Aligning Human Rights and Social Norms for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Authored by: Ana Maria Buller and Marie Celine Schulte

Categories: Human Rights
Sub-Categories: Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), Sexual and Reproductive Health
Year: 2018
Citation: Buller, Ana Maria, and Marie Celine Schulte. "Aligning Human Rights and Social Norms for Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights." Reproductive Health Matters 26, no. 52 (2018): 38-45.

Access the Resource:

Executive Summary

In September, 24 years had passed since the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo introduced the term sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) and declared SRHR as a fundamental human right, including for adolescents. Despite important efforts to create consensus around human rights frameworks and steps to secure universal access to SRHR, the promise of child rights and adolescent girls’ and boys’ evolving capacities to claim SRH rights remains unrealised. Multiple converging factors contribute to an ongoing lack of prioritisation of SRHR, which is defined, following the recent Guttmacher-Lancet report, as a “…state of physical, emotional, mental, and social well-being in relation to all aspects of sexuality and reproduction, not merely the absence of disease, dysfunction, or infirmity”. However, ASRHR is seemingly often relegated to a lower priority or is entirely absent from discussions on SRHR. Barriers to international and local prioritisation of (A)SRHR range from global political and economic trends, such as the shift towards far-right and populist politics in high-income countries and in regions that push international health policy and aid investment toward the bottom of foreign policy agendas, to local inequitable social norms that define social expectations for adolescents boys’ and girls’ behaviours according to restrictive, binary gender roles and identities.