SAfAIDS expresses its full support and solidarity with the United Nations Human Rights Committee, General Comment No. 36 of 2018 on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), on the Right to Life. The General Comment expands the understanding of the right to life in the submission that the right includes entitlements of individuals to live and enjoy a life of dignity.  In its entirety, the right to life constitutes a fundamental right whose effective protection is the medium through which all other human rights are exercised and enjoyed.


“Girls are a special resource and vast investment, whose potential remains largely undermined and untapped. There is need to move away from gender equality rhetoric, and scale up actual action towards achieving equality at all levels as part of the global commitment towards realizing gender equality and equity.

SAfAIDS, through regional and local programmes in the SADC region, remains highly committed to safeguarding and promoting the rights of the girl child. We join the rest of the world in striving for gender equality on this day, 11th October and every other day throughout the year. We must be mindful that girls are an Investment for the progress of society as a whole. We cannot talk about development without addressing the inequality hindering our girls’ progress and development.  We need to address child marriages, teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions and all forms of violence perpetrated against girls. We owe it to our girls and our future, to fully invest in the development of the girl child.” SAfAIDS Executive Director, Mrs Lois Chingandu




Commemorating International Safe Abortion Day

28th September 2018


“Addressing barriers to adolescent girls’ and women’s access to abortion in the region and globally is a matter of urgency. Restrictive legislative frameworks and criminalisation of abortion does not prevent abortion. It only renders it unsafe and threatening to health and lives. The high incidence of mortality due to unsafe abortions is unnecessary loss of life. This can easily be prevented when adolescent girls and women’s decisions and choices over their bodies are respected & EVERYONE commits to protect the rights, health, safety and well-being of millions of adolescent girls and women in SADC.

 Unwanted pregnancies have a profound effect on the lives of women and girls; their abilityand right to make choices about their lives. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), safe abortions are one of the safest and simplest medical procedures in existence.Yet, with abortion mostly illegal and highly frowned upon in most Southern African countries, unsafe abortion accounts for 10% to 13% of maternal mortality in the region. In the Southern African attitudes survey, nearly half (45% women and 44% men) said theyagreed or strongly agreed that a woman had a right to terminate her pregnancy within the first trimester. Attitudes towards abortion are changing!

28 September is International Safe Abortion Day. The day was first celebrated as a day of action for decriminalization of abortion in Latin America and the Caribbean in 1990. In 2011, the Women's Global Network for Reproductive Rights (WGNRR) declared 28 September as an international day. The day's name was changed to International Safe Abortion Day in 2015. 2016 was the biggest International Safe Abortion Day ever celebrated.1 From 5 to 9 November, SADC senior officials and Ministers of Health will meet in Windhoek, Namibia to adopt the revised SADC SRHR Strategy 2019-2030 and its related score card. This takes place against the backdrop of the global #Women'sMarch; #MeToo; #TimesUp and related regional campaigns such as the #IWearWhatILike and #TotalShutdown.

The 2018 SADC Gender Protocol Barometer put a spotlight on the inter-linked gender justice issues of our time including menstrual health, comprehensive sexual education, teenage pregnancies, safe abortion, maternal health, GBV, HIV and Aids, and sexual diversity.

SAfAIDS, cluster lead of the Southern Africa Gender Protocol Alliance, is leading the campaign for preventing unwanted pregnancy and unsafe abortion. This is part of the
SAfAIDS Transforming Lives - Time for Change, Time for Action campaign supported by Sweden.

Download Full International Day on Safe Abortion Media brief here :


By Lois Chingandu and Colleen Lowe Morna


Around the globe, 2017 will be remembered for the groundswell of women’s rights activism that began with spontaneous Women’s Marches as President Donald Trump took office in the USA, and gained momentum with the #MeToo, #TimesUp and #SheDecides campaigns. In a world where information moves with the speed of light, Southern Africa had its own variants to these campaigns – like the #MenAreTrash, #NotInMyName, #JusticeForKarabo #IWearWhatILike and #TotalShutDown, to name a few.