NIHRC to conduct an investigation into the provision of education on sexual and reproductive health in Northern Ireland
The Investigation will consider and establish the extent to which the Department of Education and other relevant public authorities are fulfilling their obligations to make “age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health a compulsory component of curriculum for adolescents covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion” in Northern Ireland in accordance with recommendation of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).
That recommendation was given effect in domestic legislation by Section 9 of the Northern Ireland (Executive Formation etc.) Act 2019. Section 9 requires the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland to ensure implementation of the relevant recommendation contained at sub-paragraph 86(d) of the UN CEDAW Committee’s 2018 report, following its inquiry into abortion services in Northern Ireland.
Paragraph 86 (d) requires the State Party (the UK government and the NI Executive) to “Make age-appropriate, comprehensive and scientifically accurate education on sexual and reproductive health and rights a compulsory component of curriculum for adolescents, covering prevention of early pregnancy and access to abortion, and monitor its implementation.”
It is anticipated that the investigation findings will be published in Spring 2022.