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This morning, the House of Commons International Development Committee has published its report into the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) approach to sexual and reproductive health. The full report can be read here.

Jesse Sperling, interim Executive Director of Kaleidoscope Trust, said:

“We welcome the report from the International Development Committee into the FCDO’s approach to sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and the strong calls from the Committee to reinstate funding for development programmes focusing on SRHR, to set clear targets for ending preventable deaths, and to commit a stated percentage of Official Development Assistance to be spent on SRHR. 

“We were pleased to have the opportunity to provide evidence to the Committee. We spoke about the stigma and discrimination faced by LGBTI+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex) people in lower income countries when they try to access sexual and reproductive healthcare services and the importance of ensuring that funding is not only provided to an appropriate level but also that it is sustained to enable long-term planning and relationship building.

“As we found in our own report on LGBTI+ Rights in the Commonwealth for the 2022 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, experiences of stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings often deter LGBTI+ people from seeking medical treatment. In countries where same-sex intimacy is criminalised, LGBTI+ people may refrain from seeking healthcare or sharing information with health practitioners for fear of revealing ‘criminal’ conduct. In many countries, health services tailored to the needs of LGBTI+ people are unavailable, inaccessible or inadequate, and lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in particular are often mistreated and misdiagnosed by healthcare providers or denied access to sexual and reproductive health care. 

“We are heartened to see evidence we gave reflected in the Committee’s report, and particularly the Committee’s call for all SRHR programmes to be accessible to all and to include marginalised and hard-to-reach people in the planning, development and delivery of SRHR aid programming. 

“At a time when we are seeing a concerted global pushback against rights, including sexual and reproductive rights and those of LGBTI+ people, it is vitally important that the UK Government heed the recommendations of the Committee’s report.”