YouAct have joined young people from across the world gathered together in New York to attend the 54th Commission on the Status of Women which also marks the 15 year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. These documents noted governments’ commitments to increase young people’s access to counselling, sexual and reproductive health information and services, and to promote their rights to privacy, confidentiality, respect and informed consent in this regard.

On Friday, during the lunch break for government delegates, the coalition of young people made a statement for the support of their rights. Fifteen young men and women, wearing T-shirts donated by YouAct stating their advocacy messages, took a strong stand for achieving the goals that were set in Beijing fifteen years ago. ‘We demand access to comprehensive sexuality information, services and supplies for all young people. We need it today – and today needed to be yesterday.’

The young people from more than 20 countries and every continent collectively demand their sexual and reproductive rights:

All young people must have access to comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health services, including contraception and emergency contraception, in order to avoid unintended pregnancies.

Accessible, affordable and safe abortions should be made part of the minimum packages of sexual and reproductive health services.

All young people should have access to psycho-social health services for prevention of gender-based violence and violence against women.

The cohort of young people believe that decision makers attending the 54th session of the Commission on the Status of Women need to listen to the needs and demands of young people and promote their human rights including sexual and reproductive rights to ensure the health and wellbeing of women, young people and all people worldwide.

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Article by Mari-Claire