Sexual health, human rights and the law – new WHO report


By SASHA on 17/6,/2015

The World Health Organisation has just published a new report, Sexual health, human rights and the law, which draws on evidence to  “show how states in different parts of the world can and do support sexual health through legal and other mechanisms that are consistent with human rights standards and their own human rights obligations”.

From the report:

“Developments over the past three decades, particularly in the wake of the HIV pandemic, have brought an understanding that discrimination and inequality also play a key role in whether or not people can attain and maintain sexual health.”

Laws and regulations have an impact on the enjoyment of the highest attainable
standard of sexual health. Harmonizing laws with human rights standards can foster the promotion of sexual health across and within various populations,
while the negative impact of laws that are in contradiction with human rights standards has been increasingly documented”.

Amongst other recommendations, the report calls for:

  • decriminalisation of sex work, same-sex sexual behaviour, and HIV transmission
  • increased access to emergency contraception for adolescents
  • increased access and inclusivity of care, informed consent for intersex people
  • being able to determine and express one’s gender identity without stigma discrimination, exclusion and violence
  • universal patient confidentiality as standard
  • universal access to information and education relating to sexuality and sexual health
  • law reform around sexual violence
  • access to safe abortion and post-abortion care

Download report here

By J Pope

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