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Dissent Surrounding Proposed UN Sex Ed Guidlines: Editorial

 
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Dissent is already surrounding drafts of the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) International Guidelines on Sexuality Education that will be launched in October, according to Ms. Magazine's Feminist News.

The guidelines were described by UNESCO as "an evidence-informed and rights-based framework to give children and young people access to the knowledge and skills they need in their personal, social and sexual lives."

And exactly how were the guidelines developed? Well, for one thing, world experts and research formed the input; the guidelines were not pulled up out of a hat. The purpose of the guidelines is to reduce the number of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV, of which there are 111 million new cases each year, according to the Telegraph UK.

The proposed guidelines have been criticized by conservative groups, mainly in the U.S. who allege that the guidelines promote the idea that access to abortion is a right. These groups also say that the guidelines position abstinence as only one of a group of choices available to young people, and of course they are against that.

According to the New York Times, the conservative groups are also not happy with the fact that the proposed guidelines encourage discussion of homosexuality and masturbation. Because of the outcry of these critics, the United Nations Population Fund has allegedly requested that their name be removed from materials that support the guidelines. So the UN Population Fund is against the idea of disseminating information that will assist greatly in family planning, stop the spread of disease and just plain inform people about sexuality. Wake up UN Population Fund; it's the 21st century.
Sue Williams, chief of UNESCO's Paris press relations department said that they were not surprised by this reaction, nor the places it was coming from. (I am not surprised either.) The goal, says Williams, was for the recommendations to cause debate, reflection and to have the topic moved forward. She wants the debate to be balanced.

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