Vulnerable Groups

Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights as Human Right for All

Marginalized groups, indigenous people, LGBTIQ+, Refugees and migrants, sex workers and persons with disabilities are especially vulnerable and face discrimination and violence. They have more difficulty accessing essential sexual and reproductive healthcare services, because of social norms, attitudes and values.


The discrimination and violence that LGBTIQ+ people experience often force them to lead a hidden life. Consequently, it is more difficult for them to access sexual and reproductive healthcare services and they cannot freely develop relationships with a partner of their choice. 

Read more: 

Accelerate progress – sexual and reproductive health and rights for all (The lancet 2018)

Free e-course: OHCHR human rights of LGBTI people tool

Refugees and migrants

Migration may put people in situations that render them vulnerable, which leads to difficulty accessing essential health care. Access to health care may have been reduced due to destruction of infrastructure and facilities or disruptions in distribution channels cutting access to essential medicines and commodities. Refugees and migrants may not be aware of the availability of services in their country of destination and there might be language barriers. They might be left out due to not having the required legal documentation or simply not being able to afford the services. There may be experiences of sexual exploitation, harassment and violence in countries of origin and transit. That is why refugees and migrants are vulnerable to problems related to sexual and reproductive health, sexual violence, exploitation and other human rights violations.

Read more: 
Sexual and Reproductive Health in Forced Migration (Frontiers 2022)

Adolescent girls in disaster and conflict (UNFPA 2016)

Persons living with disabilities

It is estimated that 15 percent of world’s population – one billion people – have some kind of disability. Sadly, in many countries disabilities are seen as shameful, the result of a curse, or even as punishment from God. Families often hide family members living with disability from the community or stop them from fully participating in the community’s social activities.

Persons with disabilities have the same sexual and reproductive health needs and rights as any other person, yet they often face barriers to information and services regarding them. People with disabilities are often subjected to discrimination and violence, and to a large extent are deprived of their right to live independently. The sexuality of persons with disabilities is also a taboo in many socities and communities, which leads to lack of access to education and information on SRHR.

Read more:

Promoting sexual and reproductive health for persons with disabilities (WHO/UNFPA 2009) 

Young Persons with Disabilities: Global Study on Ending Gender-based Violence and Realizing Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (UNFPA 2018)