Sexual Rights at the 40th Universal Periodic Review

Published on March 01, 2022
The 40th working group session of the UPR took place 24 January 2022 - 04 February 2022 and 09 February 2022. Eleven states were reviewed: Togo, Syria, Iceland, Venezuela, Zimbabwe, Lithuania, Uganda, Timor-Leste, Moldova, South Sudan, Haiti, and Sudan, and 935 SRHR recommendations were made. This was the last working group session of the third cycle, and the fourth cycle will commence with the 41st session scheduled for November 2022. SRI will be producing an end of cycle report on the third cycle of the UPR–so keep a look out for it!

Overall there were fewer SRHR recommendations made during the 40th session compared with sessions in 2021, although the average number of SRHR recommendations received per country was slightly higher than the third cycle average of about 76 recommendations per country per session. In this session:

  • Violence against women, sexual/gender based violence (GBV) and domestic violence remained key themes across the countries reviewed, constituting 28% of SRHR recommendations made. This translates to an average of 24 recommendations made per country, which is higher than an average of 22 recommendations per country in the second cycle of these countries (barring Sudan) and than the third cycle average of 20 recommendations per country.
  • Four recommendations  on abortion were made this session by Mexico, the United Kingdom, Argentina and Iceland (Iceland’s recommendation is included in this highlight) compared with three recommendations made during the second cycle review of this cohort by Norway and the Republic of Congo.
  • Six recommendations were made on the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on SRHR. Of those that were made, recommending States focused either on GBV (3), FGM/C (2) and COVID-19, or mentioned it in passing, when speaking about child labour (1).

Click here for the full list of UPR40 Sexual Rights Recommendations

Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela

Deferred:

  • Ensure sexual and reproductive health and rights for all, including maternal and newborn health care and safe abortions. (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Guarantee access to sexual and reproductive health services, including maternal health care, for all women, including those with disabilities. (Finland)
  • Enforce the implementation of the Organization Act on Women's Right to a Life Free of Violence more strictly and to adopt a national plan of action to counteract sexual and gender-based violence, which increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Liechtenstein)

 

Haiti

Deferred:

  • Continue to strengthen efforts to improve access to health care for all, including access to sexual and reproductive health-care services and information. (Fiji)
  • Broaden access to modern contraceptive methods in line with ICPD25 commitment, and to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. (Iceland)
  • Ensure equal protection of LGBT people under Haitian law and guarantee appropriate State protection for LGBT organizations and public events. (Czechia)
  • Continue its efforts to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities, including integrating the rights of women and girls with disabilities into the gender equality legislation as well as into laws and policies on disability. (Viet Nam)

 

Iceland

Deferred:

  • Ratify the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence against Women and Domestic Violence (Istanbul Convention). (Argentina)
  • Ensure equal opportunities for women in the labour market, including by adopting measures on the principle of equal pay for work of equal value. (Cuba)
  • Increase measures to protect foreign women and women with minority backgrounds from sexual and gender-based violence and racial discrimination, including domestic violence, and ensure that victims are provided with adequate legal, medical and psychosocial assistance, regardless of their immigration status. (Serbia)
  • Train law enforcement officers and prosecutors to investigate and prosecute sexual violence crimes. (Syrian Arab Republic)

 

Lithuania

Accepted:

  • Legally recognize same-sex couples and develop legislation facilitating gender reassignment procedures and change of marital status without the need to undergo a gender reassignment surgery. (Spain)
  • Continue its efforts to reduce the gender pay gap. (Latvia)
  • Redouble efforts to combat sexual and gender-based violence against women and girls by criminalizing marital rape, thoroughly investigating and prosecuting acts of violence against women and girls and issuing guidelines for, and provide training to the authorities responsible for handling cases of domestic violence across the country. (Canada)

 

Deferred:

  • Consider the legalization of abortion in cases of rape, incest, threats to life or health of the pregnant woman or serious fetal malformations, and move towards its decriminalization in all other cases, providing women access to safe abortion services. (Argentina)
  • Decriminalize abortion and ensure the right to universal and safe access to sexual and reproductive health services. (Iceland)
  • Continue developing more effective mechanisms for preventing violence against women and children as well as upgrade the efficiency regarding the access to sexual and reproductive health services. (Slovenia)

 

 

Moldova

Deferred:

  • Ensure that the rights of LGBTI+ persons are protected through the effective implementation of Law No. 121, and combat stereotypes and prejudice through awareness-raising campaigns. (Ireland)
  • Adopt additional measures to reduce the incidence of maternal and child mortality, as well as to ensure that all births are registered. (Brazil)
  • Scale up access to comprehensive sexuality education in schools and vocational training institutions in line with ICPD25 commitment. (Iceland)
  • Establish facilities and institutions where victims of intimate partner violence, sexual violence and child sexual abuse can find a safe space and be provided government resources to combat the vicious cycle of dependence. (Marshall Islands)

 

South Sudan

Deferred:

  • Increase efforts to improve health care system, including access to health facilities and other resources for maternal health. (Kenya)
  • Provide age-appropriate sexuality education in all schools by 2025, in line with International Conference on Population and Development 25 commitment. (Iceland)
  • Ensure independent investigation and prosecution of all perpetrators of conflict-related sexual and gender-based violence, irrespective of ranks, and guarantee survivors' right to an effective remedy. (Netherlands)
  • Increase the investment in the health sector with a view to achieve universal health coverage and take measures, including providing human rights training for health personnel, to eliminate all forms of barriers, stigma and discrimination in health settings and create an enabling and safe environment for all, including for persons affected with HIV and key populations. (Portugal)

 

Sudan

Deferred:

  • Reduce direct and preventable maternal mortality by providing maternal and reproductive health services. (Burkina Faso)
  • Reform laws and state legislations that legalize any form of violence or discrimination against women and girls such as provisions regarding male guardianship and wife obedience proclaimed in the Personal Status Law. (Liechtenstein)
  • Take the necessary measures to implement the provisions of the CRPD and restructure public institutions taking into account the situation of women with disabilities.       (Chad)
  • Take measures to foster a safe, respectful and enabling environment for civil society and human rights defenders, especially women HRDs, free from persecution, intimidation and harassment. (Latvia)
  • Carry out impartial investigations into all allegations of ill-treatment, persecution and extrajudicial killings based on sexual orientation or gender identity. (Iceland)

 

Syria

Deferred:

  • Criminalize rape under all circumstances, including marital rape. (Iceland)
  • Reaffirm its commitment to the principles of equality and non-discrimination, including through the prompt decriminalization of same sex sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, taking measures to protect homosexual persons from sexual violence and other serious violations of which they are victims. (Uruguay)
  • End all torture, as well as sexual and gender-based violence in places of detention. (Luxembourg)

 

Timor-Leste

Deferred:

  • Amend its Constitution to include sexual orientation, gender identity and intersex status as prohibited grounds of discrimination. (Mexico)
  • Take measures to strengthen the public health system, including by increasing the availability of sexual and reproductive health information and services, as well as mental health services, adapted to the needs of young people. (Uruguay)
  • Decriminalize abortion and increase the accessibility of sexual reproductive health services in remote areas. (Iceland)
  • Decriminalize the voluntary termination of pregnancy in cases of rape, incest or severe foetal impairment. (Mexico)
  • Criminalize marital rape and incest as distinct crimes. (Luxembourg)

 

Togo

Deferred:

  • Amend the Criminal Code to include a specific definition of domestic violence and to align the penalty prescribed for marital rape with that prescribed for rape in general. (Marshall Islands)
  • Adapt regulations to ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services and comprehensive sexuality education for men, women, girls and boys across the country. (Luxembourg)
  • Ensure universal and safe access to abortion and the right to other sexual and reproductive health services. (Iceland)
  • Ensure that sufficient funds are allocated to HIV/AIDS education programmes in secondary schools, in order to strengthen the prevention of this disease and combat stigma and discrimination, with special attention to adolescents who are in situations of greater vulnerability. (Uruguay)
  • Repeal circular 8478/MEN-RS which prohibits pregnant students from going to school. (Côte d’Ivoire)

 

Uganda

Deferred:

  • Strengthen efforts in the fight against HIV/AIDS, including towards the elimination of remaining stigma and discriminatory attitudes and practices that prevent access to and use of sexual and reproductive health and rights services, including by girls and LGBTI persons. (Portugal)
  • Ensure respect for the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and intersex persons, including by ending the use of forced anal examinations on them. (United States of America)
  • Increase investment in the health system and infrastructure and ensure improvement in the equitable distribution and availability of sexual reproductive health and child care services. (Fiji)
  • Ensure adequate access to family planning and acknowledge women’s and girl’s autonomy over their own bodies. (Norway)
  • Ensure the full operationalisation of the Sexuality Education Framework in schools ensuring access to information on sexual and reproductive health and rights. (Denmark)
  • Provide safe abortion services for women and girls, and legal protection for victims of sexual and gender-based violence. (Iceland)

 

Zimbabwe

Accepted:

  • Continue improving the rights of women and girls by ensuring access to health and ensuring access to information on HIV and reproductive rights. (Eswatini)

Deferred:

  • Protect intersex minors from non-consensual surgeries and violation of bodily integrity. (Iceland)
  • Guarantee persons under 18 the right to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services. (Iceland)

Noted:

  • Adopt the necessary measures to eliminate intersectional forms of discrimination against women and girls with disabilities; against lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and intersex persons. (Chile)
  • Eradicate harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and polygamy. (Ukraine)

 

Click here for the full list of UPR40 Sexual Rights Recommendations

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