The Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, member of the International Steering Committee for the Global Youth Forum, celebrates the release of the Final Declaration from the Forum, which took place in Bali, Indonesia from December 4-6th 2012, and applauds the hard work of all those who were engaged in and supported the outcomes of the process.
The Global Youth Forum brought together hundreds of youth, civil society and member states, among others (in addition to the 2,400+ virtual youth delegates), to identify and discuss issues and priorities facing today and tomorrow’s generation of young people within the context of population and development.
The overall goal of the Forum was to “produce recommended actions for the outcome report of the [ICPD +20] review and for the post 2015 United Nations development agenda as well as to generate a new consensus on putting youth rights at the heart of development.” (Bali Global Youth Forum Declaration, p. 1)
Prior to the event, five priority themes were identified which laid the foundation for discussions throughout the 3-day Forum. The five themes included: Staying healthy, Comprehensive education, Families, youth-rights and well-being, including sexuality, Transition to decent work and Leadership and meaningful participation.
The recommendations contained within the Final Declaration provide youth advocates with concrete tools through which they can advance for a progressive rights-based agenda both within the remaining spaces of the ICPD+20 review process and the shaping of the post-2015 development agenda.
Some highlights from the Final Declaration include:
- Governments address harmful traditional practices (such as forced circumcision and genital mutilation, early and forced marriage, gender-based violence and violence against women). [p. 3]
- To produce non-discriminatory, non-judgemental, rights-based, age appropriate, gender-sensitive health education including youth-friendly, evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education that is context specific. [p.3]
- Governments must provide, monitor and evaluate universal access to a basic package of youth-friendly health services (including mental healthcare and sexual and reproductive health services) that are high quality, integrated, equitable, comprehensive, affordable, needs and rights based, accessible, acceptable, confidential and free of stigma and discrimination for all young people. [p.3-4]
- As part of this basic package governments must provide comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services that include safe and legal abortion, maternity care, contraception, HIV and STI prevention, care, treatment and counselling to all young people. [p. 4]
- Governments should implement financially sustainable policies and legal frameworks that protect, promote and fulfill the reproductive and sexual rights of all young people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identities. [p. 4]
- Governments must fund and develop, in equal partnership with young people and health care providers, policies, laws, and programs that recognize, promote, and protect young peoples’ sexual rights as human rights. This must be developed in accordance with the principles of human rights, non-discrimination, respect, equality and inclusivity, with a gendered, multicultural and secular approach. [p. 9]
- Cultural and religious barriers such as parental and spousal consent, and early and forced marriages, should never prevent access to family planning, safe and legal abortion, and other reproductive health services – recognizing that young people have autonomy over their own bodies, pleasures and desires. [p. 9]
- Governments should decriminalize abortion, and create and implement policies and programs that ensure young women have access to safe and legal abortion, pre- and post-abortion services, without mandatory waiting periods, requirements for parental and spousal notification and/or consent or age of consent. [p. 10]
- Governments should ensure that every young person, including LGBTQI young people, have equal access to the full range of evidence- and rights-based, youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education, that is respectful of young people’s right to informed consent. [p. 11]
- Governments should ensure legal recognition of undocumented workers including migrants, decriminalize sex work, and eliminate mandatory medical checks that are used as a basis for discrimination, especially mandatory HIV, and pregnancy testing in the general protection, respect and fulfillment of the rights of all young people to decent employment. [p. 15]
- Governments and international organizations are urged to undertake political reform to include young people in policy-making and implementation, regardless of socio-economic and cultural background, in line with international human rights standards, and should remove legal, policy and regulatory barriers that hinder the meaningful participation and empowerment of young people to exercise and claim their rights. [p. 18]