What are sexual and reproductive rights?

    • Brief

    • Sexual and reproductive rights are part of human rights. Human rights are written down in laws and international treaties, and have been signed by almost every country in the world. Nigeria has signed them too and has to respect these rights.

    • Sexual rights

    • When sexual rights are respected, people are able to enjoy satisfying and safe sexual and love relationships.

      This means that these relationships are free from coercion or violence and without fear of infection or unintended pregnancy.

    • Reproductive rights

    • Reproductive health is related to pregnancy, delivery and deciding whether and when to have children. When reproductive rights are respected, people can make free choices about becoming pregnant, taking contraception or having an abortion.

      Abortion is illegal in Nigeria, except when the pregnant woman's life is in danger. Abortion is, however, commonplace in Nigeria. When reported, healthcare providers may face stiff penalties. About a third (or more) of abortions in Nigeria is considered unsafe since they are provided by non-professionals.

    • What are these fundamental sexual and reproductive rights?

    • The right to life

      You have the right to get the best available health care during pregnancy and delivery. Healthcare professionals will do all they can to protect the life and health of you and your baby. You have the right to get the health care you need.

      The right to personal freedom and safety

      You have control over your own body and your sexual life. You have the right to enjoy your sexuality, decide if you want to have children and how many.

      It also means coercion, sexually abusive behaviour and exploitation are forbidden by law.


      The right to equality

      You have the right to be treated equally and not be discriminated against because of your ethnic or national origin, your religion or health status, or you are a man or a woman. Men and women have equal rights.

      The right to privacy

      You have the right to make your own choices about sexuality without fear of negative reactions or persecution. This means that health care and social services have to respect your privacy. It is forbidden to share the results of an HIV test with other people if the tested person has not given their permission for this.

      The right to freedom of thought

      You have the right to have your own opinion about sexuality and sexual health, and you have the right to talk about it.

      The right to information and education

      You have the right to receive all the information and education you need to take care of your sexual and reproductive health. For example, information on how your body works, contraception, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and your rights are provided in healthcare centres.

      The right to marry or not, and to start and plan a family

      Nobody has the right to force you or to make these decisions in your name.

      The right to have children or not

      You have the right to obtain safe means of contraception, such as the contraceptive pill or condoms.

      The right to health care

      In Nigeria, everyone has the right to access health care.

      The right to the benefits of scientific progress

      For example: in Nigeria, everyone has the right to access the same type of HIV treatment.

      The right to freedom of assembly and political participation

      You have the right to gather with other people to talk about sexual and reproductive rights and to take action to make sure that these rights are respected. You have the right to raise awareness or ask politicians to make decisions to guarantee these rights.

      The right to be free from torture and ill-treatment

      You have the right to be protected against violence related to sexuality, such as sexual harassment, indecent assault or rape, human trafficking, child abuse or female genital mutilation.

      If you are HIV-positive, the Nigerian government cannot send you to a country where you cannot continue your treatment.