Back to All Events

Europe Summit 2016

  • Ciarus 7 Rue Finkmatt Strasbourg, Alsace-Champagne-Ardenne-Lorraine, 67000 France (map)

Join us on October 19th in Strasbourg, France, the home of the European Court of Human Rights, for this one-day Human Rights in Childbirth: Europe Summit.

Human Rights in Childbirth Europe Summit 2016
October 19th, 2016
Strasbourg, France

Dear Colleague,

Join us for the Human Rights in Childbirth Europe Summit 2016 taking place on October 19th, 2016, in Strasbourg, France, the seat of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR).  This one-day Summit will occur in the framework of the conference “Birth is a Human Rights Issue” organized by Midwifery Today, which runs from October 19-24.

This event will have two major goals:

  1. To strengthen the work of European maternity care activists by convening them for strategic advocacy planning, activism and advocacy workshops, and collaboration to advance the human rights of all women in maternity care across Europe.
  2. To report on, and document, what women are experiencing in healthcare during pregnancy and childbirth across Europe, in order to advance advocacy at the local level and to educate human rights lawyers and stakeholders from the European Court of Human Rights and elsewhere.

We invite you to attend this Summit and to hear from grassroots activist groups coming from across Europe to illuminate the realities of maternity care in their nations.  The reports will focus on two particular issues that have come before the ECtHR in recent years:

  1. Informed Consent & Refusal: In Konovalova v. Russia, the ECtHR affirmed that informed consent and refusal is a human right and that it remains in effect during childbirth. National groups will share women’s reported experiences of informed consent  in maternity care, including violations in the form of obstetric violence.
  2. Accessing Midwifery/Out-of-Hospital Birth: In numerous cases before the ECtHR, including Ternovsky v. Hungary, Eastern European governments are arguing that they should be allowed to refuse to integrate out-of-hospital birth in their maternity care systems, under the argument that marginalizing or forbidding skilled attendance for home birth increases safety for women and babies by making them go to the hospital.  Activists from both Western and Eastern European nations will report on the legal status of out-of-hospital birth in each nation, and how that status affects women’s choices, experiences, and safety.

The publication of these reports will create the first comparative international report on each European nation’s legal and regulatory framework affecting pregnancy and childbirth, and how that framework relates to what women report that they are experiencing, in reality, in maternity care.  This understanding will significantly advance advocacy efforts across Europe, and elsewhere, to close the gaps between women’s human and legal rights on paper, and the realities that they experience in maternal health care at the local level.

While the morning session of the Summit will focus on sharing these reports, the afternoon will be devoted to strategic advocacy meetings and workshops.  The focus for these workshops will be determined by feedback from the national activist groups about what will best strengthen their work going forward.

Location Address: Ciarus, 7 Rue Finkmatt, F-67000, Strasbourg, France (Map)

Registration through Midwifery Today

Space for the Summit is limited, so register soon.  Please let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we hope to meet you on October 19th in Strasbourg!


Hermine Hayes-Klein
Executive Director
Human Rights in Childbirth

Questions? Contact us



Please note the program is subject to change and we will continue to post updates here.

Human Rights in Childbirth Europe Summit 2016
Wednesday, October 19th, 2016
Ciarus hotel, 7, Rue Finkmatt
Strasbourg, France

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

8:30 – 9:00: Welcome

  • Jan Tritten, Midwife, Founder, Midwifery Today
  • Hermine Hayes-Klein, Lawyer, Founder, Human Rights in Childbirth

9:00 – 10:00:  Panel: Human Rights in Midwifery Across Europe

  • Agnes Gereb, Midwife, Hungary
  • Electra Koutra, Human Rights Lawyer, Athens, Greece
  • Elizabeth Prochaska, Human Rights Lawyer, Founder, Birthrights UK
  • Rebecca Reed, Midwife, UK

10:00 – 10:30: Coffee Break

10:30 – 12:30: Reporting Session: Informed Consent and Refusal and Regulations and Integration of Midwifery and Out of Hospital Birth including Impact on Safety and Outcomes

Moderator: Willma Andreja

Representatives from NGOs working on maternal health from nations across Europe:

Representatives from NGOs working on maternal health from nations across Europe:

  • UK: Beverley Beech, AIMS, and Rebecca Schiller, Birthrights UK
  • Ireland: Krysia Lynch, AIMS Ireland
  • Netherlands: Rebekka Visser and Mira Westland, GeboorteBeweging
  • Belgium: Sabine van de Vyver, Memisa
  • Luxembourg: Maryse Arendt, Liewensufank
  • France: Kim Fompeyrine and Emmanuelle Phan, Ciane
  • Germany: Katharina Hartmann, Mother-Hood
  • Spain: Francisca Fernandez, El Parto es Nuestro
  • Italy: Alessandra Battisti and Elena Skoko, Osservatorio sulla Violenza Obstetrica
  • Bulgaria: Daniela Fortunova
  • Hungary: Linda Roszik, Movement for Respectful Maternity Care, Hungary, and Erika Schmidt, Women’s Association for Birth Rights, Hungary.
  • Croatia: Daniela Drandic, Roda
  • Slovenia: Ana Pavec
  • Slovakia: Zuzana Kriskova, Zenske Kruhy
  • Romania: Ana Maita, Mame Petru Mame
  • Ukraine: Alina Dunayevska and Anastasiya Salnykova, Pryrodni Prava (Birth rights)

12:30 – 1:30: Lunch

1:30 – 3:00: Plenary Workshop: Know Your Rights and Break the Silence Campaigns

This plenary session will provide an opportunity for maternity care advocates from across Europe to discuss and plan a joint international campaign to ensure that birthing women know their rights, and to elevate mother’s voices about what they are currently experiencing in maternity care.

  • Know Your Rights: This session will present HRiC’s global Know Your Rights campaign, including the launch of the German Know Your Rights FAQ sheet together with German NGO activist group Mother-Hood and German MEP Arne Gericke. Discussion will include ideas and issues for the development and implementation of Know Your Rights materials in nations across Europe and around the world.
    • Hermine Hayes-Klein, Human Rights in Childbirth
    • Tara Alexander, DLA Piper
    • Katharina Hartmann, Mother-Hood
    • Arne Gericke, Member of the European Parliament Family Party, Germany
  • Break the Silence: Three activist leaders will then present on how they coordinated Break the Silence social media campaigns in their nations.  The session will then propose and discuss a coordinated Break the Silence campaign to be launched at a time to be agreed upon, possibly later in the Fall. This session will include discussion of how Break the Silence can be embedded in a larger survey effort.
    • Cristen Pascucci, Improving Birth/ Birth Monopoly, USA
    • Daniela Drandic, Roda, Croatia
    • Elena Skoko, Osservatorio sulla Violenza Obstetrica, Italy

3:00 – 3:30: Coffee Break

3:30 – 4:30: Workshop/ Strategic Advocacy Meeting

  1. How to advocate for women’s rights in maternity care before human rights tribunals and bodies.
    Facilitator: Daniela Drandic, Roda
    • Leah Hoctor, Center for Reproductive Rights
    • Katrine Thomasen, Center for Reproductive Rights
  2. Sustainability in Birth Activism: How do activists sustain the ability to do this work over time? Discussion will focus on financial, health, and emotional sustainability.
    Facilitator: Rebekka Visser, GeboorteBeweging

4:30 – 5:15: Group Discussion & Next Steps

  • Moderator: Zoe Miller-Vedam, Human Rights in Childbirth

5:15 – 5:30: Closing

Earlier Event: May 26
California Summit 2016
Later Event: February 2
India Conference 2017