Americas: Guaranteeing the right to comprehensive sexuality education saves lives

Amnesty International, together with other civil society organizations in Latin America and the Caribbean, are launching the ESIgualdad campaign today, which seeks to articulate efforts to make the right of boys, girls and adolescents a reality to comprehensive sexuality education.

“Today we unite with organizations throughout the region with a simple message for the States of Latin America and the Caribbean: the time has come for them to stop turning their backs on the demands for a comprehensive secular, scientific and gender-focused sexual education. gender, ”said Erika Guevara Rosas, Americas Director for Amnesty International.

Under the slogan #DeseoSeaDerecho, the campaign calls on States to significantly accelerate the fulfillment of their obligation to ensure the universal implementation of comprehensive sexuality education. This is a key tool for the prevention of sexual abuse that has the potential to save the lives of children and adolescents who ask for and receive help on time; as well as for the enjoyment of other human rights.

Today we unite with organizations throughout the region with a simple message for the States of Latin America and the Caribbean: the time has come for them to stop turning their backs on the demands for comprehensive secular, scientific and gender-focused sexual education

Erika Guevara Rosas, Director for the Americas for Amnesty International

The campaign also seeks to address the alarming increase in attacks and misinformation against policies and laws that seek to address gender equality and sexual and reproductive rights in public education, spearheaded by groups with an anti-human rights agenda that share falsehoods. , deceptions and lies that generate a lot of fear in young people and their families, putting their rights at stake.

The situation in the region regarding the fulfillment of the right to comprehensive sexuality education is bleak. In some countries, there is no institutional backing for comprehensive sexuality education, effectively making its implementation impossible. For example, in Paraguay, under pressure from groups opposed to gender equality and human rights, The Ministry of Education issued a resolution in 2017 that banned all gender-related education materials from the public education system. This resolution remains in effect to date.

Similar initiatives in other countries have also advanced. In Guatemala, Bill 5272, which would prohibit private and public educational institutions from implementing policies and programs on comprehensive sexuality education, advanced in second debate in Congress in 2018.

Positive steps to advance in this area have also been held back by opposition groups. In the Dominican Republic, a departmental order issued by the Ministry of Education in 2019 for the creation of a policy for gender equality within the Ministry provoked strong mobilizations against it. To date, the Ministry still has no policy on this matter.

Even in countries that have laws or public policies that support the right to comprehensive sexuality education, there are serious deficiencies regarding its effective implementation. In Argentina, for example, comprehensive sexuality education has been mandatory by law since 2006, but studies by the Ministry of Education have revealed that many students still do not receive any form of comprehensive sexuality education, and the majority of students who have received some of sexual education they have received it in an incomplete, unsustained and fragmented way.

Comprehensive sexuality education is a fundamental tool for the defense of human rights. There is strong evidence that it can contribute substantially to responses to a wide range of structural problems that have plagued our societies for decades.

Erika Guevara Rosas, Director for the Americas for Amnesty International

These rulings occur in a region afflicted by high rates of gender inequality, violence against women, girls and LGBTI persons, unwanted and forced early pregnancies, and other violations of sexual and reproductive rights. Comprehensive sexuality education proposes to combat all these problems.

“Comprehensive sexual education is a fundamental tool for the defense of human rights. There is strong evidence that it can contribute substantially to responses to a wide range of structural problems that have plagued our societies for decades: from gender violence and inequalities to problems related to sexual and reproductive health. It is also key so that girls, boys and adolescents can develop their life projects in equality and make free and informed decisions. But the states of the region still do not give sufficient priority to this issue. This has to change, ”said Erika Guevara Rosas.

The ESIgualdad campaign is currently made up of more than 50 organizations in nine countries, working on various issues including human rights, sexual and reproductive rights, education, health, children’s rights, and LGBTI + rights.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Duncan Tucker: [email protected]

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