International Year of Youth Joint Statement


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This International Year of Youth Joint Statement was developed in Istanbul in October 2011 with several youth organizations.

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International Year of Youth Joint Statement

  1. 1. UN International Year of Youth Our Year, Our Voice A Joint Youth Statement on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young PeopleWe are members of youth organizations, networks who work in youth Sexual andReproductive Health and Rights; and we are working for youth serving organizationsall over the world from more than 55 countries around the world.1 Today, youth represent 18% of the global population or 1.2 billion people. 87% of youth live in developing countries, facing challenges brought about by limited access to resources, healthcare, education, training, employment and economic opportunities.2On the 12th of August 2010, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolutionproclaiming the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. Wehave developed this joint youth statement in response to the concern of the young people werepresent, that more needs to be done to ensure young peoples Sexual and ReproductiveRights are realised.Our Year, Our situationWe have diverse needs in regards to our sexual and reproductive health and rights that mustbe met through policies, legislation and programmes that fully enable us to realise our rights.In order to fully recognise young people’s sexual and reproductive rights, especially the rightto choose, we must achieve universal access to safe and youth-friendly sexual andreproductive health care services, including access to evidence-based comprehensive sexualityeducation, in formal and non-formal settings.Young women’s health is threatened by policies and services that do not provide life-savingaccess to family planning and contraception. It is vital to implement key effective measures inthe continuum of care for maternal health, including access to safe abortion.3The rights of marginalized young people, including those who are living with HIV, Lesbian, Gay,Bisexual, Transgendered, young men who have sex with men, sex workers, injecting drugusers, disabled youth, young people in crisis situations and other vulnerable youth continue tobe violated through policies and programmes that criminalize them and ignore their specificneeds.We know that: • About 16 million girls aged 15 to 19 give birth every year. • Complications during pregnancy or childbirth are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in developing countries.4 • It is estimated that almost half of the maternal deaths due to unsafe abortion in the developing regions are young women aged under 245. • Young people, 15 to 24 years old, accounted for 40% of all new HIV infections1 This statement finalized during Y-PEER Partnership Meeting by Y-PEER and partners on October 1,2010. The International Year of Youth Brochure2 WHO Packages of Interventions for Family Planning, Safe Abortion Care, Maternal Newborn and Child Health 20103 UNFPA: No Woman Should Die Giving Life Factsheet4 WHO. Unsafe abortion: global and regional estimates of the incidence of unsafe abortion and associated mortality in 2003. Fifth Edition. 2007 p 195
  2. 2. among adults worldwide in 2008.6 • Every day, 2 500 more young people get infected and globally there are more than 5.7 million young people living with HIV/AIDS.7 The realization of young people’s right to the highest level of physical, mental and social health, of which sexual and reproductive health and rights is an essential component, must be prioritized in order to achieve international development goals and commitments.Our Year, Our FutureWe envision a world where: • All young people globally have access to affordable and safe health care services that incorporate the needs of young people and uphold the right to confidentiality, to be free from judgement and provide for the specific needs of marginalised young people; • The diverse needs and realities of young people are included in all programme and policy development; • The voices of those young people whos rights are continually violated: Young Women, young people living with HIV, men who have sex with men, and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT), are included and listened to; • Young people are actively and effectively participating in the development of programmes and policy and decisions that effect their lives and that they are supported as leaders of change; • All young people have access to comprehensive sexuality education and evidence-based information both in and out of school; • Young people are free from stigma and discrimination based on any ground including; sexuality, sexual orientation, gender, HIV status, marital status, migrant status, religion or ethnicity. • Young people and youth led organisations are supported and their capacity built to ensure their meaningful participation in decision making processes that affect their lives; We envision a world where Young Peoples Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights, are fully realised and where youth can experience and celebrate their sexuality.Our Year, Our CallOur vision is based on the Human Rights of all people and commitments set out in the theagreed global development targets, particularly those outlined in the International Conferenceon Population and Development Programme of Action and the Millennium Development Goals.We call on governments and decision makers to take immediate action to fulfill thecommitments they have made and to young people on the global stage by: • Implementing the goals and objectives of the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action • Achieving the Millennium Development Goals • Adhering to the rights-based approach of the UNGASS Declaration of Commitment on HIV/AIDS • Ratifying and Undertaking measures to end discrimination according to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women • Ratifying and Upholding the Convention on the Rights of the Child • Implementing the Beijing Declaration and Platform of Action International Year of Youth Health and Young People Factsheet 20106 WHO Factsheet no345 Young People: Health Risks and Solutions August 20107
  3. 3. Our Year, Our Stories“My name is Bothaina. I am a peer educator from Jordan. Once a 15-year old girl came up tome telling me that for two years she hid her menstrual cycle from her parents, because shethought she have done something bad. Now she knows that every girl in the world goesthrough the same changes. If she was having sexuality education in school she would havenever been worrying about her body changes.” (Bothaina, young woman, Jordan) “I am young activist and educator from Macedonia. After one educational session, a 17 year old guy approached me. He told me that when he went the last time to urological check up, the doctor realized that he had sex without condom. After that the doctor told him that he deserve that because of his irresponsible behavior. This young man has never been to doctor again. Afterword I’ve referred him to a youth friendly doctor. Therefore we should advocate for improvement of the health system in order to meet the needs of all young people.” (A young man, activist and peer educator, Macedonia) “In my country, young women are forced into arranged marriages with men. I know a youngwoman whose husband worked abroad. When he was away, he would sleep with other women.On one of his trips he contracted HIV and was deported from that country. He did not tell thisto his wife, and continued to have unprotected sex with her. When she was pregnant with firstchild, at the age of 18, she was diagnosed with HIV....When she found out her status, both his and her families blamed her for her “negativecharacter” and bringing HIV to their home. Even though it was in fact her husband who hadinfected her, he beat and divorced her.Without resources, education and support, she felt obligated to abort the child. It is importantto note that abortions are illegal in Pakistan, and therefore she was put in an unsafe situationand had to perform the procedure herself.This story is not uncommon for women living with HIV. They suffer immense amounts ofstigmatization because of ignorance due to lack of education.As the Y-PEER regional representative in my country, we felt the need to respond. We tookactions in two ways: we enhanced SRHR education in rural communities and we began a high-level media advocacy campaign. Today, we are have trained 120 trainers and have 15, 000peer educators. The problem still exists but we are working towards re-educating andstrengthening our communities.” (A young man, activist, Pakistan)Collaborators of the statement:
  4. 4. Supporters of the statement:UNFPAJCI - MoroccoNational Volunteer Network Trust (NAVNET)Itaava Development Youth Group (IDYG)Ishtar MSMExpressions India "Life Skills Education and Youth Wellness Programme",New Delhi ,IndiaInternational Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA)World AIDS Campaign (WAD)SOAAIDSNational Center Public Health Protection (NCPHP), BulgariaAmerican University of Beirut (AUB)Youth Coalition (YC)CHOICEIndonesia Independent Youth Alliance - ARI (Aliansi Remaja Independent), Indonesia