Sexual Rights are Human Rights

As part of our series of posts in honor of World Sexual Health Day (coming up on September 4th!) we’d like to take a moment to focus on sexual rights. What are sexual rights? Sexual rights are human rights related to sexuality, and they are absolutely essential to meeting sexual health needs. Sexual rights are often neglected or ignored, but they are an integral component of human rights, and it’s time to give them the attention they deserve.  For a full explanation, check out Sexual rights: an IPPF declaration

The ten sexual rights are:

Article 1: Right to equality, equal protection of the law and freedom from all forms of discrimination based on sex, sexuality or gender
All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and must enjoy the equal protection of the law against discrimination based on their sexuality, sex or gender.

Article 2: The right to participation for all persons, regardless of sex, sexuality or gender
All persons are entitled to an environment that enables active, free and meaningful participation in and contribution to the civil, economic, social, cultural and political aspects of human life at local, national, regional and international levels, through the development of which human rights and fundamental freedoms can be realized.

Article 3: The rights to life, liberty, security of the person and bodily integrity
All persons have the right to life, liberty and to be free of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in all cases, and particularly on account of sex, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status, sexual history or behavior, real or imputed, and HIV/AIDS status and shall have the right to exercise their sexuality free of violence or coercion.

Article 4: Right to privacy
All persons have the right not to be subjected to arbitrary interference with their privacy, family, home, papers or correspondence and the right to privacy which is essential to the exercise of sexual autonomy.

Article 5: Right to personal autonomy and recognition before the law
All persons have the right to be recognized before the law and to sexual freedom, which encompasses the opportunity for individuals to have control and decide freely on matters related to sexuality, to choose their sexual partners, to seek to experience their full sexual potential and pleasure, within a framework of non discrimination and with due regard to the rights of others and to the evolving capacity of children.

Article 6: Right to freedom of thought, opinion and expression; right to association
All persons have the right to exercise freedom of thought, opinion and expression regarding ideas on sexuality, sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual rights, without arbitrary intrusions or limitations based on dominant cultural beliefs or political ideology, or discriminatory notions of public order, public morality, public health or public security.

Article 7: Right to health and to the benefits of scientific progress
All persons have a right to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, which includes the underlying determinants of health and access to sexual health care for prevention, diagnosis and treatment of all sexual concerns, problems and disorders.

Article 8: Right to education and information
All persons, without discrimination, have the right to education and information generally and to comprehensive sexuality education and information necessary and useful to exercise full citizenship and equality in the private, public and political domains.

Article 9: Right to choose whether or not to marry and to found and plan a family, and to decide whether or not, how and when, to have children
All persons have the right to choose whether or not to marry, whether or not to found and plan a family, when to have children and to decide the number and spacing of their children freely and responsibly, within an environment in which laws and policies recognize the diversity of family forms as including those not defined by descent or marriage.

Article 10: Right to accountability and redress
All persons have the right to effective, adequate, accessible and appropriate educative, legislative, judicial and other measures to ensure and demand that those who are duty-bound to uphold sexual rights are fully accountable to them. This includes the ability to monitor the implementation of sexual rights and to access remedies for violations of sexual rights, including access to full redress through restitution, compensation, rehabilitation, satisfaction, guarantee of non-repetition and any other means.


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