Sexual Rights at UPR24

Published on February 19, 2016

The 24th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 18-29 January 2016. Here is a recap of sexual rights at UPR24.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR24 including: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palau, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Somalia.

The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) collaborated with national NGOs in three of the countries reviewed to prepare stakeholder submissions and advocate for strong recommendations on sexual and reproductive rights. They include:

Adoption of UPR Outcomes: March 2016

The UPR outcome for each State reviewed during UPR24 will be adopted at the 32nd session of the HRC from June 13th to July 1st 2016. The outcome report indicates which recommendations the State agrees to implement, and its responses to other recommendations. This is the only opportunity for civil society to make an oral statement during the official UPR process. The SRI, in collaboration with partners and allies, will work to ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are visible during this segment of the UPR process.

The intervening period is an opportunity to engage in dialogue with States on accepting relevant recommendations – and, at the same time, not accepting those recommendations that are inconsistent with human rights norms and standards. It is also a means for gaining the support of media and the general public.

Below are some highlights from each UPR24 review. Click here for the full list of recommendations made related to sexual rights, including State responses to date.

Click here for the full list of UPR24 Sexual Rights Recommendations

 

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Consider abolishing the requirements for medical interventions for transgender people who wish to obtain legal recognition of their gender (Israel)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Guarantee women effective access to justice in cases of harassment and sexual and domestic violence, and adopt legislation against gender violence (Venezuela)

Noted Recommendations

  • Adopt specific legislation on domestic violence, especially violence against women (Brazil)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Amend the Penal Code in the Faroe Islands to ensure that the definition of rape is brought in line with international standards and criminalized in all circumstances, including within marriage (Norway)
  • Adopt the necessary legislative measures to ensure the integration of the gender perspective in all public policies at all levels of government, and prohibit and punish discrimination based on gender (Honduras)
  • Ensure equal access to public health for LGBT persons, removing existing legislative barriers for access to gender reassignment-related treatments (Uruguay)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Develop and adopt legislation that would recognize explicitly hatred on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as a motive and make it an aggravated circumstance in a crime (Bulgaria)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Legally recognize marriage between persons of the same sex (Spain)
  • Build on efforts to address all forms of violence against women by enacting specific laws that prohibit domestic and sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, and by investigating all allegations of violence, prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring victims are protected and have access to medical and legal services (Canada)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Build on efforts to address all forms of violence against women by enacting specific laws that prohibit domestic and sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, and by investigating all allegations of violence, prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring victims are protected and have access to medical and legal services (Canada)
  • Define incitement to violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as a criminal offence (South Africa)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Increase the number and capacity of shelters for women who are victims of violence and ensure that victims receive adequate assistance, including psychosocial counselling (Liechtenstein)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Take all necessary steps to ensure that the availability of safe abortion services can be guaranteed, and to sensitize communities to the problems of unsafe abortion (Netherlands)
  • Ensure that all women have access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, including comprehensive sexuality education and modern contraceptive methods (Slovenia)

Defered Recommendations

  • Harmonize the civil status between men and women, particularly regarding the rights of inheritance and legal capacity to use, enjoy, and own, property, and set up policies aimed at eliminating the pay gap between men and women (Chile)
  • Include sexual orientation and gender identity amongst illegal criteria for discrimination, in social, economic and political life and eliminate norms prohibiting consenting sexual relation between adults of the same sex (Chile)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Issue clear directives to health officials to prohibit the sterilization of women living with HIV/AIDS without their informed consent (Canada)
  • Repeal provisions criminalizing sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, to respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination among all people (France)
  • Abolish all discriminatory customary laws and practices that violate the rights of women in accordance with international obligations under CEDAW (Iceland)
  • Redouble its efforts to enforce the relevant legislation such as the Combating of Rape Act to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, and continue the ongoing efforts to address the root causes and contributing factors of the violence (Republic of Korea)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Ensure the education and training of girls and women, including access to education on sexual and reproductive health (Switzerland)
  • Increase the minimum legal age for marriage for girls and develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to eliminate child, early and forced marriage and to support already married children and adolescent girls (Italy)
  • Increase efforts to improve women’s health, in particular access to family planning services, maternal health care and eliminating the practice of female genital mutilation (Netherlands)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Consider amending its Penal Code and Family Protection Act to ensure that spousal rape is criminalised, and that the definition of rape include any form of non-consensual penetration of or by a sexual organ and that the definition be gender neutral so that men and boys are also protected by the rape laws (Fiji)
  • Introduce comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Netherlands)
  • Take all necessary measures to promote the rights of women and to counter domestic violence, in particular by preventing and punishing more effectively violence within the family (France)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Undertake measures to prevent high incidences of early pregnancy, including comprehensive sexuality education in schools and access to services in support of sexual health and reproductive rights (United Kingdom)
  • Move towards the adoption of a comprehensive law against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity, that punishes and prohibits all forms of discrimination in public and private settings (Chile)

Noted Recommendations

  • Repeal legislation criminalizing women and girls for having an abortion, as well as healthcare providers performing such services, and take measures to allow legal and safe abortions at least in cases of rape or incest, in cases where the life or health of the mother is at risk, or where the foetus is diagnosed with grave health deficiencies (Austria)

 

Deferred Recommendations

Fully criminalise domestic violence against women and children, including marital rape and ensure that such acts are tried by Criminal courts as opposed to a family tribunal (Zambia)

Decriminalize consensual sex relations between adults of the same sex and strengthen legislation punishing all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (Chile)

Take concrete measures to fight domestic violence, to prosecute perpetrators and to protect the victims of such practices, as well as to enhance the effectiveness and the financing of the police’s specialized unit, the “Family Squad” (Brazil)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Introduce the total legislative ban of female genital mutilation, to initiate a public discussion and awareness-raising campaign on female genital mutilation as a violation of human rights of girls and women (Czech Republic)
  • Reverse the policy barring pregnant girls from attending schools and sitting state examinations; and encourage girls to return to school after childbirth (Ireland)
  • Decriminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults and pass legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Canada)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Adopt measures to protect the human rights of migrants, in particular foreign domestic workers through the revision of the legislation that establishes deportation in case of pregnancy or diagnostic of sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS (Colombia)
  • Formally repeal Section 377 A of the Penal Code criminalising homosexual acts (Austria)
  • Criminalize explicitly domestic violence and marital rape and make sure that the definition of rape is in line with international standards, and take steps to facilitate the reporting of domestic and sexual violence and protect victims (Belgium)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Take effective measures to increase women’s participation in public and political life as well as the labour market, in particular considering temporary special measures such as statutory quotas or incentives (Republic of Korea)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Reform the Penal Code with a provision encompassing the definition and criminalisation of all forms of sexual violence, including rape (Sierra Leone)
  • Include in the new Federal Constitution provisions on equality and non-discrimination between man and woman, in line with articles 1 and 2 of the CEDAW (Paraguay)
  • Decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex (Chile)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Adopt measures, including appropriate legislation, to prevent, penalise and eliminate all forms of violence against women, end impunity for sexual violence and ensure access to justice (Lithuania)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Modify the penal code to legally prohibit all forms of FGM. Complement punitive measures with awareness-raising and educational activities. Consider developing and action plan to intensify efforts for the eradication of FGM (Italy)
  • Reform its legislation in view of promoting non-discrimination and equality between men and women within marriage and for rights of women in case of dissolution of marriage (Madagascar)

 

Click here for the full list of UPR24 Sexual Rights Recommendations

 

Toolkit for advocates cover

 

 

 

Read the SRI & IPPF UPR

Toolkit for Sexual Rights Advocates

Available in
English, French, Portuguese, Spanish & Arabic.

 

 

 

more info about the UPR
The UPR mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council is used to review each of the 193 Member States of the UN on its entire human rights record every four and a half years. The Sexual Rights Initiative has launched a Universal Periodic Review (URP) Sexual Rights database that records all information from the UPR related to sexual rights. To gain access to the Database, please send an email to [email protected] containing the following information: your name, the name of your organization (if any), your email address, the name and email address of a reference (either an SRI partner, or known to one).