Country Responses to UPR28 Recommendations

Published on November 23, 2017

The 28th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 6-17 November 2017.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR28: Argentina, Benin, Czechia, Gabon, Ghana, Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Peru, Republic of Korea, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Ukraine, and Zambia.

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

 

The UPR outcome for each State reviewed during UPR28 will be adopted at the 37th session of the HRC (March 2018). 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 UPR28 review. Click here for the full list of recommendations made related to sexual rights, including State responses to date.

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and ensure that women and girls can access safe and legal abortion (Iceland)
  • Enact pending legislation that would provide women legal access to fulsome reproductive health services, including comprehensive sexuality education, family planning, prevention and response to sexual and gender-based violence, safe and legal abortion, as well as post-abortion care (Canada)
  • Grant ministerial rank to the National Council for Women (Paraguay)
  • Implement effectively the legislation on violence against women to combat misogynous stereotypes, discrimination and violence (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Adopt a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health policy for adolescents (Iceland)
  • Fully fund implementation of the new national plan to combat HIV-related stigmatisation and discrimination (South Africa)
  • Ensure that sexual and reproductive health education is mandatory for all adolescents, irrespectively of their gender (Portugal)
  • Implement a coordination strategy between the heath and justice authorities to prevent and punish acts of female genital mutilation (Mexico)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Adopt a law on the rights of patients, including women’s rights in the field of reproductive health, and organize the training of personnel involved in the supervision of reproductive health services in order to preserve the fundamental rights of women and girls in the area of obstetrics and gynecological health care (Albania)
  • Put an end to surgical castration of detained perpetrators of sexual crimes, which is equivalent to degrading treatment under international law (Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela)
  • Abolish the practice of sterilization of persons with disabilities without their free and informed consent (Timor-Leste)
  • Address the large wage gap between men and women and prohibit the termination of employment of women upon their return from maternity leave (Egypt)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Fast-track the implementation of Acts No 09/22015 and 010/2016, on setting quotas for Women’s access to senior civil service posts and on combating harassment in the work place, respectively (Namibia)
  • Provide free legal aid to women without sufficient means in order to facilitate their access to justice (Sierra Leone)
  • Develop the necessary legislation to criminalize all forms of human trafficking especially for sexual exploitation, forced labour or slavery (Iraq)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Pass the Affirmative Action Bill speedily to allow the increase of women presentation in political offices (South Africa)
  • Increase government spending on education and in the fight against AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (Iraq)
  • Endow the competent authorities with more resources to apply the law that sanctions female genital mutilation in particular in the most isolated areas (Chile)
  • Develop a strategy and an operational National Action Plan to combat child marriage (Hungary)

Noted Recommendations

  • Decriminalize same-sex sexual relations and adopt measures to put an end to discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons (Honduras)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Ensure the inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in all policies and programs on equality and gender discrimination (Paraguay)
  • Allocate sufficient resources to specialized courts and tribunals with jurisdiction over femicide and other forms of violence against women as well as move towards the full implementation of the Law against Femicide and Other Forms of Violence against Women (Spain)
  • Promote large scale registration campaigns for women voters, in particular in rural areas, and notably for indigenous women, with a view to ensuring their full participation in the political and public life (Haiti)

Noted Recommendations

  • Amend the Criminal Code to penalise hate crimes and crimes of social intolerance based on sexual orientation, gender identity and sexual characteristics (Slovenia)
  • Decriminalize and eliminate all punitive measures related to termination of pregnancies in cases of rape, incest and severe foetal impairment (Denmark)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Implement comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation to protect and promote the rights of LGBTI persons (United States of America)
  • Face up to and reflect on history, sincerely apologize on the issue of “comfort women”, make compensations to the victims, and ensure the right of the public to information in this regard (China)
  • Enact legislation to ensure equal pay for equal work to both men and women in order to maintain gender parity and prevent discrimination based on gender (India)
  • Protect women from sexual violence by expanding the scope of the anti-domestic violence law to other situations than cohabitant couples and by explicitly criminalizing marital rape (Belgium)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Fully and without delay, implement the Anti-honour Killing Law, which resolved an ambiguity that had allowed perpetrators to be pardoned by relatives of the victim (Croatia)
  • Adopt legislative measures to decriminalize homosexuality and consensual sexual relations between people of the same sex (Chile)
  • Launch governmental programmes to raise the awareness of women on their constitutionally guaranteed rights (Bahrain)
  • Enact legislation on domestic violence in all provinces (Sweden)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Enact legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Slovenia)
  • Systematically collect and analyse data on the prevalence of violence perpetrated against persons, because of their real or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity (Belgium)
  • Decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and ensure that women and girls can access safe and legal abortion, and guarantee access to medical services for survivors of sexual violence (Iceland)
  • Provide an adequate budget for emergency centers for women victims of violence so they can carry out their mandate (Guatemala)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Criminalize marital rape (Honduras)
  • Stop the discriminatory approach that requires only foreign workers in various sectors to mandatorily undergo HIV/AIDS testing, which is not required for Korean nationals (India)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen legal framework to protect people belonging to the LGBTI community, avoiding practices, known as conversion therapies in state premises (Uruguay)
  • Remove all penalties for women who seek abortion, and for doctors and other medical personnel involved in providing these services (Netherlands)
  • Investigate into cases of forced sterilisation of women with disabilities (Russian Federation)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Establish a disaggregated database on women heads of households to be used uniformly in welfare and resettlement policies and programmes, including to ensure that women heads of households and internally displaced persons have targeted psychosocial and livelihood assistance, as well as adequate and durable access to housing (Finland)
  • Repeal domestic legislation that discriminates against women, including on rights to succession to land permits and grants, and the disposal of immovable property, as well as to address obstacles to equal participation of women in political, economic and public life (Namibia)

Noted Recommendations

  • Decriminalize same-sex relations and take concrete measures to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI community (Brazil)
  • Adopt specific legislation that explicitly prohibits domestic violence, including marital rape, and ensure its stringent implementation and enforcement (Slovenia)

Voluntary Commitments

  • Increase the number of and strengthen women and children’s desks of the Children and Women’s Bureau of the Sri Lanka Police to ensure a gender responsive justice system.
  • Ensure and strengthen respect for fundamental rights of all persons, including those from the LGBTIQ community, and address concerns raised in that regard.

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Provide training to security forces, prosecutors, judges, and social workers, to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Israel)
  • Eliminate the gender wage gap, and ensure an equal salary for men and women for the same work (Lebanon)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Introduce specific legislation prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity or intersex status (Australia)
  • Adopt legislation allowing for paternity leave (Moldova)

Noted Recommendations

  • Adopt a policy and an action plan at the federal level to combat discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons, and in particular include them in national surveys on suicides (Honduras)

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Bring the Criminal Code provisions on sexual violence in line with international standards, ensure accountability for conflict-related sexual crimes and provide victims with adequate support and rehabilitation (Moldova)
  • Provide adequate capacity-building programmes for judges, prosecutors and law enforcement officials to better implement laws criminalizing violence against women and better assist and protect women victims of violence (Thailand)
  • Recognise civil unions between people of the same sex as a first step in the fight against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (Spain)

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Develop adolescent-sensitive and confidential counselling services, in the area of sexual and reproductive health care and information, with particular regard to adolescent girls (Portugal)
  • Ensure that access to HIV treatment is accessible to all who need it without any discrimination (Chile)
  • Do not further liberalize abortion and instead implement laws aimed at protecting the right to life of the unborn, recognizing that life starts at conception, and further, affirm that there is no international right to abortion (Kenya)

Noted Recommendations

  • Modify its national and customary laws in order to prevent child, early and forced marriage (Sierra Leone)
  • Review and repeal the legislation that criminalizes consensual sexual behaviour between people of the same sex; and prohibit degrading practices imposed on people of the LGBTI community, such as forced anal examinations (Uruguay)