The 19th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will take place at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from April 28 – May 9 2014.
Fourteen countries will be reviewed during the session, including: Norway, Albania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Cote d’Ivoire, Portugal, Bhutan, Dominica, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rica, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar, and Nicaragua.
The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) collaborated with national NGOs and activists in six countries up for review to prepare seven stakeholder submissions:
- MULABI (Costa Rica), report focus: intersex people; transgender people; transvestites; gay and lesbian people; sexual and reproductive health.
- Si jeunesse savait (Democratic Republic of Congo), report focus: abortion; gender-based violence; LGBT rights.
- MiRiDom (Dominica), report focus: LGBT rights; right to non-discrimination; marriage equality; freedom of expression; right to health.
- Ipas, Grupo Estrategico por la Despenalizacion del Aborto Terapeutico en Nicaragua (Nicaragua), report focus: gender-based violence; sexual violence; sexual and reproductive health; maternal mortality; contraception; therapeutic abortion.
- Sex og Politikk (Norway), report focus: rape; sexual violence; sexual and reproductive health and rights; sexuality; gender equality; gender stereotypes; sexuality education.
- Portuguese Family Planning Association (Portugal), report focus: LGBT rights; adoption; medically assisted procreation; sexual orientation; discrimination, and
- Isabel Nunes (Seres) (Portugal), report focus: right to non-discrimination; women living with HIV; female genital mutilation/cutting; human trafficking; sex work; comprehensive sexuality education.
The schedule for the 19th session can be accessed here. The outcome of these reviews will be adopted during the 27th session of the HRC in September 2014.
Sample of sexual rights-related recommendations contained in the reports
- Repeal discriminatory articles of the Criminal Code and other laws or regulations that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and expression.
- Provide LGBTI people with comprehensive, non-discriminatory health care, through strengthened studies and research on the needs of LGBTI people.
- Review the Constitutional Court’s judgment ensuring all young people are able to access sexuality education.
- Amend the Civil Code allowing transgender persons to easily change their name and gender identity.
- Develop a policy for the care for intersex people based on their right to decide freely for themselves their medical treatment options.
Democratic Republic of Congo
- Reject a proposed law to criminalize same-sex sexual practices thereby protecting the rights of LGBTI people.
- Provide human rights training for police, security forces and military officials on greater respect, protection and fulfillment of individuals with diverse sexual orientations and gender identity.
- Revise the Articles 165 and 166 of the Penal Code to legalize abortion as outlined in Article 14 of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women.
- Hold perpetrators of sexual violence, including military officials, accountable for their crimes and ensure survivors of sexual violence have access to accountability mechanisms.
- Criminalize marital rape.
- Establish programs that encourage girls and women to report individual cases of gender-based violence including measures to encourage economic reintegration for victims of violence in reparation and reconstruction initiatives.
- Repeal legal provisions on sexual offences which criminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex and decriminalize sexual activities between consenting adults of the same sex.
- Amend the Marriage Act allowing same-sex marriage or domestic partnership laws to protect the rights of LGBT people to marry and form a family.
- Provide sensitivity training for law enforcement officials on the rights of LGBT people ensuring LGBT people are treated with dignity, with full respect for their human rights.
- Develop a sexual health programme to educate men who have sex with men on the ways in which they can protect themselves from contracting HIV and other STIs.
- Implement strategies and programs to change health care providers’ attitudes toward LGBT patients and men who have sex with men, and also train them in non-discrimination skills.
- Take the necessary legislative measures to reform the criminal law and allow therapeutic abortion in cases of a threat to a woman’s life and health, sexual violence, and birth malformations incompatible with human life.
- Implement the mechanisms necessary to ensure due process of law, in particular, that the Supreme Court of Justice respond with the appropriate urgency when presented with appeals on the unconstitutionality of the Penal Code’s total abortion ban.
- Implement policies outlined in the Comprehensive Law against Violence toward Women (Law 779), which include measures to prevent increases in sexual violence against women, and especially girls.
- Create mechanisms for inter-institutional coordination between the health and justice systems so that victims of any type of violence are guaranteed access to justice in a timely manner.
- Create an inter-institutional record and reliable statistics on the number of treated cases of victims of violence, sexual violence and pregnancies resulting from rape.
- Urgently ratify the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women.
- Increase the national budget to ensure a range of contraceptive methods are available to meet the needs of every Nicaraguan woman and adolescent girl.
- Ensure obligatory sexuality education in the special education system and in primary and secondary schools.
- Ensure that police collect and make use of all forensic information and materials from sexual assault clinics if a case is reported.
- Ensure a post in the national budget for preventative work and follow-up mechanisms for the plan of action for rape and equality.
- Ensure that they primary care structure remains intact, preventing the parting of services to victims of rape and sexual and domestic violence.
- Ensure psychiatric or psychological follow-up services to all survivors of rape for one year, free of charge.
- Change focus on the current criminal laws from the existing focus on presence of violence to a focus of genuine consent.
- Monitor how new sentence provisions for rape are followed up by the courts.
- Approve bill currently under review to prevent marginalization and discrimination against, or exclusion of, LGBT individuals.
- Adapt Medically Assisted Procreation (MAP) law in accordance with regional standards, as to ensure that all individuals have access to MAP, including surrogacy, without discrimination. Integrate specific regulations pertaining to sex workers’ labour rights into the Labour Code by the Ministry of Solidarity, Employment and Social Security.
- Adapt current legislation pertaining to CSE to ensure it is mandatory, aligning it with nationwide strategy to reach all children, with evaluation standards provided by the Education Ministry and its work groups, and with increases to the minimum time allotted for the delivery of CSE.
- Ensure full compliance of government ministries with the Portuguese Parliament resolution no. 39/2010, which urges the adoption of measures to combat the current discrimination against homosexuals and bisexuals in blood collection services.
- Recognize and include women living with HIV in health strategies and develop and implement plans to promote specific actions targeted to women living with HIV considering the development of a National Plan directed to Women living with HIV.
Adoption of UPR Reports: September 2014
The outcome report for each State under Review during UPR19 will be adopted at the 27th session of the Human Rights Council in September 2014. The outcome report indicates which recommendations the State under review will agree to implement. 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 in the lead up to and during this segment of the UPR process.
Stay tuned for more information regarding the 27th session of the HRC, and a full de-brief from the 19th session of the UPR, including a summary of sexual rights-related recommendations received by States under Review.
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. 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).