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Human Rights and Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) By the Human Rights and Adolescent RH Working Groups of the POLICY Project 2002.

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Presentation on theme: "Human Rights and Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) By the Human Rights and Adolescent RH Working Groups of the POLICY Project 2002."— Presentation transcript:

1 Human Rights and Adolescent Reproductive Health (ARH) By the Human Rights and Adolescent RH Working Groups of the POLICY Project 2002

2 Adolescents are defined by POLICY as people between the ages of 10 and 24 years old.

3 Adolescents are making decisions about sex and family planning, AND Due to their risk-taking behaviors, lack of adequate reproductive health education, and/or poor access to services, adolescents are a population at high risk for complicated pregnancy and STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections), including HIV/AIDS. Adolescents have the right to participate, and their participation in program development makes for more effective programs! Why should we care about adolescents right to health?

4 Statistics say…….. In sub-Saharan Africa, 83% of women have had first sexual intercourse by age 20. For 38% of them, this happened before marriage. Additionally, 55% of women had had their first child by age 20. Into A New World, The Alan Guttmacher Institute (1998) An estimated 11.8 million young people worldwide between ages 15 – 24 are living with HIV/AIDS. Young People and HIV/AIDS, UNICEF (2002) 6,500+ young people are infected with HIV daily, or at the rate of 5 per minute. - Health-Asia: HIV/AIDS Messages Miss the Youth. Candida Ng, Inter Press Service (2001)

5 What RH rights do adolescents have? Right to non-discrimination Right to participation (association) Right to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health Right to equitable resource allocation Right to information and education *All of which should be reflected in policies, plans, and guidelines

6 There is a broad-based consensus on the RH rights of adolescents… Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), 1990 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), 1979 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), 2000 The ICPD Cairo Programme of Action, 1994

7 How does the POLICY Project use human rights to strengthen adolescents reproductive health?

8 POLICY Jamaica~ Recognizes adolescents as a special target group (MOH strategic framework for RH ) Collaborates with, the National Center for Youth Development, and other CAs to improve ARH policy environment and make adolescents a key target group Provides relevant info for National Youth Policy Permits informed advocacy for increased quality of care for adolescents

9 POLICY Jamaica~ Supports legal, regulatory and policy analysis to demonstrate that minors under age 16 are often denied services Result: Policy working group in the MOH, spearheaded by the Executive director of the National Family Planning Board, drafts guidelines for the provision of contraceptives to minors ( )

10 POLICY Kenya~ Strengthens capacity to identify, prioritize, and advocate for RH/HIV/AIDS issues for adolescents through youth leader workshops with Kenya AIDS NGO Consortium (KANCO) Ensures adolescents input to the policies that affect their health Limits discrimination against adolescents

11 POLICY Nigeria~ Through a core package, developing an advocacy strategy for Young Adult Reproductive Health (YARH) in Edo State, Nigeria Formed an advocacy network of organizations with adolescent representation Conducted advocacy training of network members, providing capacity building to adolescent members

12 How you can use a Human Rights approach to improve ARH: Analyze country-specific data on ARH, Survey customs and traditions to understand adolescent and adult views of ARH, Review national laws on ARH, Compare laws and social norms to international instruments and best practices that define ARH rights, Use human rights arguments to form/propose comprehensive, sustainable national health policies, Advocate for adoption of these policies through capacity building, community involvement, and activism.

13 Examples of what you can do… Use human rights arguments to advocate for implementing a comprehensive reproductive health curriculum in schools. Make provisions for specific adolescent needs where contraceptives are made available to the public. Recognize adolescents right to participation by collaborating with them to create HIV/AIDS, sexual- violence, gender discrimination prevention programs.

14 Examples of what you can do… In the absence of a national policy addressing ARH, collaborate with others in the field to build one based on international rights law and social justice; then advocate for its adoption. If your area has ARH policies or programs in place, use ICPD guidelines and ICESCR provisions to evaluate their impact on youth.

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