Sexual Rights at UPR21

Published on février 04, 2015

The 21st session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 19 – 30 January 2015.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR21 including: Kyrgyzstan, Kiribati, Guinea, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Spain, Lesotho, Kenya, Armenia, Guinea-Bissau, Sweden, Grenada, Turkey, Guyana, and Kuwait.

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


Adoption of UPR Outcomes: June 2015

The UPR outcomes of all fourteen countries will be adopted at the 29th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) in June 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 29th session of the HRC in June 2015 is the only opportunity for civil society to make an oral statement on the human rights situation of the States reviewed during UPR 21. 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 June 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 UPR21. Click here for the full list of recommendations made related to sexual rights, including State responses to date.



Accepted Recommendations

  • Ensure that national legislation conforms to international human rights standards on non-discrimination, particularly concerning sexual orientation and gender identity [and] gender … (Brazil)
  • Take further legislative and practical measures to end violence against women, including the phenomenon of bride kidnapping as well as early and forced marriage (Austria)

Rejected Recommendations

  • Withdraw the draft law on “formation of positive attitude to non-traditional sexual relations’’ and develop and implement comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, in close cooperation with civil society (Austria)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Decriminalize homosexuality and sign the Joint Declaration of the United Nations General Assembly of 18 December 2008 regarding human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity (France)
  • Amend its Constitution to include sex, gender and disability as grounds for non-discrimination (Israel)
  • Reinforce its policies and develop specific programs aimed at preventing and effectively responding to domestic violence against women, including cases of rape within the family (Brazil)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Adopt a comprehensive strategy to fight against female genital mutilation, including the punishment of its perpetrators, educational and awareness-raising programmes as well as medical support to women and girls affected (Czech Republic)
  • Decriminalize all homosexual activities and not to adopt any discriminatory measures against people on the basis of their sexual orientation (Italy)
  • Prevent and punish all forms of violence against women, including the criminalization of marital rape and domestic violence (Portugal)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Continue to provide effective protection for the family, as the natural and fundamental unit of society (Egypt)
  • Establish legislation which penalizes early marriage, adopting appropriate measures towards its elimination (Chile)
  • Adopt a law to combat human trafficking, sexual exploitation, as well as to ensure victim rehabilitation (Lebanon)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Put forward extensive efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination against women, including enforcement of the age of marriage set out in law as well as the development of comprehensive awareness-raising programs on the negative implications of early marriage (Republic of Korea)
  • Develop and adopt suitable legislative and administrative measures to combat discrimination against women, and discrimination and violence against LGBTI persons (Argentina)
  • Take up the processing and approval of the draft law on gender violence, with a view to provide victims with mechanisms of protection and effective reparation (Spain)



Accepted Recommendations

  • That Lesotho seeks to increase access to affordable contraceptive methods and anti-retroviral treatment and to promote education on sexual and reproductive health (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Provide effective institutional mechanisms that duly protect girls against sexual abuses and effectively prevent early and forced marriage (Chile)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Offer comprehensive sexuality education and ensure access to sexual and reproductive health services, including legal and safe abortion (Slovenia) Rejected Recommendations Repeal all provisions of law criminalising sexual activity between consenting adults (Australia)
  • Lift the reservation on Article 2 of the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women; review and repeal all sections of the Constitution and other remaining discriminatory provisions that allow discrimination based on gender; and include in the Constitution, and/or other appropriate legislation, prohibition of both direct and indirect discrimination on grounds of gender (Ireland)



Accepted Recommendations

Implement existing laws to prosecute sexual and gender-based violence, in particular female genital mutilation as well as domestic violence, and to address legal gaps and other deficiencies in measures to combat sexual and gender-based violence effectively (Germany)

Take measures to enforce the criminalization of female genital mutilation, ensuring that offenders are prosecuted and punished in accordance with the law, as well as re-enforcing public education and awareness-raising programmes aimed at eliminating this practice (Ireland)

Take measures to prevent child, early and forced marriages including through awareness raising campaigns and measures for the monitoring of the implementation of existing legislation and by promoting the enrollment of girls in schools (Canada)



Accepted Recommendations

  • Intensify its efforts to improve health infrastructure as well as the quality and delivery of health services, including access to reproductive health information and contraceptives for women in marginalized areas (Thailand)
  • Implement fully the Prohibition of Female Genital Mutilation Act of 2011 and the review of the policy on female genital mutilation (Poland)

Rejected Recommendations

  • Ensure that women have access to legal and safe abortion, especially in cases of pregnancy resulting from rape or incest (Slovenia)
  • Decriminalize consensual same sex conduct between adults (Denmark)
  • Strengthen the efforts to respect and protect women’s rights and gender equality. This includes an effective implementation of an inter-sectorial policy and action plan on reproductive and sexual health and rights and prevention of violence against women (Finland)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen its protection program against sexual and sexist violence, with a focus on the availability, accessibility and quality of protection measures, and ensure the full enjoyment of sexual and reproductive rights (Switzerland)
  • Consider incorporating sexual and reproductive health education into the school curriculum (Slovenia)
  • Adopt a new bill amending the Criminal Code on the issues of gender-based violence, human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced marriage (Ukraine)



Deferred Recommendations

  • Review the legislation criminalizing abortion and amend it so that abortion is no longer a criminal offence (Slovenia)
  • Take all necessary measures to guarantee that LGBT individuals do not face persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including by decriminalizing same-sex practices in the country (Brazil)
  • Improve sexual and reproductive health services for women and girls, by enhancing access to contraceptives and promoting education on sexual and reproductive health, in order to prevent early pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections and diseases, especially HIV/AIDS (Thailand)
  • Strengthen its national policy on HIV/AIDS and ensure that young people are educated and engaged about safe sex and reproductive health practices (Trinidad and Tobago)



Accepted Recommendations

  • Be proactive in its measures to prevent discrimination against immigrant, refugee and minority women who continue to suffer from multiple forms of discrimination, and to combat violence against them (Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Rejected Recommendations

  • Provide protection for the family unit as the natural and fundamental unit of society (Egypt)



  • Take as soon as possible the necessary legislative and political measures to end early and forced marriages (Belgium)
  • Ensure in practice that all women are able to exercise their legal right to a safe abortion, without discrimination of any kind (Slovenia)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Strengthen anti-hate and anti-discrimination legislation in the Turkish Penal Code, specifically Article 122, by prohibiting hate crimes and discrimination based on sexual orientation (Canada)
  • Focus on the overall implementation of its non-discriminatory provisions and to extend them to include the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The implementation of overall anti- discrimination policies in Turkey should include all forms of discrimination (Finland)



Accepted Recommendations

  • Continue its effort in eliminating discrimination against LGBT starting with the review of its related legislation (Thailand)
  • Improve access to age-appropriate HIV, sexual and reproductive health services especially among adolescents. (Trinidad and Tobago)
  • Increase access to affordable contraceptive methods throughout the country, include comprehensive sexuality education in school curricula, and provide adequate and effective sexual and reproductive health services, including to adolescents (Slovenia)

Deferred Recommendations

  • Repeal all provisions that discriminate against persons on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, particularly those which criminalise consensual adult same-sex relations (Ireland)



Deferred Recommendations

  • 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)
  • On LGBT: stop arresting individuals based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or appearance and repeal legislative measures that criminalize consensual homosexual conduct (Iceland)
  • Adopt specific legislation criminalizing acts of domestic and sexual violence, including marital rape, investigate the incidents and ensure adequate remedies for victims (Slovenia)
  • Strengthen its efforts in order to end discrimination against women, especially by revising the Personal Status Law and granting women the right to confer their nationality (Germany)


Click here for the full list of UPR21 Sexual Rights Recommendations