Sexual Rights Recommendations at UPR35

Published on февраля 21, 2020

The 35th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held in Geneva, from January 20 to January 31, 2020.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR35: Armenia, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Kenya, Kiribari, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People's Democratic Republic, Lesotho, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, 

Adoption of UPR Outcomes: June 2020

The UPR outcome for each State reviewed during UPR35 will be adopted at the 44th session of the HRC (June 2020). 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 sexual rights related highlights from each UPR35 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 UPR35 Sexual Rights Recommendations

Armenia

Deferred Recommendations

  • Ratify the Istanbul Convention and fight the practice of selective abortions (France);
  • Enhance women’s access to basic health care and sexual and reproductive health services (Estonia);
  • Introduce comprehensive and evidence-based sexuality education in Armenian schools (Iceland);
  • Continue enhancing women's access to basic health care and sexual and reproductive health services, in particular for rural women (India);
  • Amend the criminal code to include homophobia and transphobia as an aggravating criminal circumstance (Malta);
  • Adopt measures to tackle discrimination against HIV-positive individuals in the healthcare system, and take steps to make treatment more accessible in the regions (Norway);

    Grenada

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Adopt legal and regulatory measures to ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health services without restrictions in terms of marital status, age and third party-authorization requirements (Portugal);
    • Decriminalize abortion in all circumstances and remove legal, administrative and practical barriers to accessing safe and legal abortion services (Iceland);
    • Ensure comprehensive sexuality education in the school curriculum, in order to spread awareness regarding young people’s sexual rights as well as knowledge of initiatives targeting domestic violence (Denmark);
    • Ensure the full implementation of new legislation passed to criminalize rape and other forms of sexual abuse, including child abuse (Ghana);
    • Remove from the national legislation the criminalization of sexual relations between adults of the same sex; incorporate the prohibition of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and adopt the necessary measures to guarantee LGBTI people full enjoyment of their human rights, with special emphasis on access to health and social security (Mexico);

    Guinea

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Publicly announce a timeline to hold trials for those responsible for the 2009 Conakry stadium massacre and rape of more than 100 women and girls (United States of America);
    • Guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services (Spain);
    • Improve women’s access to sexual and obstetric health-care services in order to prevent and combat maternal mortality (Angola);
    • Criminalise all forms of sexual and gender-based violence, including marital rape (Australia);
    • Step up the fight against discrimination and violence against women, including marital rape and practices which are harmful to women such as polygamy, child marriage, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation (Brazil);

    Guinea-Bissau

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services (Ukraine);
    • Ensure the decentralization of sexual and reproductive services at the local level, including through the broadening of protection services of the Ministry of Health, Family and Social Cohesion in all regions of the country, and ensure that the providers of these services have the necessary qualifications to respond to cases of female genital mutilation and other forms of gender violence (Uruguay);
    • Strengthen measures to safeguard the right to health of its citizens, particularly in the areas of maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, and healthcare for people living with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria (Lesotho);
    • Ensure that perpetrators of gender-based violence, including female genital mutilation, early or forced marriage and rape, are systematically brought to justice in fair trials (France);
    • Effectively implement gender equality laws and policies protecting women's rights including by engaging in outreach and education to change discriminatory and harmful traditional norms, stereotypes and practices, such as those concerning child, early and forced marriage; female genital mutilation and physical, psychological and sexual violence against women (Ireland);

    Guyana

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Provide accessible sexual and reproductive health services in line with existing laws, including through education and awareness programs to address the root causes of adolescent pregnancy and new infections of HIV and STIs (Botswana);
    • Ensure access to contraceptives and safe, timely abortion services in order to guarantee sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, in line with existing legislation (Iceland);
    • Revise and strengthen the Health and Family Life Education program and its delivery to include comprehensive sexuality education, in line with international guidelines and best practices (Fiji);
    • Ensure that sexual and reproductive health services, including abortion and contraception services and information, are available, accessible and affordable to all women and girls, especially in rural areas and among vulnerable groups (Denmark);
    • Continue taking all necessary measures to guarantee LGBTI people the full enjoyment, on equal terms, of their human rights, repealing the norms that penalize and stigmatize them, investigating and punishing cases of violence or discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Argentina);
    • Implement the 2018 ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice regarding the unconstitutionality of the law banning cross-dressing (Canada);

    Kenya

    Accepted Recommendations

    • Redouble efforts to provide training to medical, security and justice professionals on the application of its criminal law punishing harmful practices such as child, early and forced marriage; female genital mutilation; and girl “beading” (Brazil);
    • Develop and adopt appropriate legislative and administrative measures to combat discrimination against women as well as discrimination and violence against LGBTI people (Argentina);
    • Review all legal, policy and structural barriers that impede the provision of sexual and reproductive health services, in particular against adolescent girls, young women and members of key populations more vulnerable to HIV, and implement comprehensive human rights-based programmes in this area (Portugal);

    Noted Recommendations

    • Enact a Reproductive Health Law to provide a human rights-based legal framework for young people’s sexual and reproductive health (Malta);
    • Immediately implement the High Court judgement in Petition No. 266 of 2015 by reinstating the Standards and Guidelines on Reducing Maternal Mortality and Morbidity related to unsafe abortion and the Training Curriculum for medical professionals in public hospitals (Netherlands);
    • Adopt and implement curricula on age-appropriate comprehensive sexuality education, including information about issues of violence, that is provided throughout schooling (Iceland);
    • Eliminate harmful practices against women and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexual education for all women and girls (Estonia).

    Kiribati

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Amend articles 150 and 152 of the Criminal Code with the aim of decriminalizing the voluntary termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest, serious malformation of the foetus or risks for the mother’s life (Mexico);
    • Ensure adequate resources are allocated for sexual and reproductive health services, particularly which target adolescents, in order to stem the high incidence of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections among young people (Bahamas);
    • Revise the Family Life Education curriculum to bring it in line with the updated UN Technical Guidelines on Sexuality Education and ensure the necessary resources and training for its full and effective implementation in schools (Fiji);
    • Incorporate a comprehensive approach to sexual and reproductive health into the next National Development Plan for 2021–2025, including family planning programmes that are accessible to all, and allocate sufficient resources in the annual budget to ensure effective delivery (Malaysia);
    • Implement national media campaigns, training for state officials, and education programmes in all schools to eliminate gender stereotypes and negative social norms that are root causes of gender-based discrimination and violence (Iceland);

    Kuwait

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Define as crimes domestic violence, sexual violence and marital rape, with penalties proportional to the seriousness of these offences (Chile);
    • Guarantee personal autonomy and individual rights, as enshrined in the Constitution, by a prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, as well as by allowing a medical gender change to be reflected in a person’s identity documents (Netherlands);
    • Strengthen women’s rights by amending the Nationality Law to ensure Kuwaiti women have equal rights with men to transmit citizenship, and by beginning data collection on gender-based violence and ensuring access to justice for all victims, to include domestic workers (United States of America);

    Kyrgyzstan

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Adopt a comprehensive anti-discrimination legal framework which includes, inter alia, the prohibition of all forms of direct and indirect discrimination against women, of racial discrimination as well as of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and provides for special measures to promote equal opportunities and address structural discrimination (Portugal);
    • Remove barriers faced by adolescents and unmarried youth in accessing sexual and reproductive health services including contraception, and to address misconception and biases about their sexuality, so that the 2015 Law on Reproductive Health and Rights can be duly implemented in practice (Iceland);
    • Reduce rates of maternal, infant and child mortality by ensuring funding for the programmes, facilitating access to health care institutions and to qualified medical staff and improving access to family planning (Algeria);
    • Adopt legislation criminalizing marital rape and take effective measures to end the practice of bride kidnapping (Namibia);

    Lao People's Democratic Republic

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Continue to strengthen national and sub-national resource allocations to develop and maintain an enabling environment for young people, women and men, and those living in remote areas to access quality sexual and reproductive health and family services (Fiji);
    • Address barriers preventing women and girls to access sexual and reproductive health services as made available by the 2016 Guidelines on the prevention of unsafe abortions (Iceland);
    • Legalize abortion in cases of risk to the health of the pregnant woman, rape, incest or severe fetal impairment and decriminalize abortion in all other cases (Estonia);
    • Ensure that all women and girls have access to appropriate sexual and reproductive health services, and implement policies, including awareness raising, to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (Norway);

    Lesotho

    Accepted Recommendations

    • Design a National Plan to guarantee access to health services, containing the sexual and reproductive health, including for people with disabilities, women, girls, and teenagers (Mexico);
    • Adopt norms that will guarantee to LGBTI persons the full enjoyment of their rights on the basis of equality in all spheres, combatting discrimination and negative stereotypes that still exists in the society (Argentina);
    • Run information and awareness-building campaigns to combat stigmatization relating to menstruation (Costa Rica);
    • Continue the policy to include hygiene and menstrual hygiene management as part of national policy (Spain);

    Noted Recommendations

    • Implement legal reforms to protect the human rights of all persons irrespective of their sexual orientation and gender identity (Germany);
    • Amend or repeal section 18(4)(c) of the Constitution of Lesotho, which allows for discrimination against women with respect to adoption, marriage, divorce, burial, and devolution of property on death (Canada);

    Spain

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Establish a mechanism to ensure that women’s access to sexual and reproductive health services is not impeded by refusals to provide abortion services on the grounds of conscience (Iceland);
    • Ensure effectively the accessibility of sexual and reproductive health services for all women, in particular adolescents (Angola);
    • Include comprehensive sexual education in the school curriculum (Denmark);
    • Continue to strengthen efforts to curb the high number of deaths of women as a result of violence committed by partners or former partners (Australia);
    • Strengthen efforts to identify, prevent and provide protection from multiple forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities, in particular women and girls with intellectual or psychosocial disabilities, and allocate adequate resources to support those efforts (Fiji);

    Sweden

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Protect children’s right to bodily integrity, autonomy and self-determination by ensuring, by legislation or otherwise, that non-vital surgical or other medical procedures on intersex infants are not performed before they are able to provide their informed consent (Malta);
    • Commission a State Public Report with the mandate to investigate the legal possibility to introduce a third legal gender, towards increased recognition of self-defined gender identity of each person (Malta);
    • Facilitate the legal registration of the self-defined gender identity of transgender persons by detaching the change of legal gender from requirements on mandatory medical assessments or procedures (Netherlands);
    • Ensure equal access to sexual and reproductive health services, especially for asylum seekers, undocumented persons, Roma and persons belonging to other vulnerable groups (Peru);
    • Effectively apply the principle of non-refoulement when there is risk to life, liberty or personal integrity of the asylum seeker, especially in cases of children, girls and adolescents and LGBTI persons (Mexico);

    Turkey

    Deferred Recommendations

    • Adopt comprehensive reforms towards redressing gender justice and inequalities (Sierra Leone);
    • Uphold the Law on Assemblies and Demonstrations to limit arbitrary restrictions on freedom of assembly, including on peaceful gatherings by the LGBTI community, women’s rights organizations, and opposition parties (Canada);
    • Develop an evidence-based comprehensive sexuality education curriculum based on human rights principles (Iceland);
    • Eliminate references to crimes called "honor" in the Criminal Code, and strengthen measures to eradicate discriminatory stereotypes regarding women, and their role in the family and society (Ecuador);
    • Improve access to sexual and reproductive health services especially for Kurdish women and other minority women, and for women living in rural and remote areas and avoid early and unwanted pregnancies (India);

    Click here for the full list of UPR35 Sexual Rights Recommendations