Is Sex-Ed a Human Right?

Sex-ed is not about opinions. It’s about evidence, human rights and gender equality. 

International UN human rights mechanisms like the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women, and the Convention on the Rights of the Child recognize comprehensive sexuality education as a human right. Governments are required to uphold all people’s rights to health, well-being, and equality. This requires the delivery of unbiased, scientifically accurate sexuality education.

The right to comprehensive sexuality education is protected by international human rights treaties and recognized by global bodies like the World Health Organization, UNESCO, UNAIDS and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).

Every one of us has a right to receive relevant and accurate health information so that we can make and act on important decisions about our health and our lives. This information needs to come when we are ready for it, depending on our age and maturity or evolving capacities (some people are ready for information earlier than others).

According to the latest research by UNESCO, The best way to ensure just and equal access to high quality information on sexual and reproductive health and rights is to include it in a written school-based curriculum that guides educators.

What the Government of Canada Needs to Do:

  • Raise awareness of the general public as well as of the of the education and health sectors of importance of comprehensive sex-ed
  • Set guidelines, accompanied by effective accountability mechanisms, for how to teach sex-ed that ensures the health and well-being of all young people.
  • Develop a federal strategy to effectively implement, monitor, and evaluate sex-ed across Canada.
  • Support the training of sexual health educators.
  • Collect reliable data on the sexual health and well-being of people in Canada so our political, education, and health care leaders have the information they need to best meet current and future health needs.
  • Hold provinces and territories accountable to the delivery of sex-ed, in line with human rights obligations, that ensure the health and well-being of all young people.
Updated on 2019-05-10
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