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The World Youth Alliance has published an article in The New Bioethics finding that there is no right to comprehensive sex education in international law.

Melissa Curvino & Meghan Grizzle Fischer, Claiming Comprehensive Sex Education is a Right Does Not Make It So: A Close Reading of International Law, 20 The New Bioethics 72-98 (2014), available at http://essential.metapress.com/content/u02505vj52055781/.

Abstract: The international community is currently debating whether international law requires States to educate adolescents about their sexuality. Various non-governmental organizations, United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and treaty-monitoring bodies assert a right to comprehensive sex education, a controversial approach to sex education that arguably encourages adolescents to experiment with their sexuality. This assertion of a right to comprehensive sex education is erroneous and misleading. International human rights are created in two ways: by treaty and by custom. Treaties do not mention comprehensive sex education, or any other form of sex education or training. Custom, found in international consensus documents and other declarations of political will, and confirmed by State practice, holds no universal agreement on sex education. Because neither treaty nor custom creates a right to comprehensive sex education, no such right exists.

The article is available from the publisher here.

For copyright reasons we are only able to post a "pre-print," working copy of the article. The pre-print is the version before editing, final changes, and formatting were done by the publisher, and thus it is slightly different than the final published article. Please make note of this in any citations of the pre-print. Track A-trained members of the World Youth Alliance may request a copy of the published article by emailing advocacy@wya.net.

Click here to download a pre-print version of the published article.

Click here to download an executive summary of the published article.

Click here to download a fact sheet on sex education in international law.

Haga click aquí para descargar una nota descriptiva sobre educación sexual en español. [Spanish version]


Please visit The New Bioethics at its website and its online publication database.