Deliver for Women and Young People In South East Asia and the Pacific: Sexual Rights are Human Rights!
Call to Action
Seventy-five sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) advocates and stakeholders comprising civil society representatives, parliamentarians and international development partners from South East Asia and the Pacific gathered in Copenhagen, Denmark, on 19 May 2016 for a Regional Caucus on Agenda 2030 and the fulfillment of sexual rights for women and young people. Held during the 4th Global Women Deliver Conference, the Caucus was organized by the Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA) in collaboration with the Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD) and Unzip the Lips.
We commend the governments in our region for adopting Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), an ambitious global action plan with cross-cutting human rights principles of participation, equality and non-discrimination; that endeavors to reach those who are furthest behind first.
The fulfillment of sexual rights is critical to enabling the full participation of all people in society, reducing inequalities, and to achieving just and sustainable development. Sexual rights include the right to a healthy sex life, the elimination of violence, discrimination and coercion on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, and universal access to comprehensive sexuality education, all of which are intrinsic to achieving sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.
Several countries in South East Asia and the Pacific have laws and policies that impinge on sexual rights by criminalizing consensual same-sex sexual conduct between adults, discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and expression, prohibiting or limiting access to safe abortion services, and including clauses that are barriers for adolescents and young people to access the full range of SRHR information and services.
Sexual rights resonate across the integrated and cross-cutting SDGs, particularly to targets under Goals 3, 4, 5, 10 and 16 that relate to health, education, gender equality, reducing inequalities and partnerships. If countries in our region are to achieve the SDGs and ‘leave no one behind’, it is imperative that sustained efforts are made by governments by respecting, protecting and fulfilling the sexual health and rights of all persons.
We call on governments in our region to be accountable for the achievement of the SDGs and ensure that the sexual rights of women and young people are fulfilled, by:
➢ Fully engaging with the systematic, participatory and transparent follow-up and review process for Agenda 2030, including 1) support for and participation in the Asia Pacific Forum on Sustainable Development as the primary vehicle for addressing cross-regional challenges and sharing good practices, and 2) commitment to at least two voluntary national reviews at the High Level Political Forum (HLPF)
➢ Enabling civil society to meaningfully contribute, monitor and review the implementation of the Agenda at all levels: sub-national, national, regional and global
➢ Creating a national-level dialogue mechanism for Agenda 2030 between government and civil society, including community based organizations and indigenous groups, and ensure that it is a safe space for civil society
➢ Enhancing the capacity of civil society and governments to engage with the Agenda 2030 follow-up and review processes.
➢ Ensuring full implementation and commit national budgets to the SDGs, with an emphasis on Goals 3, 4, 5 10 and 16.
➢ Reviewing the legal and policy frameworks for the health and human rights of women and young people, and amend where necessary. This requires, among other issues, ensuring that anti-discrimination laws, policies and guidelines are in place to create an enabling environment.
➢ Removing all barriers for adolescents and young people, women including migrant women, and LGBTQIA to access SRHR information, education and services; and ensuring the availability of adolescent- and youth friendly services including full range of contraceptives, safe abortion, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), HIV treatment and mental health services.
➢ Developing age-appropriate, gender and culturally sensitive curriculum and implementation of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) for adolescents and young people both in and out of school. This should include trainings for teachers, parents and other educational institutions e.g. alternative learning systems.
➢ Raising awareness of the human rights and needs of LGBTQIA with the general population, including through social media and other innovative platforms.
➢ Investing in the engagement of private institutions and civil society as crucial partners in achieving sustainable development, with funds earmarked for youth-led organizations, community-based organizations, and indigenous groups, amongst others.
➢ Ensuring access to safe and legal abortion information and services, including post-abortion care.
➢ Collecting data on the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C) and taking steps to ban and eliminate the practice of FGM/C and protect women and girls from all such harmful practices.
➢ Creating measures to provide clean water and sanitation to key populations through legislative and executive mechanisms of government with the gained support of the private sector and civil society.
➢ Sensitization of religious scholars on human right issues, and sexual rights
Aliansi Remaja Independen, Indonesia
Aliansi Satu Visi (One Vision Alliance), Indonesia
Alliance of Young Nurse Leaders and Advocates Inc, Philippines
Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (APA), Regional
Asian Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development (AFPPD), Regional
Burnet Institute, Australia
CARE International, Global
Family Planning Alliance Australia
Family Planning New South Wales, Australia
Family Planning New Zealand
Global UNiTE Youth Network, Asia and Pacific, Regional
Malaysian Council of Child Welfare, Malaysia
Marie Stopes International, Global
National Forum of Women with Disabilities
National Committee For Children and Young People on HIV, Philippines
Roots of Health, Philippines
Rutgers WPF Indonesia, Indonesia
Youth Peer Education Network Pilipinas (Y-PEER Pilipinas), the Philippines
YouthLEAD (Asia Pacific Regional Network of Young Key Populations), Regional
Women’s Plans Foundation, Australia
Ms Fathimath Waheeda, Facilitator for Life Skills and Peer Education (Republic of Maldives)