Transcript: ICPD Global Youth Forum on “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality)”
NEW YORK, December 6, 2012, (C-FAM.org)—Following the plenary session (also discussed here) on the topic of “Families, youth-rights and well-being (including sexuality),” recommendations were compiled for inclusion in the International Conference on Population and Development’s (ICPD) Global Youth Forum’s outcome document and presented to the forum. The recommendations are as follows:
Financing and accountability: Governments should make a political and financial commitment to ensure that sexual and reproductive health and rights policies are prioritized for budgetary allocation and are equally accessible for all young people. Governments must be transparent in the implementation of these policies and programs on sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Sexual rights: Governments must fund and develop, in equal partnership with young people and health care providers, policies laws and programs that recognize, promote, and protect young people’s sexual rights as human rights (Footnote 1). This must be developed in accordance with the principles of human rights, nondiscrimination, respect, equality, and inclusivity, with a gendered, multicultural, and secular approach. Governments together with other stakeholders should guarantee an environment free from all forms of harmful traditional practices and psychological, physical, and sexual violence, including gender-based violence, violence against women, bullying in the home, school, workplace, and community, sexual coercion, and female genital mutilation, amongst others. Support must be provided for victims of violence, including free counseling services and legal redress. Cultural and religious barriers, such as parental and spousal consent, and early and forced marriages, should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services, recognizing that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures, and desires.
Legal protection: Governments must ensure that international and national laws, regulations, and policies remove obstacles and barriers, including requirements for parental and spousal notification and consent, and age of consent for sexual and reproductive health services, that infringe on the sexual and reproductive health and rights of adolescents and youth. Governments must repeal laws and regulations that permit violence and/or discrimination against young people, especially those who are marginalized, including laws that limit same-sex marriage and criminalize young people living with HIV, and LGBTQI. Governments should, with multi-stakeholder involvement, promote and implement laws, policies, and programs that eliminate harmful practices such as early forced marriage, rape, sexual and gender-based violence, female genital mutilation, honor killings, and all other forms of violence against adolescent girls and young women. Governments should decriminalize abortion and create and implement policies and programs that ensure that young women have access to safe and legal abortion, pre- and post-abortion services, without mandatory waiting periods, requirements for parental and spousal notification and/or consent, or age of consent.
Sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education: Governments should ensure that every young person, including LGBTQI young people, have equal access to the full range of evidence- and right-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education that is respectful of young people’s rights to informed consent. Services should be confidential, accessible, and include a full range of safe, effective, affordable methods of modern contraception and family planning services and commodities including pre- and post-natal care, amongst others. Comprehensive sexuality education should be developed in partnership with young people and include information on sexual orientation and gender identities that is free of religious intolerance.
Families: The concept of family is constantly evolving, and governments must recognize this by adapting legal, policy, and pragmatic frameworks that embrace every form of family (Footnote 2). Governments should ensure the right of everyone to form a family, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.
 With reference to the WHO working definition of sexual rights, the Yogyakarta Principles, and sexual rights in the IPPF declaration. (see below)
 Forms of families include, but are not limited to: single parenthood, same-sex couples, traditional temporarily separated, displaced, child-led, or -headed, divorced, cohabitating, fostered, grandparents raising children, couples without children, migrants, extended families, and LGBTQI.
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The WHO working definition of sexual rights is:
“Sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:
the highest attainable standard of health in relation to sexuality, including access t sexual and reproductive health care services;
seek, receive and impart information in relation to sexuality;
respect for bodily integrity;
choice of partner;
decide to be sexually active or not;
consensual sexual relations;
consensual marriage; and
pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.”
From the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) website:
IPPF endorses the definition of sexual rights agreed at the Fourth World Conference on Women, which stated that: “The human rights of women include their right to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including sexual and reproductive health, free of coercion, discrimination and violence. Equal relationships between women and men in matters of sexual relations and reproduction, including full respect for the integrity of the person, require mutual respect, consent and shared responsibility for sexual behaviour and its consequences.”
Reprinted from C-FAM.org.