By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman, Latin America Correspondent

PARAGUAY, November 12, 2010 ( – Despite heavy pressure from international organizations and the nation’s media, the Chamber of Deputies of Paraguay has refused to ratify the “Iberoamerican Convention on the Rights of Youth,” a document that grants a panoply of controversial “rights” to anyone from the ages of 15 to 24.

The Convention imposes sex education “at all educational levels” (article 23), which will teach the “personal full acceptance and identity of youth.” It prohibits “discrimination” against adolescents for any reason whatsoever, including “sexual orientation,” “opinion,” “living place,” or “any other condition or personal or social circumstance of the young person.”

The document potentially lowers the age of sexual consent to 15 years by dictating that “youth have the right to freely choose a partner, to common life and to the constitution of marriage on the ground of equality among its members” in article 20. Adolescents at the age of 15 will also have the right to choose their own religion and to vote, according to articles 17 and 21.

Among other controversial and unusual provisions of the Convention are the claim that all young people have the right to “an individual identity, consisting in the building of one’s own personality,” which includes “characteristics of sex,” “affiliation,” and “sexual orientation.” It also gives oversight responsibilities to a supernational “Iberoamerican Youth Organization” (OIJ).

After objections were made against the document by the Federation of Associations for Life and Family (FEDAFIVA), the Chamber of Deputies rejected the document by 50 votes, according to the news agency Ultima Hora. Pressure continues to be applied by the Paraguayan media and executive branch to achieve ratification.

The Convention has already been ratified by seven countries: the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Honduras, Spain, Uruguay, and Bolivia. It has been signed but not yet ratified by Cuba, Guatemala, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Nicaragua, Portugal, and Venezuela.

To read the text of the Convention:

Iberoamerican Convention on the Rights of Youth

Convención Iberoamericana de Derechos de los Jovenes