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reclaiming & redefining rights – sexuality & rights in asia

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Sex and sexuality are contentious issues: the divide between those who advocate for granting greater individual autonomy and those who argue for greater social control is evident at all political levels. To confer rights connected to the issues of sex and sexuality, UN conventions and conferences such as Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD PoA/ also known as the Cairo conference), the Beijing Platform for Acton (BPfA) and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) endorsed the concepts of reproductive health, reproductive rights1 and sexual health.2 However the language of ‘sexual rights’ has not yet gained international acceptance.

Hence, these international documents, particularly the ICPD PoA, do not explicitly state ‘sexual rights.’ Although ‘sexual rights’ was written for the first time in the ICPD PoA draft, it was not retained in the final text.