sex & rights: the status of young people’s SRHR in southeast asia

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In 2015, approximately 1.8 billion young people will be living in the Asia-Pacific region according to the UN.

This is a diverse and dynamic group of citizens who will be occupying the frontlines of our societies in the years to come in all sectors. Our governments and our societies need to be cognisant of ensuring their meaningful participation and their rights within all spectrums. Of particular interest is ensuring the health and rights of young people in all contexts especially their sexual and reproductive rights.

As a women’s health and rights advocacy organisation, ARROW has invested in the development of young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) through its Women’s Health and Rights Advocacy Partnership-South East Asia (WHRAP-SEA) project. Initiated in 2009 the project aims to mobilise young people especially young women to promote intergenerational leadership, movement building, as well as to address the challenges faced by young people in terms of restrictions placed on them when accessing information and services for sexual and reproductive health (SRH) from a rights based perspective. The project focuses on the issues of young people, HIV and education. It has enabled grassroots youth activists from marginalised communities in Burma, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, the Philippines and Vietnam to advocate for young people’s access to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) to fully inform them of their rights and further mobilise groups to demand better access to youth friendly health services.