NEW YORK, July 1, 2011 (C-FAM) A major UN agency youth program has proposed abortion and decriminalized “sex work” as key to fulfilling young people’s reproductive “rights” ahead of the UN Youth Conference. 

In preparation for the UN Youth Conference set to take place in New York in late July, Y-PEER – the youth program of the UN Population Fund – released a statement calling for the realization of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and “rights” (SRHR) through legislation, policies, and programs at all levels of government.

“We envision a world where Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights are fully realized and where youth can experience and celebrate their sexuality,” declares the statement.

The statement gives special emphasis to the “right to choose” and calls on governments to create a legal system where young people have universal access to safe abortion and comprehensive sexuality education. 

The statement also groups homosexuals, prostitutes, and injected-drug users with disabled youth and others in crisis situations, and calls for decriminalization of such behaviors as a means of meeting the needs of these youth.

In matters of health services, the statement calls for confidentiality rights including for children as young as ten years old. Such rights to confidentiality would supersede the rights of parents to be involved in the health decisions of their children, something that is of great concern to parents’ groups.

Along with the statement, Y-PEER is launching a promotional campaign this Friday aimed at youth SRHR advocacy.  The campaign, 10 Days of Activism (10DoA), will focus on using agreed global development targets and commitments to advocate for legislative and policy changes. 

Specifically, 10DoA will use the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the International Conference on Population and Development Program of Action, and various other declarations and conventions in their youth SRHR advocacy.

Y-Peer’s vision for implementing the SRHR project also takes a new and controversial approach to achieving international development goals.  Using the health theme as a platform, the statement claims that youth SRHR must be prioritized in order to achieve international development goals and commitments.

Using the MDGs for SRHR advocacy is controversial since governments have never agreed to such an MDG target.  Sexual and reproductive health has only appeared in a Secretary General’s report on the MDG’s and then only in an annex. UNFPA and other abortion advocates have subsequently claimed it as a new goal or target.

While Y-PEER and other groups such as IPPF and the Youth Coalition promote rights-based and laissez-faire approach to youth and sexuality, some rising youth organizations disagree.

Ignacio Ibarzábal, executive director of the Latin American youth organization Grupo Solido, says that the UN’s approach to youth sexuality doesn’t reflect the desires of many youth. 

“We don’t agree with adults who generalize youth today,” he told the Friday Fax.  “We want meaningful love and relationships, not the sexual revolution.”

Coauthored by Colin Small

This article reprinted with permission from