While Chile sees itself as a country that has fully restored human rights since its return todemocratic rule in 1990, the rights of teenagers to comprehensive sexuality education are still notbeing met. This paper reviews the recent history of sexuality education in Chile and relatedlegislation, policies and programmes. It also reports a 2008 review of the bylaws of 189 randomlyselected Chilean schools, which found that although such bylaws are mandatory, the absence ofbylaws to prevent discrimination on grounds of pregnancy, HIV and sexuality was common. Inrelation to how sexual behaviour and discipline were addressed, bylaws that were non-compliantwith the law were very common. Opposition to sexuality education in schools in Chile is predicatedon the denial of teenage sexuality, and many schools punish sexual behaviour where transgression isperceived to have taken place. While the wider Chilean society has been moving towards greaterrecognition of individual autonomy and sexual diversity, this cultural shift has yet to be reflectedin the government’s political agenda, in spite of good intentions. Given this state of affairs, theChilean polity needs to recognise its youth as having human rights, or will continue to fail in itscommitment to them.
Reproductive Health Matters 17, no.34 (December 2009): 88-98.