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1 Why should I care about Sexual and Reproductive Rights? You care about human rights, and you care about people... but what ? do sexual and reproductive rights have to do with this? human rights — being able to Sexual and reproductive rights are own decisions about our bodies and our lives is a basic human right, but for millions make our worldwide, it’s a right that is violated daily. Here’s some reasons you should care about sexual and reproductive rights! Because you care about Young People: There ar e over 1.8 billion young people aged 10 to 24 in the world today, the largest generation of 1. young people in history. Almost 90% of young people live in developing countries , where they tend to i make up a large proportion of the population. 2. during pregnancy and childbirth, gender -­‐ based violence and AIDS are among the leading Complications ii . causes of mortality for young people more than According to a 2001 UNICEF survey, in 10 out of 12 developed cou ntries with available data, 3. iii two thirds of young people have had sexual intercourse while still in their teens. 4. Yet, despite high sexual activity rates, gaps in laws and regulations, poor application in practice, s social and cultural taboos, gender discrimination and geographic and inadequate enforcement as well a financial barriers prevent many adolescents from reaching sexual and reproductive health information iv and services . access information, educat Because you care about people’s rights to ion, and services: 5. vast majority of adolescents and young people still do not have access According to UN estimates, the to the comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services and education that they need for a v healthy life. Contraceptive use is r elatively low among married young women aged 15 -­‐ 24. In Asia and Africa, for 6. vi example, less than 25% of the married girls have used contraception. An in -­‐ 7. depth study of four sub -­‐ Saharan African countries found that more than 60% of adolescents did not know how to prevent pregnancy and more than 1/3 didn’t know of a source for contraceptives. Unmet needs for contraception are due to the limited access to information, quality and affordable vii adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health services. Becau se you care about preventing HIV/AIDS 8. Young people aged 15 -­‐ 24 account for 41% of all new HIV infections among the 15 -­‐ 49 age group. Nearly viii 3000 young people are becoming infected with HIV every day. And yet only 34 % of youth (24% of of young men) in developing countries can answer correctly the five basic young women and 36 % ix questions about HIV and how to prevent it, far below the global target of 95% by 2010. 1

2 9. Young women are at a higher risk of HIV infection than young men: there are almost twice as many -­‐ young women living with HIV globally. In sub Saharan Africa, young women make up 71% of young x people living with HIV. Because you care about child marriage: Child marriage is still widespread , especially in least developed countries, where 30% of women aged 10. -­‐ 19 are married. If present patterns continu 15 million girls will be e, in the next decade around 124 xi married as children. 11. Across several regions, girls remain significantly more likely than their male peers to be married as xii children in having sex at a young age. and to beg Due to child marriage, unsafe and unprotected sex and inadequate care during pregnancy, maternal 12. than among those aged 20 -­‐ 24. Most adolescent girls, deaths are 28% higher among adolescents xiii irth with insufficient information, health care or support. whether married or unmarried give b Because you care about sexual violence: 13. Across all economic strata and across the world, adolescent girls and young women live under the threat of sexual violence and abuse, including from a fa mily member or an intimate partner. Approximately 150 million girls under the age of 18 are estimated to have experienced some form of sexual violence . xiv Up to 50% of sexual assaults are committed against girls under age 16. 14. . Central forced into sexual initiation It is estimated that one in two adolescent girls in the Caribbean are American women also suffer high rates of violence. First sexual experience was non consensual for a low -­‐ xv of 2% of girls in Azerbaijan to a high of 64% in the Democratic Republic o f the Congo. 15. The overwhelming majority of girls pregnant as a result of rape or incest in Nicaragua are young – aged between 10 and 14. The legislation that came into effect in 2008 criminalizes all abortion, including for Under this law, rape survivors must either carry the pregnancy to term, or survivors of rape and incest. seek an unsafe, illegal abortion and risk possible imprisonment if they are discovered. The law is denying these girls their human rights and putting their health and lives at risk from unsafe, clandestine abortion xvi or pregnancy and childbirth at an early age. fear of abuse 16. Studies in sub -­‐ Saharan Africa found that a partner’s violence and the stopped girls from xvii saying “no” to sex and jeopardized condom use. Between 100 and 140 mil lion women and girls in Africa have been subjected to Female genital 17. . Although the proportion of girls undergoing FGM is decreasing in some countries, mutilation (FGM) xviii over 3 million girls worldwide remain at risk of the procedure every year. Because you care about preventing unsafe abortions: 18. Many adolescent pregnancies are unintended and as a result the rates of unsafe abortion among young 19 account for one in every four women are high , especially in sub -­‐ Saharan Africa where girls aged 15 -­‐ xix unsafe abort ions. 2

3 19. . In Adolescent girls and young women face high levels of injury and death as a result of unsafe abortion -­‐ 2008, there were an estimated 3 million unsafe abortions in developing countries among girls aged 15 xx 19. ur in the developing world. More than 90% of maternal deaths occ Because you care about all human rights! Everyone has sexual and reproductive rights. Governments have an obligation to ensure that everyone 20. can enjoy these rights freely, without fear, coercion or discrimination! the right to: You have • Make decisions about your own health • Ask for and receive information about health services • Decide whether and when to have children • Choose whether or not to marry • Access family planning, contraception, legal abortion, and maternal health care , among a range of other heath care services • Live free from rape and other violence The ICPD Programme of Action outlines following human rights principles (based on international human rights documents and other consensus documents ): • ght to life, liberty, and security of person. (Principle 1) Everyone has the ri • Advancing gender equality and equity and the empowerment of women and eliminating all forms of violence against women are cornerstones of population and development -­‐ related programs. (Principle 4 ) . All Everyone has the right to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health • couples and individuals have the basic right to decide freely and responsibly the number and spacing of their children and to have the information, educat ion and means to do so. (Principle 8) • Everyone has the right to education . Education should be designed to strengthen respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. (Principle 10) • Every child has the right to an adequate standard of living , health an d education and to be free from neglect, exploitation and abuse. (Principle 11) Everyone has the right to have access to quality, comprehensive, integrated sexual and reproductive health services, counseling, comprehensive sexuality education and informa tion. Laws, policies, and other barriers to the services and information people need for a healthy life have to be removed. • Visit our Website for more information and to take action: 3

4 Sources Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary - General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5 i ibid. ii iii UNICEF, A League Table of Teenage Births in Rich Nations, 2001 iv Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary - General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5 v ibid. vi ICF International, 2012 vii Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary - General Report to the Commission on Population and Dev elopment, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5 viii UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010 ix UNAIDS, AIDS at 30: Nations at the Crossroads, 2011. x UNAIDS, Report on the Global AIDS Epidemic 2010 UNICEF, State of the World’s Children Report 2011. xi xii UNFPA, State of World Population Report, 2012 xiii UNICEF, State of the World’s Children Report 2011 xiv Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary - General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2012, E/CN.9/2012/5 xv ibid. xvi The total abortion ban in Nicaragua: Women’s lives and health endangered, medical professionals criminalized (Index: AMR Amnesty International, 43/001/2009) xvii Commission on Population and Development, UN Secretary - General Report to the Commission on Population and Development, 2 012, E/CN.9/2012/5. xviii World Health Organization estimates 2011 xix World Health Organization, 2009. Women and Health: Today’s Evidence Tomorrow’s Agenda WHO guidelines on preventing early pregnancy and poor reproductive health outcomes among adolescents in developing countries, 2011 xx 4

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