SRHR Highlights from UPR26

Published on November 17, 2016

Find out which human rights recommendations were accepted, noted or deferred by Haiti, Iceland, Lithuania, Moldova (Republic of), South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Timor-Leste, Togo, Uganda, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), and Zimbabwe during the latest UN Universal Periodic Review.

The 26th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 31 October-11 November 2016.

Eleven countries were reviewed during UPR26: Togo, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Iceland, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor Leste, Republic of Moldova, Haiti, and South Sudan. The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) collaborated with national NGOs in six of the countries reviewed to prepare nine stakeholder submissions and advocate for strong recommendations on sexual and reproductive rights. They include:

 

Adoption of UPR Outcomes: September 2016

The UPR outcome for each State reviewed during UPR26 will be adopted at the 34th session of the HRC (March 2017). 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 UPR26 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 UPR26 Sexual Rights Recommendations

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Intensify its efforts in protecting the rights of women and promote gender equality by revising legal framework, strengthening law enforcement and supporting victims of domestic violence in their legal process, rehabilitation and reintegration (Thailand)
  • Adopt a comprehensive legislative framework concerning violence against women that includes a definition of rape in line with international standards and criminalize marital rape (Belgium)

Noted Recommendations

  • Take measures to combat norms, practices and stereotypes that cause discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Colombia)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Enact legislation that includes protection from discrimination on the basis of intersex status (Australia)
  • Take general measures to eliminate gender stereotypes on the role and obligations of women and men, in particular through awareness-raising campaigns and education (Ecuador)
  • Closely monitor the investigation and prosecution of cases of domestic and sexual violence and their effectiveness, improve access to justice for victims of such violence and provide training in the field of domestic and sexual violence for judges, police, prosecutors and other relevant professionals (Czech Republic)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Adopt measures that guarantee the respect for the rights of LGBTI persons, by investigating and punishing acts of violence and discrimination as well as reviewing all legislation that may affect their rights (Argentina)
  • Redouble efforts to combat gender-based violence by criminalizing marital rape, thoroughly investigating and prosecuting acts of violence against women, and issuing guidelines for and providing training to law enforcement and judicial officials on handling domestic violence cases in all regions (Canada)
  • Take actions to improve sexual and reproductive health and rights according to previous recommendations and formulate a national strategy on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and integrate sexual and reproductive health into the next National Health Programme for 2026-2036 (Finland)
  • Establish and implement integrated strategies for […] unwanted pregnancies among girls and young people (Costa Rica)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Ensure the effective implementation and enforcement of existing legislation with a view to reducing structural disadvantages that hamper the effective realisation of substantive gender equality (Slovakia)
  • Duly investigate the crimes of hate and discrimination, among them, the most recent acts committed against the LGBTI community (Uruguay)
  • Continue to develop a policy framework and implement a comprehensive strategy to combat domestic violence that includes education and public awareness for rural areas, strengthened mechanisms to hold offenders to account, and enhanced training for law enforcement officials (Canada)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Strengthen the efforts to prevent discrimination and violence against women and girls, including by eradication of harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage (Slovenia)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Urgently adopt effective measures to combat sexual violence in the whole territory, to ensure accountability for those responsible of such crimes, and to ensure total redress for victims, by guaranteeing sufficient financial resources to implement such measures (Chile)
  • Repeal penal code provisions that criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex (Uruguay)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Amend the Penal Code and Criminal Code to eliminate mitigated sentences for rapists who marry their victims for so called “honour crimes” (Sierra Leone)
  • Conduct a review of the Personal Status Law and other relevant laws which will remove the provisions discriminatory towards women such as those not granting them guardianship of their children, disabling them from travelling with their children on their own or not allowing them transferring their citizenship to their children (Czechia)
  • Immediately implement Security Council Resolution 1325 and related resolutions on women, peace and security, including by taking special measures to protect women and girls from gender-based violence and to hold perpetrators of such acts accountable (Finland)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Consider reviewing the provisions in its penal code which contain punitive measures against women who have undergone illegal abortions (Norway)
  • Strengthen the legal framework in order to ensure gender equality and to ban discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (Chile)
  • Step up efforts to reduce maternal mortality by expanding coverage and quality of health services, goods and facilities focusing on maternal health care (Netherlands)
  • Implement the National Action Plan against sexual and gender-based violence, including by improving access to justice for victims, providing targeted training and capacity-building to law enforcement and judicial officials, and dedicating sufficient resources to enable key ministries to implement the Action Plan and increase coordination (Canada)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Implement formal and effective prevention and protection mechanisms for women victims of violence and female genital mutilation (Spain)

Noted Recommendations

  • Ensure a safe working environment for human rights defenders, by modifying the legislation that allows the denial of legal registration of organisations specialised in reproductive and sexual rights of women as well as associations defending the rights of LGBTI (Canada)
  • Adopt and implement legislation prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, including by decriminalising consensual same-sex sexual conduct (Slovenia)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Fully implement the School Health Policies and the Adolescent Health Policy to provide reproductive health education for adolescents and prevent teenager pregnancy (Germany)

Noted Recommendations

  • Take measures to combat rules, practices and stereotypes that cause discrimination and violence against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons, particularly those that are an attack against their dignity and self-determination with respect to their sexual orientation (Colombia)
  • Revise legislation on abortion in order to ensure all women have access to abortion and health-care in order to reduce maternal mortality (Congo)
  • Increase access to sexual and reproductive health services for vulnerable groups, including sexual minorities, by raising the health budget to 15 per cent in line with the Abuja declaration (Netherlands)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Ensure respect for and protection of LGBTI persons through measures such as the decriminalization of homosexual relations in the armed and security forces, the recognition of same-sex couples and the right to change identity for transgender people (Spain)
  • Adopt a comprehensive program on sexual health and reproductive rights based on human rights and WHO standards and to allocate sufficient resources for its implementation (Belgium)
  • Ensure full and equal access to modern contraceptives throughout its territory, including in peri-urban, rural and indigenous territories (Denmark)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Develop and operationalize a comprehensive strategy on preventing maternal, neonatal and child mortality (Botswana)
  • Set up a strategy to promote the rights of women to combat discrimination against women and girls, focusing in particular on matters such as early or forced marriage, sexual violence, equal access to education and equal access to land ownership, inter alia (Mexico)
  • Amend all statutory and customary laws as soon as possible to establish the minimum age of marriage at 18 years, create and implement a comprehensive national plan of action to combat the practice of child marriage and its root causes (Ireland)

Noted Recommendations

  • Prohibit discrimination against persons because of their real or imputed sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, and ensure adequate protection for LGBTI persons, sex workers, and other marginalized group (Canada)

 

Click here for the full list of UPR26 Sexual Rights Recommendations

 

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).