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UN Committee Informed of Complete Failure of Irish State to respect the Sexual Rights of Young People

By September 19, 2006News

Release date: 20 September 2006

The IFPA has highlighted a series of breaches of young people’s rights, to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. These include the right to sexuality education that is uniform in quality and the right to access appropriate sexual health services. The State’s failure in these areas has led to a worrying rise in the number of young people presenting with sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

On the day that the UN Committee considers the State’s progress under the Convention, IFPA spokesperson Rosie Toner said that, “Over 1000 teenagers were diagnosed with having an STI in 2004 though experts admit that this figure represents a gross underestimation of the prevalence of STIs among sexually active youth.

“Through our services and helpline we work with young people who are putting themselves at risk because they have not received the correct information, at the right time for them, on how to protect against unplanned pregnancy and/or STIs. Where they are aware and seek to access preventative measures, cost and transport barriers as well as fears about their ability to access services in confidence, work against them.”

In its submission to the UN Committee the IFPA pointed to the following measures which should be taken to meet obligations under the Convention:

National provision of quality youth friendly health services
Routine gathering of statistics in the area of sexual health

In-depth national profiling of young people’s experiences and attitudes around sexual activity is necessary to inform the programmes and policies required to respond to their needs.

“Ireland has an abysmal history in this area. However we welcome the current consultation with young people instigated by the Joint Committee on Child Protection which we hope marks the end of a reluctance to canvas and respect adolescents’ views, in accordance with their age and maturity, in relation to sexual health education and services. A right protected under Article 12 of the Convention.” Ms Toner concluded.