Due to the valiant efforts of many UN Member States, a paragraph calling for highly controversial “sexuality education” was just soundly rejected from a World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution on ending violence against children.
The following seemingly innocuous paragraph had so many harmful hidden meanings tucked inside that an urgent alert was sent to UN delegations in Geneva with an analysis of 12 harmful elements hidden in the paragraph (see here for all the hidden meanings).
Controversial CSE Paragraph Rejected by World Health Assembly
OP10 To provide accessible gender-sensitive, free from gender stereotypes, evidence-based and appropriate to age and evolving capacities sexuality education to children, and with appropriate direction and guidance from parents and legal guardians, with the best interests of the child as their basic concern to empower and enable them to realize their health wellbeing and dignity, build communication, self-protection and risk reduction skills, as a fundamental part of the efforts to prevent, recognize and respond to violence against children;
The complete deletion of this paragraph with the support of many countries is a major victory as it establishes that “comprehensive sexuality education” (CSE) does not enjoy consensus at the UN!
This means that "sexuality education" should never be accepted in any UN documents moving forward.
Moreover, an HIV/AIDS Political Declaration being negotiated in New York at UN Headquarters currently contains several references to CSE.
Because the World Health Assembly in Geneva soundly rejected CSE, UN Member States in New York will be in a much better position to reject CSE the HIV/AIDS document too.
We are also grateful especially to Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) and the Russian Federation for their strong leadership at the WHA, leading to this important victory for children worldwide.
“Comprehensive sexuality education,” which goes way beyond sex education, is one of the most controversial terms at the UN, never having achieved consensus because of its radical content which sexualizes children and mainstreams diverse sexual and gender identities among other things. It is the Trojan horse tool of the sexual rights activists used to change the sexual and gender norms of conservative societies forcing them to embrace abortion, promiscuity, and transgenderism.
We owe a debt of gratitude to the Russian Federation, Eswatini, Egypt, Mozambique, and Zambia who cosponsored an amendment to replace “sexuality education” in the WHA paragraph with the somewhat less controversial “information and education on sexual and reproductive health” in the resolution that had been under intense negotiation that past two weeks.
During the debate the following countries thankfully took the floor and expressed either their support for replacing “sexuality education” with the SRH language or in support of deleting the sexuality education paragraph entirely:
Russia, Egypt, Zambia, Eswatini, Iran, Jamaica, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Lebanon, Pakistan, Algeria, Senegal, Iran, Zimbabwe, Qatar, Eswatini, Morocco, China, Thailand, Japan.
On the other hand, the European Union, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Uruguay, the U.S., the UK, Germany, Portugal, Argentina, Monaco, and Switzerland all spoke out in favor of "sexuality education" and against the proposed amendment.
But when it appeared that a vote on the amendment would be lost, these countries quickly accepted a proposal to delete the paragraph entirely. Why? These countries could not abide the possibility of the adoption of a slightly watered down paragraph without an explicit mention of CSE as that would have set a precedent.
It should be noted that sometimes CSE is called “sexual and reproductive health education” to hide its controversial nature, but that fact still wasn’t a strong enough reason for the countries hell-bent on pushing controversial CSE on developing countries and the world.
Please see below excerpts from the notable statements made by various States during the heated debate over the "sexuality education" paragraph.
Excerpts From the World Health Assembly CSE Debate
with UNFRC Commentary
Mexico – The Mexican delegate said that “sexuality education” should be in line with the highly controversial “International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education” but stopped short of disclosing that this UN “Guidance” also known as ITGSE, teaches children, among other things, about masturbation, gender identity, sexual orientation, and asks children to “differentiate between values that they hold, and that their parents/guardians hold about sexuality” (Pg. 46, Learning objectives 15-18+ years) and asks children to “describe male and female responses to sexual stimulation.” (Pg. 71, Learning objectives 9-12 years) and to “summarize key elements of sexual pleasure and responsibility” (Pg. 72, Learning objectives 15-18+ years).
Mexico also claimed that "sexuality education" when implemented in accordance with the ITGSE will end the bullying of children. Yet, Mexico did not provide any support for that claim. It should be noted that the International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education, supported by multiple UN agencies, and even the World Health Organization, itself, recognizes that there is little to no evidence that "sexuality education" is even effective. See excerpts from the ITGSE, showing the UN's admission of a clear lack of evidence for effectiveness of "sexuality education" here.
Eswatini - Eswatini stated it was most regrettable that cosponsors could not agree and come to consensus on the text. Eswatini aligned with the draft proposal by the Russian Federation, Egypt, Mozambique, and Zambia which was based on WHA and UN General Assembly (UNGA) language stating that the term “sexuality education” is not UNGA or WHO consensus language. Also affirmed that the outcome of the current resolution would have an impact on the outcome of the political declaration on HIV being negotiated in New York.
United States – As the main sponsor of the resolution, the U.S. claimed that “access to sexuality education is the pathway to tolerance, acceptance, inclusivity, and empowerment” but stopped short of disclosing that this is largely in regard to sexual orientation and gender diversity. In fact, the controversial ITGSE actually requires children on page 48 to “demonstrate respect for diverse practices related to sexuality” (Learning objectives 9-12 years). In other words, the UN’s “Guidance” on “sexuality education” is intended to mainstream LGBT sexual behavior and normalize them with children.
Egypt – Expressed concerned that some delegations tried to force “loaded and contentious terms” on other delegations forcing them to wade through controversies and ignoring their concerns with sexuality education that encompasses different sexual identities, something that was never agreed upon either at the World Health Assembly or in other venues.
Egypt's concerns about "sexuality education" were well-founded as the UN’s ITGSE describes comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) as follows:
- "CSE contributes to gender equality by building awareness of the centrality and diversity of gender in people’s lives.” (Pg. 17, 2.1—What is comprehensive sexuality education (CSE)?)
It also asks teens to “recall examples of gender bias against men, women and people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity” (Pg. 50, Learning objectives 15-18+ years)
Egypt strongly opposed the use of the term “sexuality education” and supported the amendment calling for the term to be replaced with “education and information on sexual and reproductive health.”
Indonesia – Regretted that consensus was not reached and called for the cosponsors to be more flexible and to accept the more widely supported reference to “sexual and reproductive health education” instead of the term “sexuality education” so as to be more in line with national laws.
Argentina – Speaking on behalf of Australia, all EU States, Costa Rica, Fiji, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Peru, Norway, UK, Uruguay, Canada, Montenegro, Uruguay, Peru, and South Africa, Argentina opposed any amendments to the "sexuality education" paragraph.
Portugal – Speaking also on behalf of the EU and its 27 Member States, claimed that “sexuality education” was a key element of the resolution and prevention of violence against children and therefore rejected the amendment.
Russian Federation - Complained that the position of all delegations were not taken onboard and that the text was proposed contrary to the will of many delegations and contained unacceptable language. They invited all delegations to support the proposal to remove “sexuality education.”
Nigeria – The representative from Nigeria asserted that the “vague, opaque, and confusing language” in the sexuality education paragraph did not enjoy consensus.” Nigeria rejected the phrases “free from gender stereotypes” and “evolving capacities” which he explained are “nebulous and misleading”. He warned against “ambiguous language” that can “haunt” children in the future and said Nigeria disassociates from it. (For this to make sense it would be important to read our analysis of that language showing the hidden meanings.)
Australia – The Australian delegate claimed without any evidence whatsoever to back up their claim (because there is none), that "sexuality education" will create “gender equality and set children up to be free of violence throughout their whole lives.” Australia then asked states to consider disassociating from the paragraph rather than calling for an amendment to be voted on.
Uruguay – The delegate named each of the UN agencies that co-published the controversial International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education (UNESCO, UNICEF, UN WOMEN, WHO) as if that somehow makes ITGSE less controversial and then said that the CEDAW Committee and the Committee on the Rights of the Child promote CSE, therefore it should be considered a UN consensus term. He failed to mention, however, that the bogus pronouncements of these radical, runaway UN committees have no legal weight whatsoever and are simply the opinions of activists who have worked their way onto those committees.
Mauritania – Supported the amendment to replace "sexuality education" with information and education on sexual and reproductive health.
United Kingdom – Claimed "sexuality education" prevents violence even though there are no studies that show this is true and other studies show "sexuality education" increases sexual risk-taking which puts children at a higher risk for violence. They opposed the amendment.
New Zealand – Falsely claimed that "sexuality education" will help prevent “social, emotional, and sexual abuse” of children but then also partially revealed the true nature of "sexuality education" stating it will move us towards more “inclusion.”
But we ask, the inclusion of what? The ITGSE actually teaches children on page 71 to “recognize that each person’s decision to be sexually active … should be respected at all times.” (Pg. 71, Learning objectives 12-15 years). In other words, children are to respect promiscuity.
Kenya – Supported the amendment to replace "sexuality education" and proposed the deletion of the term “free from gender stereotypes” stating that it implies a long-term assault on cultural values and beliefs and the family unit. (Again, see our analysis of that language showing the hidden meaning). Asked for the insertion at the beginning of the paragraph of the phrase “In accordance with national legislation, capacities, priorities, and specific national circumstances”.
Monaco – Supported the text as is, but, because they considered the different viewpoints to be irreconcilable, they proposed dropping the sexuality education paragraph so the resolution could be adopted by consensus.
China – Said that in deliberation of resolutions Member States should fully listen to others on the basis of consensus and that did not happen. Need flexibility to come to consensus.
Lebanon – Said the controversial language in the text exceeded the scope of the draft and supported the amendment.
Zambia – Agreed that sexuality education in the text had not achieved consensus and aligned Zambia with States calling for the replacement of “sexuality education” with “information and education on sexual and reproductive health.”
Pakistan – In the spirit of consensus supported Russia in their amendment and the statement by Iran.
Algeria – Supported the amendment but also said the proposal to delete the paragraph as a way out of the standstill that was worth considering.
Mozambique – Supported replacing "sexuality education" with "information and education on sexual and reproductive health" saying its clear language will make implementation easier.
Thailand – We stand ready for adopting the resolution by consensus.
Qatar – Supported the amendment by Russians to better clarify the text and said they believe the views of all States should be taken on board.
Japan – Supported Monaco’s proposal to delete the paragraph due to the disagreements and finding a way towards consensus on the draft document to prevent violence against children
Senegal – Said the "sexuality education" paragraph contains nonconsensual text and they supported the amendment formulation as a very important way to arrive at consensus.
Iran – Supported the deletion of the "sexuality education" paragraph as a good compromise solution.
Germany – Aligned with the EU and Argentina supporting the original tabled draft claiming it represented a “fair, balanced result.” Did not agree with the amendment.
Zimbabwe – Welcomed and supported the amendment tabled by, Russia, Egypt, Mozambique, Eswatini, and Zambia. Expressed the importance of avoiding “controversial terms in agreements that have different meanings and connotations in different jurisdictions” and expressed the need to allow for national laws and policies.
Switzerland – Was in favor of Monaco’s proposal to delete the paragraph. While this may sound surprising, nations promoting "sexuality education" wanted to avoid a vote at all costs because they knew they would lose the vote. For them, that would be even more embarrassing and harmful to their CSE agenda than withdrawing the entire paragraph.
Chair: The Chair concluded by stating that there were legitimate concerns on both sides of the issue and nations had strong stances. Therefore the Chair proposed adopting the resolution without the inclusion of the disputed "sexuality education" paragraph OP10 and thus, there would be no vote on the amendment. Therefore there were no objections to the Chair’s proposal to delete the "sexuality education" paragraph and the document was adopted without the controversial references to "sexuality education", otherwise, know as CSE.