Friday, March 21, 2014

Youth Rights Caucus Oral Statement

Yesterday, the Youth Rights Caucus, consisting of young people that actively advocate for sexual rights at the CSW58 - including CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality, presented its oral statement. 

“I would like to share the following recommendations from the Youth Rights Caucus at CSW58. 

As we begin to define the post-2015 global development framework, it is absolutely critical that we reflect on and learn from the gaps and successes of the Millennium Development Goals.
While we have seen progress in the last 15 years through the MDGs, the goals that remain furthest from being achieved are those focused on women and girls. This is due to persistent stigma and discrimination against women of all ages and backgrounds,  inadequate investment in comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, and a lack of willingness to champion women and girls' sexual and reproductive rights as human rights.

We are deeply troubled by recent retrogression on issues agreed to decades  ago and the lack of political will to champion our rights.  With our lives at stake, it is an imperative that Member States take action and not only re-commit to upholding our rights, but advance them. 

Specifically, we urge you to agree to the following priorities:
  • Respect, protect, and fulfill the sexual rights of all women and girls.
  • Fully commit to the provision of youth-friendly comprehensive sexuality education for all young people and adolescents, in and out of school.
  • Provide access to comprehensive and integrated sexual and reproductive health services, including safe and legal abortion services and emergency contraception.
  • Acknowledge and address the root causes of gender inequalities, including social norms that permit and promote violence and discrimination against women and girls;
  • Take immediate action to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including sexual and gender based violence, early and forced marriage, female genital mutilation and other harmful practices; and
  • Ensure all women and girls have equal rights and access to resources and opportunities for decision making at all levels - thereby promoting socio-economic and political equality and justice
This means committing to a post-2015 development agenda that:
  • Is grounded in human rights principles, and prioritizes gender equality, social, economic, and environmental justice;
  • Meaningfully engages women’s and youth organizations at all levels in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of programs and policies;
  • Incorporates the outcomes of the ICPD 20 year review process, especially the Bali Global Youth Declaration
  • Eliminates all forms of discrimination against women and girls, including persons living with HIV/AIDS, those living with disabilities, people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, and other marginalized groups; and
  • Includes targets that reflect the intersectional nature of gender inequalities, and address multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and marginalization.
If we are serious about a development agenda that will eradicate poverty, it is the responsibility of governments to accept and respond to the realities of women and girls. Therefore, we must include in our next development agenda a standalone goal on gender equality and women's and girls' human rights as well as cross-cutting gender-sensitive targets that guarantee those rights.

Young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights can no longer be deemed "too controversial" to include in the agenda.  We are looking to Member States' strong political commitment to ensure that the post-2015 development agenda makes a real difference for women and girls.”

To see the statement in moving imagery, please see the website of the {Youth Coalition}[].