5: Abortion legislation
Argentina is one of the countries that operates with legal abortion in the mentioned cases, while Peru only allows abortion in cases where there is danger to the mother’s life.
Girls and women in these countries are nevertheless faced with the attitude that abortion is immoral, and in many cases are prevented from carrying out the attack, even when the law allows it. This leads many to look for alternative solutions that endanger their lives. In 2008, it was estimated that 95% of the 4.4 million abortions in Latin America were performed in unsafe environments. Every year, one million women need hospital treatment as a result, and unsafe abortions account for 12% of maternal mortality in the region. Every year, 2,000 Hispanic girls and women die from unsafe abortions.
The abortion case is currently very relevant in Chile, which allowed therapeutic abortion until the military dictatorship in 1989. In September 2015, President Michelle Bachelet approved a bill to decriminalize abortion (in the Health Commission) in cases where a pregnancy is the result of rape. Abortion in cases where there is a danger to the mother’s life or the fetus is not viable, was approved by the same committee earlier this year. All three proposals will be voted on in the National Assembly later this year. As of today, the penalty for having an abortion is 3-5 years, and 1.5-3 years for those who perform the abortion. It is estimated that approx. 200,000 illegal abortions in Chile every year.
The lack of knowledge and contraception, as well as the lack of opportunity to have an abortion are reasons why many girls in Latin America end up as teenage mothers . In Chile, every eighth girl has her first child while they are in their teens. In Argentina, every sixth girl is pregnant or has children, and in rural Peru this applies to every fourth girl. Girls who become pregnant in their teens face extensive social exclusion in the family, local community and society, and are often prevented both from taking education and from working. In Peru, 13.2% of girls between the ages of 15 and 19 are mothers. Only 4.4% of girls who become pregnant in their teens go on to higher education.
In general, inadequate education is an important obstacle both to personal growth, but also to the development of society. And education is especially important for girls since they – more than men it turns out in practice – are the key to better child health.
6: LGBT: lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people
The rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people (LGBT) are an important aspect of sexual rights. Many young people in Latin America experience being met with ridicule and condemnation when their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression violates traditional social norms . Some of the countries in the region have – despite this – still and probably the world’s fastest progress in this area.
According to PHARMACYLIB, Argentina is one of these and in 2010 was the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage. The country is at the forefront when it comes to rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. At the same time, taboos around sexual orientation contribute to LGBT people being discriminated against. Discrimination and hate crimes – violence based on sexual orientation – are a major problem in Latin America, and every year more people die as a result.
Daniel Zamudio, a young gay man from Chile, fell victim to such hate crimes in 2012. On March 2, he was beaten and tortured for several hours in a park in the capital Santiago. 25 days later, he died from injuries sustained by a gang of neo-Nazi affiliates. The attack led to a mobilization of the Chilean community for gay rights, as well as a debate on homophobia and the lack of an anti-discrimination law aimed at hate crimes.
Chile’s then-president, Sebastián Piñera, called on parliament to speed up the introduction of the seven-year law on hate crimes. The proposal for such a law was actively opposed by several denominations. They believed the law could call for the legalization of gay marriage, but the law was still passed and came into force later that year. Despite this, Chile has maintained a different sexual minimum age based on sexual orientation, where the general minimum age is 15 years, while for LGBT people it is 18 years.
7: OD2015: With equal rights
Being able to decide over one’s own body and sexuality is a human right. In Argentina, Chile and Peru, young people face resistance when demanding knowledge on these topics. Lack of basic health services, contraception and follow-up after sexual abuse help to violate their rights. Through three steps, the NPD 2015 will ensure that young people’s voices are heard and ensure their right to decide over their own bodies and sexuality:
- Human rights education: Through education in human rights and training of 300 youth leaders in rights related to body and sexuality, the project will reach directly to 1700 young people from 13-19 years. In addition, parents, teachers and health workers will be reached through the project.
- Communication and campaign: The youth leaders will be trained to become spokespersons for youth rights, and will through training in campaign and media work understand how they can influence school managements, politicians and health authorities.
- Lobby and influence: Strong youth networks will be built where young people will share experiences and collaborate on campaigns that will put their rights related to body and sexuality on the agenda.
No two young people are alike, but all are equally valuable. Therefore, young people, regardless of whether they live in Norway or in Latin America, should have an equal right to express love both to themselves and others. This year, Operation Dagsverk will collaborate with Amnesty International Norway , and work to ensure that young people are not held back by attitudes, traditions or rules, but have the opportunity to talk openly about sexuality, sex and emotions. Everyone has the right to be heard, to have authority over his body and sexuality, and to be treated with respect and dignity.