Friday, August 19, 2005

Remarks from Joana at the press conference:

Joana Almeida, YouAct
Portugal
25 years old
16 August 2005

After realizing the global situation on HIV and AIDS on the world, I state that we forget too often about the connection of this problem with the broader context of sexual and reproductive health and rights approach.

Sexual health is a right of young people and as a youth advocate, it is my duty to remind the importance of the achievement of ALL the sexual rights for Young People – as the biggest youth generation ever coming on...

Information is one the main sexual rights which has to be met to also achieve other rights. This is why I believe in comprehensive sexuality education as a pathway to help youth solve their life problems. I want an education that respects AGE, GENDER, and, of course SEXUAL ORIENTATION.

The WYD4ALL also counts the great work of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transsexual Young People and we cannot forget the unnecessary and unfair deaths because of sexual discrimination or because indirect violence, coming also from the Church, or just inspired by the Catholic traditions.

Another right I would like to stress is the access to youth friendly reproductive services, contraception and treatment medication for sexual related problems. Condoms save lives – this larger access to contraception prevents even more lives to be lost.

As I come from Portugal, I feel in my daily life the negative consequences that the Church can have on our young lives. The Catholic Church hierarchy needs to accept that we young people can choose for ourselves and we will choose for ourselves, even if it is against our family, school, friends, society. Every choice is personal and many times we not do expect or desire and even agree what others choose for themselves.

Finally and because this is mainly a youth encounter and many young leaders are present in Cologne, I would like to stress the importance of youth empowerment and participation, as equal actors in society. We ask the catholic Church to listen and observe their young people, ALL of us, and bring new spirit into tradition!

We ask for Church reforms – we ask for evolution! We want condoms4life!

YouAct is European Network for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights for Youth