Children as young as five should be exposed to sex education – even if that means ignoring parents’ wishes, a United Nations report has recommended.
The majority of UN Member States, including Russia and the United States, have strongly rejected or denounced the report.
The report’s author, Vernor Muñoz Villalobos, criticises abstinence education programmes, arguing that they normalise stereotypes and are based on “heteronormativity.”
His report also calls for sex education to include promotion of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) agenda.
Mr Muñoz acknowledges the right of parents to choose their children’s education, which is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, but he adds “this authority may never run counter to the rights of children and adolescents.”
Mr Muñoz has submitted his report, entitled Report of the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the right to education, to the UN without being present to defend his recommendations and analysis – a highly unusual procedure.
Last year the UN published new guidelines on sex education saying schools should be teaching children as young as five explicit details about sex.
The guidelines also said children between the age of nine and twelve should learn how to deal with the “pressure to have sex”.
The proposals featured in a 98-page document by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation) which it claimed would help children to report abuse.
Nanette Ecker, one of the authors of the report, said it was necessary to “start sexuality education young, such as teaching 5- to 8- year olds the correct terminology about their bodies and how they work so they have the language to ask questions or report abusive, coercive behaviour or sexual violence.”
But a number of parents in the UK have recently raised concerns about explicit sex education materials being shown to their primary-aged children.
In May it was revealed that angry mums had slammed a primary school’s plan to show pupils an explicit sex ed video, and warned that it could cause children to experiment sexually.
The video, a Channel 4 production called Living and Growing, shows a naked cartoon couple chasing each other around a bed and then having sex, while a voice-over gives a detailed description of the action.
Cliff Lane Primary School was planning to show the video to seven-year-old pupils, but outraged mums were left horrified after they saw the graphic DVD during a consultation.
Kara Munday, whose five-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “We are genuinely concerned that sexual activity would take place because they would be aware of what these parts do and how to make it feel nice”.
She added: “Their innocence will be taken away at an early age.”