Rights, needs, responsibilities and requirements of girls, boys, adolescents and youth

Girls, boys, adolescents and youth

Region countries have Instruments on Girls, boys, adolescents and youth

Policies and instruments

According to current United Nations estimates, Latin America and the Caribbean will have 630 million inhabitants in 2015, of which nearly 52% will belong to the 0-29 age group, the reference group for this chapter. Within that age group, children under 15 years number 164 million, representing 26.1% of the total,^ adolescents (10 to 19 years of age) 112 million, or 17.8% of the total, and young people (15 to 29 years) 162 million, or 25.6% of the total.
Just as important as the proportion of the population represented by children, adolescents and youth is the fact that its members are recognized as having rights, in various international instruments including the broadly ratified Convention on the Rights of the Child,^ in the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development,® and in national legislation. Governments must guarantee those rights and attend to the demands of this age group so that this stage of their life will be full and satisfying. At the same time, social investment in this population segment is indispensable for sustainable development in its three pillars
for it is at this stage of life that the central milestones of adulthood begin to define themselves. A healthy adulthood, well-educated, socially integrated, and culturally sensitive to the broad issues of equality and sustainability, will encourage people to develop their capacities, to exercise their rights, and to contribute to sustainable development.

Priority Measures

  • Boys, girls, adolescents and young people

    Guarantee for all boys, girls, adolescents and young people, without any form of discrimination, the chance to live a life free from poverty and violence, and to enjoy protection and exercise of their human rights, a range of opportunities and access to health, education and social protection.
  • Mechanisms for effective participation

    Guarantee also the existence of mechanisms for the effective participation, without any form of discrimination, of adolescents and young people in public debate, in decision-making and in all policy and programme phases, in particular on matters that affect them directly, and strengthen institutional mechanisms for youth.
  • Full and satisfying youth

    Invest in youth, through specific public policies and differentiated access, especially through the provision, without discrimination, of universal, free, public, secular, high-quality, intercultural education in order to ensure that this stage of life is full and satisfactory, to enable them to develop as autonomous individuals with a sense of responsibility and solidarity and with the ability to tackle creatively the challenges of the twenty-first century.
  • Policies and programs for youth

    Promote and invest in labour and employment policies and special training programmes for youth to boost personal and collective capabilities and initiative and to enable them to reconcile studies and work activities, without precarious working conditions and guaranteeing equal opportunities and treatment.
  • Education for sexuality

    Ensure the effective implementation from early childhood of comprehensive sexuality education programmes, recognizing the emotional dimension of human relationships, with respect for the evolving capacity of boys and girls and the informed decisions of adolescents and young people regarding their sexuality, from a participatory, intercultural, gender-sensitive, and human rights perspective.
  • Sexual health and reproductive health

    Implement comprehensive, timely, good-quality sexual health and reproductive health programmes for adolescents and young people, including youth-friendly sexual health and reproductive health services with a gender, human rights, intergenerational and intercultural perspective, which guarantee access to safe and effective modern contraceptive methods, respecting the principles of confidentiality and privacy, to enable adolescents and young people to exercise their sexual rights and reproductive rights, to have a responsible, pleasurable and healthy sex life, avoid early and unwanted pregnancies, the transmission of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, and to take free, informed and responsible decisions regarding their sexual and reproductive life and the exercise of their sexual orientation.
  • Prevention of adolescent pregnancy

    Prioritize the prevention of pregnancy among adolescents and eliminate unsafe abortion through comprehensive education on emotional development and sexuality, and timely and confidential access to good-quality information, counselling, technologies and services, including emergency oral contraception without a prescription and male and female condoms.
  • Prevention of subsequent adolescent pregnancy

    Design intersectoral strategies to help young women avoid subsequent pregnancies, including antenatal, childbirth and post-partum care, access to contraceptive methods, protection, support and justice.
  • Guarantee of opportunities and capabilities

    Guarantee for boys, girls, adolescents and young people the opportunities and the basis for harmonious coexistence and a life free from violence, through intersectoral strategies to address the factors that disrupt harmony in the community and foment violence, to provide education from early childhood that promotes tolerance, an appreciation for diversity, mutual respect and respect for human rights, conflict resolution and peace, and to ensure protection, timely access to justice and compensation for victims.
  • Reliable statistical data

    Guarantee also reliable statistical data, disaggregated by sex, age, migration status, race and ethnicity, cultural variables and geographical location, with regard to education, health, in particular sexual health and reproductive health, employment and the participation of adolescents and young people.