At UN, Humanists International underscores necessity of comprehensive sexuality education and condemns disinformation campaigns

  • post Type / Advocacy News
  • Date / 11 October 2023

Humanists International’s Director of Advocacy, Elizabeth O’Casey, has delivered a statement at the UN calling for states to respect the right to receive comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) grounded in international law, as well as underscoring the benefits of CSE.

The statement was made at the 54th session of the UN Human Rights Council in the context of a debate about the UN Vienna Declaration. The statement noted that the Vienna Declaration reaffirms States’ commitment to the protection of the rights of women and girls and to ensuring education is aimed at strengthening human rights. Within this context, the statement also pointed out that the right to receive CSE is grounded in international conventions, including on the grounds of right to health, the child, and education.

In addition to the legal right to receive CSE, evidence shows that the delivery of CSE improves the sexual and reproductive health of adolescents. It helps reduce unintended and teen pregnancies and prevent unsafe abortions.

O’Casey’s statement also highlighted the global opposition to CSE, which uses disinformation and baseless claims to smear reproductive rights campaigners and feed hate speech against LGBTI+ people. She noted that this opposition has impacted government policy and undermined human rights, providing some recent examples:

“In July this year, the president of Honduras vetoed a law that would have guaranteed the teaching of comprehensive education for the prevention of adolescent pregnancy, based on a human rights approach. In Nigeria last year, the federal Government ordered the deletion of sex education from the Basic Education Curriculum, with the Education Minister emphasizing that Nigeria is a religious country and as such morals and values are taught in Churches and Mosques. In Senegal, the President has rejected sex education as a western imposition which goes against national values. In Poland, there have been many bills proposed by the government looking to completely eliminate CSE from schools.”

The statement concluded by calling on the Human Rights Council to resist the opposition to CSE and to renew the commitment it has demonstrated to CSE in previous resolutions.

Featured photo by Markus Winkler on Pexels.



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