Talking to the youths, Her Majesty said that it is your right to know about your body and that you must stay healthy to be productive citizen of Bhutan. Her Majesty commended the faculty, administrative staffs, and teachers of Samtse College of Education for institutionalizing comprehensive sexuality education, starting Y-PEER network at the College of Science and Technology, and Gaeddu College of Business Studies and initiating Life Skills Education in schools.
Her Majesty expressed concerns about the increasing number of HIV/AIDS cases, suicide, youth issues, and other social issues despite awareness campaigns being carried out.
Speaking to the public, Her Majesty said, “there are 515 HIV positive cases in the country, which is of major concern. We need to put in extra effort and must work more.”
“The increasing number of suicide cases in the country is a serious concern. Based on police records, more than 70 suicide cases are reported in the country annually, which comes to over 6 people per month. Most cases reported are youths, and the parents must take responsibility in understanding and working with their growing children.” Her Majesty said.
The high level advocacy also emphasized that domestic violence including sexual violence is a serious issue in the country. The National Health Survey of 2012 revealed that 74% or women accept violence as justified. Women and men were encouraged to report incidents to police, village heads, local government and community volunteers, since there are strong laws to deal with domestic violence and sexual violence issues.
More than five thousand people from the 15 gewogs of Samtse, students from Samtse College of Education, College of Science and Technology, Gaeddu College of Business Studies, and over 15 schools from Samtse and Chukha attended high-level advocacy led by UNFPA Goodwill Ambassador, Her Majesty the Queen Mother, Gyalyum Sangay Choden Wangchuck.