The international community is currently debating whether international law requires States to educate adolescents about their sexuality. Various nongovernmental organizations, United Nations Special Rapporteurs, and treaty-monitoring bodies assert a right to comprehensive sex education, a controversial approach to sex education that arguably encourages adolescents to experiment with their sexuality. This assertion of a right to comprehensive sex education is erroneous and misleading. International human rights are created in two ways: by treaty and by custom. Treaties do not mention comprehensive sex education, or any other form of sex education or training. Custom, found in international consensus documents and other declarations of political will, and confirmed by State practice, holds no universal agreement on sex education. Because neither treaty nor custom creates a right to comprehensive sex education, no such right exists.
- sex education
- human rights