Below is the statement from the Link Up Consortium on the outcomes of the 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development that took place in April 2014.
May 13, 2014
Link Up Consortium Statement
Demanding a Rights Based HIV Response: Achievements at the 47th CPD Must Be Leveraged to Obtain the Commitments We Urgently Need
The 47th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) ended with a call from governments to reaffirm the ICPD Programme of Action, which called for women’s health and rights—specifically their sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights—to be central to global development policies, programming, and funding. The Link Up Consortium is pleased to see the 47th CPD outcome resolution recognises adolescents’ right to access information and services on sexually transmitted infections, and that such services should protect adolescents’ rights to privacy, confidentiality, respect, and informed consent. We further commend the CPD for calling on governments to remove legal, regulatory, and social barriers to reproductive health information and care for adolescents and to provide evidence-based comprehensive education on human sexuality that addresses stigma and discrimination and promotes human rights.
It is encouraging that many governments expressed strong support for advancing sexual rights. Fifty-nine governments explicitly called for action to end discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The calls came from countries as diverse as the Philippines, South Africa, the Pacific Islands, Vietnam, Nepal, Mongolia, Suriname, the United States, Australia, Norway, the European Union, and most Latin American countries. These calls build on agreements made at the ICPD Beyond 2014 Review regional population conferences in Latin America and the Caribbean and in Asia and the Pacific, as well as on the outcomes of thematic conferences, such as the ICPD Global Youth Forum Bali Declaration.
However, despite the significant support among governments for advancing sexual rights, we are extremely disappointed that the 47th CPD outcome resolution itself left out any reference to sexual rights, sexual orientation, gender identity, and the stigma and discrimination faced by people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities. The Resolution also stipulates that sexual and reproductive health services should respect “cultural values and religious beliefs.” As a result, the Resolution contributes to perpetuating a harmful status quo in which young people, including young people most affected by HIV, are unable to access integrated, rights-based sexual and reproductive health services and HIV prevention, treatment, care, and support. In many countries, the existence of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and men who have sex with men is ignored or denied, and same-sex relationships are criminalised. This, combined with discrimination, violence, punitive legislation, and harmful attitudes, traditions, and cultural norms, poses a major threat to the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people and young people most affected by HIV.
Governments will reconvene in September at the United Nations General Assembly Special Session (UNGASS) on the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action. This UNGASS precedes inter-governmental Post-2015 negotiations, and presents a key opportunity to leverage existing governmental support and increase political commitment. Civil society must pressure governments to build on the ICPD vision for development in the Post-2015 development framework. The Post-2015 development framework must include targets on HIV and sexual and reproductive health and rights—the unfinished business of the MDGs. Within those targets it must pay specific attention to the needs and rights of young people, including young people most affected by HIV. If we are to achieve the world we want, we must recognize the interlinkages between sexual and reproductive health and rights and HIV, and build an integrated, rights based response to HIV that allows every young person to enjoy his/her/their sexual and reproductive health and rights freely and fully.
About Link Up
Link Up is an ambitious five country programme to improve the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of one million young people most affected by HIV. Launched in 2013 by a consortium of partners led by the International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Link Up aims to strengthen the integration of HIV and SRHR programmes and service delivery. It focuses specifically on young men who have sex with men, sex workers, people who use drugs, transgender people, and young women and men living with HIV.