UPR18: sexual rights-related outcomes

Published on February 20, 2014

The 18th session of the Universal Periodic Review was held at the Human Rights Council from January 27 – February 7 2014. Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR 18: Afghanistan, Cambodia, Chile, Comoros, Cyprus, Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Macedonia, New Zealand, Slovakia, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Viet Nam, and Yemen. The outcome reports of these reviews will be adopted at the next Human Rights Council session in June 2014.

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

During each country’s review, States made several recommendations regarding sexual and reproductive rights which are testament to the excellent submissions and advocacy by sexual and reproductive rights advocates from a variety of organizations and coalitions. Sexual and reproductive rights recommendations included those related to: female genital mutilation, discrimination and violence against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, early and forced marriage, access to abortion, non-discrimination against marginalized groups particularly with regards to health care and education, access to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services, including HIV services, among others.

Country highlights from UPR18



  • Revise the legislation on child marriage and the legal age of marriage so as to be consistent with international standards, with the aim of both harmonizing the legal framework by eliminating the co-existence of different prescriptions in Civil Law and in Shari’a regulations and preventing the practice of early and forced marriages (Italy) Rejected:
  • Abolish the practice of prosecuting women for “moral crimes” (New Zealand)
  • Ensure non-discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and repeal the provisions of the penal code which criminalise sexual relation between consenting adults of the same sex (Norway) Deferred Repeal article 398 of the Afghan Penal Code with a view to ensuring full accountability for the perpetrators of so called honour killings (Poland)




  • Implement all measures, including national awareness-raising campaigns, and efforts aimed at amending or eliminating patriarchal attitudes and stereotypes discriminating against women, including those based on the Chbab Srey (Uruguay)


  • Provide in accordance with its obligations under international human rights law, effective protection for the family as the fundamental and natural unit of society (Egypt)
  • Provide free treatment to women and men living with HIV/AIDS to prevent mother-child transmission (Uruguay)
  • Step up information on sexual and reproductive health, including modern contraceptive methods, in particular for women living in rural areas (Uruguay)




  • Review its Penal Code, namely article 373, and other laws in order to prevent discrimination against LGBTI persons (Czech Republic)
  • Protect the right to family being the natural and fundamental group of society based upon the stable relationship between a woman and a man (Bangladesh)
  • Make sure that adequate information on family planning and the regulation of fertility is publicly available (Finland)
  • Repeal all laws criminalizing women and girls for abortion, and take all necessary measures to ensure safe and legal abortion in case of rape or incest and in case of serious danger for the health of women (Belgium)
  • Take steps to strengthen and protect women’s sexual and reproductive rights in line with CEDAW’s recommendations, review national legislation on abortion and enforce national legislation with regard to access to birth control (Norway)




  • Continue the reforms in the area of women’s rights, including regarding patrimonial status and particularly regarding forced and underage marriages (Cape Verde)
  • Enhance cooperation with the relevant United Nation organizations to continue the efforts to reduce maternal and child mortality and improve the access of children to health care (Qatar)


  • Prohibit, by law, all forms of violence against children, including corporal punishment, as well as the establishment of a minimum legal age for marriage (Portugal)


  • Repeal all provisions giving rise to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity and ensure respect for fundamental freedoms for all citizens (France)




  • Criminalize public incitement of acts against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
  • Enact legislation to recognize civil partnership and amend the Criminal Code to explicitly prohibit incitement to hatred, violence or discrimination against persons on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity (Ireland)


Dominican Republic


  • Adopt legislation to protect LGBT persons against gender-based violence and discrimination (Netherlands)
  • Strengthen the National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Maternal Mortality 2012-2016 and the National Plan for the Prevention of Adolescent Pregnancy (Colombia)
  • Guarantee full and effective recognition of sexual and reproductive rights (France)
  • Continue its efforts with a view to adopting HIV/AIDS care programs, including support services and effective prevention campaigns (Chile)




  • Continue to make its best efforts to abolish all types of discriminatory practices against women and children, which notably includes FGM, early marriage and domestic violence (Republic of Korea)
  • Launch a national dialogue, as well as a campaign through media and in the school, to tackle all forms of discriminations against LGBT persons (Italy)
  • Intensify its efforts to protect women from domestic and sexual violence and to ensure that acts of such violence are fully investigated and those responsible held accountable (Lithuania)




  • Immediately step up its efforts to eliminate all forms of discrimination based on ethnic origin, religion, gender and sexual orientation (Switzerland)
  • Adopt measures to raise awareness to prevent incidents of child, early and forced marriage and take steps to investigate and prosecute any cases thereof (Canada)


New Zealand


  • Continue to strengthen measures and plans to address and effectively eradicate the causes of domestic violence against women, including training and capacity building programmes on human rights for civil servants of the State that address this issue (Chile)
  • Provide, in accordance with its obligations under international human rights law instruments, effective protection for the family as the fundamental and natural unit of society (Egypt)




  • Adopt a comprehensive program on sexual and reproductive health and rights, based on international human rights and WHO standards, and to involve non-governmental organizations working on women’s rights and on reproductive rights in the preparation and implementation of this program (Netherlands)
  • Increase access to contraceptive methods for all women as required by the CESCR (Belgium)
  • Maintain the protection of the right to life from conception to natural death following article 15 of the Slovak Constitution that states: “Human life is worthy of protection even prior to birth (Holy See)
  • Ensure women’s access to quality sexual education as well as to condoms and other means necessary for the practice of an informed and responsible sexual health (Mexico)




  • Adopt necessary legislative and administrative measures to guarantee the security of LGBT persons and facilitate their access to justice and legal assistance (Norway)
  • Strengthen measures to combat discrimination against women and ensure that additional special measures are taken to effectively empower women, in particular, women of African descent (Botswana)
  • Continue innovative education programs recognizing sexual diversity and to adopt a health policy that further enhances awareness on and sensitizing of sexual orientation and gender issues amongst health personnel (Netherlands)
  • Strengthen its efforts to address domestic violence through appropriate public awareness campaigns and by ensuring that women are made aware of their rights (Canada)


  • Ensure the protection of and right to family life on the premise that family is the natural and fundamental group of society based upon the stable relationship between a man and a woman (Bangladesh)




  • Take all measures to implement the Family Protection Act of 2008 and train the police specifically to receive complaints from women on violence perpetrated against them by their partners or spouses (France)
  • Continue addressing the HIV/AIDS impact on women and children, in particular the mother-to-child transmission (Thailand)


Viet Nam


  • Enact a law to fight against discrimination which guarantees the equality of all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity (Chile)
  • Provide, in accordance with its obligations under international human rights instruments, effective protection for the family as the fundamental and natural unit of society (Egypt)
  • Exert greater efforts to further reduce the child mortality rate (Ethiopia)
  • Continue efforts to adopt the requisite measures to enable people with disabilities, especially children, to have access to the necessary education and health care, and to combat any discrimination against them (Libya)




  • Revise the Law on marriage so that women and men are treated with equality in the state of marriage (Chad)
  • Amended the Personal Status Law, so that it is in conformity with international standards, that protection of women from domestic violence and investigations of violence within families be ensured, and forced marriage be prohibited in all cases (Czech Republic)
  • Take effective action to end gender-based discriminations, to ensure full protection of women’s right, including by ending harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM), and to criminalize domestic violence, including sexual abuse and martial rape (Germany)


  • Become party to the Optional Protocol of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (Australia)


adoption of UPR Reports June 2014

The outcome report for each State under Review during UPR18 will be adopted at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council in June 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 during this segment of the UPR process.


Read the SRI & IPPF’s UPR Toolkit for Sexual Rights advocates. You can access it here English, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Arabic.


more info about the UPR

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).