Sexuality is an integral and natural part of life, and is intertwined with the most fundamental of human rights. WHO recognizes “the highest attainable standard of health as a fundamental right of every human being,”2 and if this right to health is to be achieved, human beings have to be able to exercise choice in their sexual and reproductive lives and be able to safely and confidently express their own sexual identity.
Twenty years after the International Conference on Population and Development conference, which resulted in the Program of Action (ICPD PoA), many people, including women and adolescents, still struggle to gain sexual rights. Various international instruments such as the outcome document of 6th Asian and Pacific Population Conference4, Addis Ababa Declaration on Population and
Development in Africa beyond 20145, Montevideo Consensus on Population and Development6, the outcome document on Conference on Population and Development in 20127, and the outcome document from the Open Working Group for Sustainable Development Goals, endorse the concepts of reproductive health, reproductive rights and sexual health, which, in turn, confer rights related to sex and sexuality despite not explicitly stating it. Furthermore, the Human Rights Council adopted resolution 17/19 (A/HRC/RES/17/19) in June 2011 – the first United Nations resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity, paved the way for the first official United Nations report on the issue prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/19/41)9, a clear recognition of sexual rights. However, the term “sexual rights” is yet to gain international acceptance.