False pretenses: the anti-comprehensive sexuality education agenda weaponizing human rights

Case Studies & Research
Chapel Hill
19 p. + 2 p.
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Faux-semblants: un programme contre l’éducation complète à la sexualité qui entrave les droits humains
Falsos pretextos: la agenda contra la educación integral en sexualidad convierte en arma los derechos humanos

Despite comprehensive sexuality education’s proven positive impact on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of adolescents, there is a growing movement opposed to the curricula based on moral or religious grounds. Over the last decade, with a rise in the mainstreaming of comprehensive sexuality education (CSE), key international anti-rights stakeholders based mostly in the U.S. have been mobilizing activists from the Global South, particularly from Africa and Latin America, to advocate in United Nations (UN) spaces against women’s and youth rights to SRHR information and services. They are also engaging with national and regional movements to shut down CSE programs. Silencing these topics contributes to stigma, shame and ignorance, and may increase risk-taking as well as create help-seeking barriers for marginalized populations. It is imperative to spotlight empirical and scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of CSE, as well as recognizing that governments around the world are making sexuality education programs a national priority. This report outlines the main anti-CSE actors and how they link to each other, UN member states, and other global, regional, and national anti-rights and anti-gender trends. It further highlights how the anti-CSE movement does not reflect lived experiences but rather has a specific, funded agenda: a neocolonialist effort to destabilize a pedological tool that was developed in partnership with families, teachers, and government officials.

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