February 26, 2021

Paraguayan youth demand that the authorities promote more public policies

A group of young Paraguayans addressed the ministers present at a World Population Day event on Thursday to demand more public policies focused on addressing youth problems, such as poor education, health deficiencies or high rates of education. pregnancy.

The young people took the floor during the presentation of an initiative of the United Nations Population Fund (Unfpa), attended by the Minister of Children and Adolescents, Teresa Martíne; the Minister of Health, Julio Mazzoleni, and the head of the National Secretariat for Youth, Felipe Salomón, who received the most criticism.

The young people questioned that Salomón ignored his continuous requests for meetings, disregarded his invitations to activities and demanded "real public policies" from his Secretariat, beyond the questioned Mandatory Military Service (SMO).

They also requested comprehensive sexual education in schools, recognition of sexual diversity and urgent attention to the high rates of juvenile pregnancy, of children between 10 and 14 years old, with an increase of 62.6% between 2004-2013, according to the data of the Unfpa.

Chiki Cardozo, Ulises Mediana and Daniel Ortellado, three of the young people who questioned the authorities, told Efe after the event that they did not want to miss the opportunity because it was the first time they had met face to face with them.

Ortellado denounced that public policies only take into account "a privileged sector", while for Cardozo they are "partisan" measures aimed at those affiliated with the Government, which leave aside "the youthful diversity" that exists in the country.

The three agreed that the Executive should bet on measures that have "higher incidence for adolescents and young people."

The national representative of Unfpa in Paraguay, Rocío Galeano, assured Efe that she was not surprised by the reaction of the young people, with whom they usually work to know their needs and proposals.

"Less than 1% of the gross domestic product (GDP) goes to this population, which is a majority and strategic for the country, there are more than one million young people outside the education system, access to sexual and reproductive health is poor, we have high rates of non-formal and non-decent employment in this population … ", lamented Galeano.

Although from the Unfpa some governmental advances are observed, Galeano insisted that "an investment in human capital and social capital is still required, fundamentally in areas such as health, education, protection, employment …" to reach 2 million young people with whom the Paraguayan population counts, whose census ascends to about 7 million people.

He also recalled that the country still faces "an inconclusive debate" when developing public policies with a rights-based approach, since there are groups from society, also present at the dialogue tables, for "those who prioritize the dogmas of their own beliefs about access to the rights of the population ".

Nor was surprised by the statements of the youth Ministry of Health, who told Efe that "they are right to a large extent."

"In the field of health, we are addressing many of the problems, we are clearly identified with the need for comprehensive sexual and reproductive education, we do it in a democratic way, where we put it on the table for adolescents and young people to decide. all options, "explained the minister.

Regarding child and adolescent pregnancies, Mazzoleni opted to "denaturalize that coexistence of children with older people" and "denounce the sexual abuse that occurs", but ruled out modifications in the law of abortion, since there is "a very clear regulation in against that. "

"It is a question that should be dealt with at another level and it is much broader, I, in my personal opinion, as a doctor, am against abortion, but I understand that these are issues that Paraguay will define whether or not it is appropriate for a discussion, "the minister added.

Mazzoleni also admitted that there are "many debts with the diversity that exists in terms of sexual orientation" and advocated "having a behavior and a position always open" from the field of health care.

. (tagsToTranslate) Young (t) Paraguayans (t) authorities (t) promote (t) policies

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