Adolescent & Youth Sexual & Reproductive Health Toolkit Essentials
What are Sexual and Reproductive Rights?
Sexual and reproductive rights (SRR) are human rights that are universally-applicable, indivisible and undeniable. SRR are grounded in other human rights –such as the right to health, the right to privacy and the right to be free from violence and discrimination – that are guaranteed in international treaties and national law and policy. Authoritative human rights bodies – such as UN treaty-monitoring mechanisms, regional courts, and constitutional and supreme courts – have interpreted and applied human rights to a wide range of sexual and reproductive health (SRH) issues.
- Right to equality
- Right to participation
- Right to life and to be free from harm
- Right to privacy
- Right to personal autonomy and to be recognized before the law
- Right to think and express one’s self freely
- Right to health
- Right to know and learn
- Right to choose whether or not to marry or have children
- Right to have your rights upheld
What Is the Rights-Based Approach?
The starting point for any youth-focused SRH program is recognition of young people’s status as rights-holders. This recognition alone mandates program designers and implementers to align their work with global standards for the respect, protection, and fulfillment of human rights. Beyond that, a rights-based approach is a useful lens that, when applied, brings into focus the unique challenges and barriers that young people face in accessing SRH information and services. The rights-based approach requires critical thinking about whether current approaches are respecting, protecting, and fulfilling young people’s rights, as well as concerted action to address underlying, root causes of inequality, lack of access, discrimination and other rights violations that occur in the context of SRH.
A rights-based approach can and should be adopted at all stages of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) programs. The table below presents generally applicable human rights principles and examples of their application adapted from the World Health Organization’s Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services.
Human rights principles
|Privacy and confidentiality||
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A rights-based approach is a useful lens that, when applied, brings into focus the unique challenges and barriers that young people face in accessing SRH information and services.CorrectIncorrect
Which of the below are examples of an application of the human rights principle “accessibility” for adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health (AYSRH) programs?CorrectIncorrect
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Tools Related to This Approach
Guidance on adopting a rights-based approach to the provision of SRH services and information:
- Ensuring human rights in the provision of contraceptive information and services, WHO
- Essential Packages Manual: Sexual and reproductive health and rights programmes for young people, Rutgers
- Fulfil! Guidance document for the implementation of young people’s sexual rights, IPPF
- Rights and Empowerment Principles for Family Planning, FP2020
- Keys to youth-friendly services, IPPF
- Rights-based Family Planning: 15 Resources to Guide Programming, E2A Project
- Checkpoints for Choice: An Orientation and Resource Package, Engender Health
Information on the sexual and reproductive rights of young people:
- Sexual Rights: An IPPF Declaration, IPPF
- Exclaim! A young people’s guide to Sexual Rights: An IPPF Declaration, IPPF
- Love, Sexual Rights and Young People: Learning from our peer educators how to be a rights-based organisation, IPPF
- Understanding young people’s right to decide, IPPF
- Capacity and Consent: Empowering adolescents to exercise their reproductive rights, Center for Reproductive Rights