Late Friday, the United Nations Commission on Population and Development (CPD) issued a bold resolution supporting young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The resolution not only reaffirmed that it is a basic right of all individuals to decide when to have children and to have access to the necessary information and quality medical services to facilitate that decision, but also called on states to protect these rights for young people.
Specifically, the Commission declared, for the first time, that states should:
- Protect the right of young people to decide on all matters related to their sexuality
- Provide access to comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, including safe abortion where it is legal—free of discrimination and with full respect for their privacy and confidentiality
- Protect the right of young people to control their sexuality free from violence, discrimination and coercion
- Provide young people comprehensive sex education based on science
The resolution comes at a time when the largest generation of young people remains widely underserved by sexual and reproductive health services, but face a maturing HIV/AIDS epidemic, high rates of unintended pregnancy, and increasing violence.
The Center for Reproductive Rights has been working with a number of other human rights and sexual and reproductive health organizations towards the adoption of a strong resolution and submitted an oral statement before the CPD last month.
CPD monitors and evaluates the implementation of the Programme of Action, a global agreement adopted by 179 governments nearly 20 years ago that explicitly recognized reproductive rights and their basis in human rights.