Statement by Evelyne Opondo, Senior Regional Director for Africa, Center for Reproductive Rights:
The Center for Reproductive Rights (the Center) notes with concern, the move by the Ministry of Education in the Republic of Mozambique, to withdraw a set of Grade 7 textbooks from its education curriculum. The unfortunate move will indubitably deny young Mozambicans comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in schools. Comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) is critical in ensuring the health and well-being of school-going Mozambicans. It equips adolescents with age-appropriate information on sexuality, reproduction, opposite sex relations and risks associated with irresponsible sexual behaviors. In a world where there is widespread misinformation including on sexuality, it is best to equip learners with accurate information in schools with textbooks being a key source.
According to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), “Sexuality education has positive effects, including increasing young people’s knowledge and improving their attitudes related to sexual and reproductive health and behaviors. Sexuality education – in or out of schools – does not increase sexual activity, sexual risk-taking behavior or sexually transmitted infections.”
The Republic of Mozambique ought to ignore in toto, the misinformation aimed at discrediting the objectives of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) and unconditionally reinstate the Grade 7 textbooks in the education curriculum. Adolescents ought to enjoy the right to information, freedom from non-discrimination and right to health which includes access to sexuality education.
We appeal to the Government of Mozambique not to go back on the progress that it has made on providing much needed information for the protection of the right to health of adolescents particularly without any evidence that this information has been harmful to them in the years that this curriculum has been in use. The Republic of Mozambique has ratified the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child (ACRWC) and the Maputo Protocol-progressive human rights legal instruments-which obligate Mozambique to among other things, recognize adolescent’s rights to sexuality education.
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