the Covid-19 crisis that was and still is shaking all of Europe. Nevertheless we were able to keep the event going and above all learn and exchange a lot. Working in groups, giving presentations, learning and above all exchanging opinions was still the key point of this conference.

The Conference started with a brief introduction of our program and what we are going to be doing for the next five days.

The first day of our interactive sessions was all in the light of learning, mainly from the aspects of Council of Europe. We started off by introducing ourselves with the most important documents of the Council of Europe and discussed further on how human rights are being pursued in the Council of Europe. To wrap up the first day and the knowledge we’ve gotten from the presentation, at the end it was discussed how we can advocate in practice for our needs.

Next day was still of a learning/informative nature, but this time on a more specific level. On the beginning of the day we have had a discussion about Human Rights and Women Rights with the experts, where we could express ours and most importantly hear opinions of already well educated people on the subject. Further on, the presentations were given on how information about health can be gained in different countries of Council of Europe and then even more specific what kind of programs are being held in every Council of Europe country that preserve and encourage Women’s health and rights. This was very important, as it is hard to speak in general of women’s health and rights in Europe, since as we have got to see and hear first hand, the differences between countries, when it comes to this subject, are massive.

The last two days were more of a practical matter. Guided by the knowledge we gained, we split into different groups a couple of times, where we discussed the way of implementing the gained knowledge in a form of Manual and Strategy as the outcome of our work. At the end there were two groups working, on two different days on the both documents and finally presenting it to each other. It is safe to say, that both documents speak for themselves when it comes to the effectiveness of this Conference. Not only we have learned a lot, but actually as it turned out at the end, were able to use our knowledge to form a specific suggestion for the future with the hope that our vision will be implemented one day.

In this conference participated the youth from different countries with various cultural backgrounds. As the conference was held online we tried to hang out as much as we could in the form of online game nights, so that participants could gain a better feeling of working together. It was not the same as being live, but it was something different and new. What it is to be said for sure it that effectiveness of our learning and improvisation was not compromised. Even online a lot of practical knowledge can be learnt. During a short period of time we were able to introduce ourselves with a very complex topic, such as Women’s Rights and Health – as it is pointing to two different right – mainly women’s rights in general and even more precisely women’s rights to health. As this was very wide and in the modern age above all important topic nearly introducing with the subject was very complex. Thanks to the help of WYA and experts who joined the conference we were able to understand the subject more than enough.

Published: December 23, 2020
Written by Mirna Kušljugić, a WYA Europe’s ELC 2020 participant from Austria