Please Postpone the Signing of the ESA Ministerial Commitment!
To: Eastern Southern Africa Heads of State, SADC, EAC and COMESA Officials
Copy: Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Gender, Education, Children, Youth and Health and Members of Parliament
We plead with you not to sign on to the new ESA Ministerial Commitment on sexuality education and SRH services for adolescents, or if you have signed on, to withdraw immediately. For the sake of Africa’s children and families, please instruct your ministers not to participate in the UN-driven ESA Ministerial Commitment unless the many serious issues are resolved including the following:
- The ESA Ministerial Commitment violates the internationally recognized rights of parents. How can governments commit to provide sexuality education for adolescents and SRH services without recognizing the rights, duties and responsibilities of parents? No African child should be given any sexual information or health services without the express consent of their parents. Written consent of parents must be a condition of the implementation of this Commitment with children of minor age.
- Abstinence and fidelity are not even mentioned in the Commitment, yet any sex or sexuality education program, if it is to be effective, must make abstinence before marriage the expected standard and a key concept mainstreamed throughout the curricula.
- The term “sexuality” has been defined by UN agencies as encompassing gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual pleasure, fantasies, desires and more. Also, many UN-endorsed sexuality education programs teach inappropriately about the same. The Commitment therefore must have a clause stating that “in no case shall sexuality education programs under this agreement contain content regarding sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual pleasure, or sexual rights for children of minor age as such divisive and controversial topics are best discussed and handled within the family.”
- “Sexual and reproductive health and rights services are not defined in the Commitment, but they are defined elsewhere as encompassing abortion and LGBT and promiscuity rights for children. There must be a clause stating that in no case shall children be referred to organizations or clinics that promote or perform abortions.
- The Commitment needs a clause requiring that any sex or sexuality education information provided to children of minor age must be made public and open for comment and input from parents and community members.
- Many of the ESA Commitment partners (i.e, International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF)) in the Young People Today ESA Commitment coalition have a conflict of interest. This is because they benefit financially when children are sexualized and then come into their clinics for sexual counseling, condoms, hormonal contraceptives, abortions, transgender hormones, etc. These organizations should not be permitted to provide or present sexuality education to our children. IPPF not only has a conflict of interest they promote promiscuity, LGBT rights and abortion to children as part of SRHR (InvestigateIPPF.org)
- There needs to be oversight of the “out of school” programs and the SRH clinics. Will foreign-funded entities be running these programs? How do we ensure they are not used to indoctrinate children or to radicalize children to advocate for controversial SRHR?
For a more comprehensive list of 15 Serious Concerns with the ESA Ministerial Commitment, please click here.
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