Wrap-up: Sexual Rights at UPR22

Published on May 28, 2015

The 22nd session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 4 – 21 May 2015.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR22 including: Andorra, Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Honduras, Jamaica, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Mongolia, Panama, and the United States of America.

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

 

The UPR outcomes of all fourteen countries will be adopted at the 30th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in September 2015. The outcome of each country’s review indicates which recommendations the State accepts or supports, and contains its responses to any other recommendations. The adoption of UPR outcomes during the 30th session of the HRC in September 2015 is the only opportunity for civil society to make an oral statement on the human rights situation of the States reviewed during UPR 22. The SRI, in collaboration with partners and allies, will work to ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are visible during this part of the UPR process.

Between now and September 2015, there is an opportunity to engage in dialogue with States regarding the recommendations received, and to advocate for the acceptance of relevant recommendations. It is also an opportunity to gain the support of the media and the general public. Below are some highlights from each country’s review during UPR22. 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 UPR22 Sexual Rights Recommendations

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Amend legislation in order to decriminalize abortion under certain circumstances, such as pregnancies that are the result of rape. [France]
  • Continue to ensure strong legislative protections for children, including by increasing the minimum age of marriage to 18. [Australia]
  • Adopt a comprehensive law on gender equality and against discrimination, consistent with CEDAW. [Nicaragua]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Enact comprehensive legislation against discrimination to avoid any kind of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity … [Chile]
  • Protect the right to freedom of assembly and association of human rights defenders, in particular those campaigning against discrimination based on sexual orientation. [Canada]
  • Further efforts toward adoption of a comprehensive anti-discrimination law, concerning, in particular, institutive actions to tackle the issue of violence against women. [Serbia]
  • Continue implementing access for all women to reproductive health services and improving the quality of care given. [Bolivia]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Eliminate all forms of child marriage and raise the minimum age of marriage to 18. [Sierra Leone]
  • Take steps to criminalize hate crimes, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, both in law and speech. [Uruguay]
  • Adopt the draft Gender Equality Act and criminalize domestic violence and marital rape. [Brazil]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen the accountability and prosecution of law enforcement officers who commit abuse against LGBT persons and ethnic persons. [Chile]
  • Strengthen human rights protections for LGBT persons, in line with Croatia’s international obligations and commitments as well as with domestic legislation. [United States]
  • Intensify efforts to detect, prevent and combat trafficking in children for sexual and other types of exploitation. [Uruguay]
  • Continue working particularly with regard to protection of the rights of victims of sexual violence and domestic violence, in particular through training of health, police and judicial personnel. [Uruguay]

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Continue with the effective implementation of measures to combat discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, particularly through the implementation of differentiated approaches to guarantee the enjoyment of the rights of LGBTI persons. [Colombia]

Deferred Recommendations

  • Take additional steps to guarantee equal access for women to appropriate health services, especially sexual and reproductive health services, and ratify the OP-CEDAW. [Germany]
  • Align the Penal Code with the Code of Medical Ethics and that Honduras considers to legalize abortion in case of rape or incest. [Norway]
  • Adopt a law on gender identity allowing legal recognition in the national register of persons in accordance with their sexual orientation and image of the persons concerned. [Madagascar]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Adopt concrete measures to implement the national strategic plan to eliminate gender-based violence as announced in 2013 and envisage softening legislation towards decriminalisation of abortion, especially in cases of rape. [France]

Rejected Recommendations

  • Decriminalize sexual activity between consenting adults of the same sex, and address hate crimes on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, as matter of urgency, as previously recommended. [Slovenia]
  • Enact anti-discrimination legislation to protect human rights and to ensure equal treatment of people living with HIV and groups vulnerable to HIV, consistent with United Nations International Guidelines on HIV/AIDS and Human Rights. [Norway]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen its efforts in combating sexual violence by adopting a legal framework to address violence against women and by incorporating the principle of equality between women and men into the Constitution. [Timor-Leste]
  • Amend discriminatory provisions based on sexual orientation or gender identity, in particular with regard to equality of access to services and public office. [Uruguay]
  • Repeal 14.74 of the Penal Code and take all necessary legislative and other measures to eliminate discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. [Ireland]
  • Set up a mechanism to fight more effectively discrimination against women, prevent and punish sexual and gender-based violence, ban female genital mutilation and other harmful traditional practices and effectively enforce the ban while stepping up the fight against these practices through public-awareness campaigns. [Czech Republic]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Review all laws and practices that discriminate on the basis of gender and bring them in line with international standards, including legislation with regard to marriage, divorce and inheritance. [Estonia]
  • Continue to strengthen and promote the legal and social status of women through constitutional and legislative guarantees. [Bahrain]
  • Adopt clear and enforceable provisions criminalizing violence against women, including domestic and sexual violence. [Latvia]

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Spare no efforts and resources to provide girls and adolescents of reproductive health and social services to address the problem of teenage pregnancies. [Honduras]
  • Enact the Marriage, Divorce and Family Relations Bill with a view to ending child, early and forced marriage, and other harmful practices, and raise the minimum age of marriage to 18 years. [Sierra Leone]

Deferred Recommendations

  • Implement, as a party to the Maputo protocol, the provisions related to medical abortion in cases of sexual assault, rape, incest and where the continued pregnancy endangers the mental and physical health of the mother or the life of the mother or the foetus. [Norway]

Noted Recommendations

  • Repeal the provisions in the Criminal Code that criminalize consensual same-sex conduct, and any other legislation which discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and bring its legislation in line with Malawi’s obligations under international human rights law. [Netherlands]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen healthcare facilities and enhance access to reproductive health services, especially for adolescents and youth, unmarried women and marginalized and excluded populations such as persons with disabilities. [Thailand]
  • Include specific provisions for the protection of girls in the draft law on the protection of children with a view to preventing child, early and forced marriages, and criminalize attempts to marry persons below the age of 18 years, as well as sexual offences against children. [Belgium]

Rejected Recommendations

  • Guarantee that LGBTI persons have full and equal enjoyment of their human rights by repealing the norms that criminalize and stigmatize them. [Argentina]
  • Banish from its Penal Code the provisions related to … flogging for sexual intercourse outside of marriage … [Albania]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Thoroughly implement the 2014-2016 strategy to prevent adolescent pregnancy, in cooperation with UNFPA. [Portugal]
  • Continue with the current law reform effort to include measures protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. [Israel]
  • Revise the Constitution to add in gender and disability as grounds for which no one may be discriminated against. [Belgium]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • Consider giving special attention to the rights of women and girls with disabilities, including their reproductive rights, the right to be free from violence, to work, to receive education and to participate in decision-making. [Thailand]
  • Continue its efforts in taking practical steps to further reduce the rates of maternal morbidity, particularly in the rural areas. [Singapore]
  • Strengthen efforts to prevent gender-based and domestic violence by criminalizing martial rape and sexual harassment providing victims with access to justice, assistance and protection, and by ensuring that cases are properly investigated and perpetrators duly prosecuted. [Slovenia]
  • Promote equality in the enjoyment of human rights of LGBTI persons incorporating it into national legislation. [Uruguay]

 

Accepted Recommendations

  • Adopt legislation prohibiting acts of discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, and adopt measures to promote the rights of LGBTI people and prevent their discrimination. [Chile]

Rejected Recommendations

  • Adopt a legislative framework for the protection of children, in particular by raising the minimum age of marriage … [France]

 

Deferred Recommendations

  • The removal of blanket restrictions on abortion for US foreign assistance to permit its use for safe abortion in cases of rape, life or health endangerment and incest in countries where abortion is legal. [Norway]
  • Ensure equal access to equality maternal health and related services as an integral part of the realization of women’s rights. [Finland]
  • Heighten efforts to promote non-discrimination of any kind, including discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. [South Africa]
  • Take affirmative steps to ensure that individuals’ religious refusals are regulated to conform with international human rights standards that protect sexual and reproductive rights and the rights to equality and non-discrimination on the basis of sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. [Sweden]

 

Click here for the full list of UPR22 Sexual Rights Recommendations