Here’s What to Expect at HRC39

Published on August 31, 2018

The 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from September 10-28, 2018. Find below information about anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels and reports, UPR outcomes, and parallel events taking place during the 39th session.

Expected Resolutions Relevant to Sexual Rights

  • Preventable maternal mortality and morbidity and human rights (focus on humanitarian settings) (New Zealand, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Estonia)
  • The right to development (Venezuela on behalf of the Non-Aligned Movement)
  • From rhetoric to reality: a global call for concrete action against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance (Tunisia on behalf of the Group of African States)
  • Cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights (Fiji, Ghana, Hungary, Ireland, Uruguay)
  • Human rights to safe drinking water and sanitation (Germany and Spain)
  • World Programme for Human Rights Education with a focus on youth (Brazil, Costa Rica, Italy, Morocco, Philippines, Slovenia, Thailand)
  • Promoting international cooperation to support national human rights follow-up systems, processes and related mechanisms, and their contribution to the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Brazil and Paraguay)


Sexual Rights Related Panels

Annual discussion on the integration of a gender perspective throughout the work of the Human Rights Council and that of its mechanisms
Theme: Gender integration and human rights investigations: strengthening a victim-centred approach
Click here for the draft concept note

Annual half-day panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples
Theme: Participation and inclusion of indigenous peoples in the development and implementation of strategies and projects in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Click here for the draft concept note


Sexual Rights Related Reports

Report of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences, focus on impact of slavery and servitude on marginalized migrant women in the global domestic economy
Click here to read the report »

Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to development, explores the consequences of inequalities within countries on the enjoyment of the right to development and the impact of inequalities within and between countries within the SDG framework on marginalised groups
Click here to read the report »

Report of the Human Rights Advisory Committee on regional arrangements for the promotion and protection of human rights highlights the need for independence of regional human rights mechanisms and the need to create spaces for meaningful civil society participation
Click here to read the report »

Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the follow up on the application of the technical guidance on the application of a human rights-based approach to the implementation of policies and programmes to reduce preventable maternal mortality and morbidity
Click here to read the report »

Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on youth and human rights provides an overview of the international and regional human rights framework applicable to young people and specifically highlights the challenges and discrimination against youth, including in relation to access to SRH services
Click here to read the report »

Click here for a list of all reports



Outcomes from the 30th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) will be adopted during this session of the HRC. The 30th session of the UPR was held in May 2018.

Fourteen countries were reviewed: Turkmenistan, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Colombia, Uzbekistan, Tuvalu, Germany, Djibouti, Canada, Bangladesh, Russian Federation, Azerbaijan, Cameroon, Cuba.

SRI collaborated with organizations and individuals in preparing five reports for four countries:

SRI, Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights Topics: abortion, comprehensive sexuality education, sex work.
Click here to read the submission »

CANADA: SRI, Canadian Alliance for Sex Work Law Reform
Topics: criminalization of sex work, human rights of Indigenous women, migrants, trans persons, persons who use drugs, discrimination, violence, trafficking.
Click here to read the submission »

BANGLADESH: SRI, Right Here Right Now Platform
Topics: young people’s sexual and reproductive health and rights, comprehensive sexuality education, unsafe abortions, early and child marriage, health services for youth with diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, gender inequality, gender based violence, youth friendly health services, maternal mortality.
Click here to read the submission »

CAMEROON: SRI, Coalition of African Lesbians, African Sex Workers Alliance
Topics: criminalization of sex work, sexual and reproductive health and rights, HIV, discrimination, violence.
Click here to read the submission »

COLOMBIA: SRI, Equipo Colombiano de Investigación en Conflicto y Paz
Topics: women, lesbians, bisexuality, peasants, Raizal community, Palenquero community, Indigenous, sexual and patriarchal violence, armed conflict, racial violence, ethnic violence, class violence, structural violence, historical discrimination.
Click here to read the submission in Spanish »

All Reports from the Working Groups, containing all recommendations received by States Under Review can be accessed here.



Sexual Rights Initiative Side Event

Regional Developments in Abortion Law & Policy Reform
13 September, 13:00-14:30, Room XXV

In support of the Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, panelists will highlight regional developments in abortion law and policy reform, shed light on regional commonalities and differences that have led to change, and illustrate the ways in which different stakeholders have used human rights law to develop innovative strategies to advance the right to access safe and legal abortion in their region.


  • Rakshya Paudyal, Beyond Beijing Committee
  • Victoria Pedrido, Akahata
  • Krystyna Kacpura, Federation for Women and Family Planning
  • Varyanne Sika, Coalition of African Lesbians
  • Maeve Taylor, Irish Family Planning Association

Click for more information »


Other Sexual Rights-related Events

Side event are subject to change. Please check the daily order of the day on the Human Rights Council website.

12 September
Women’s rights and violence against women
Tandem Project
12:00-13:00, Room XXIII

13 September
Women’s human rights
Society for threatened peoples
16:00-17:00, Room XXV

14 September
SRHR in the U.S.
Center for Reproductive Rights
13:00-14:00, Room XXIV

17 September
Maternal Mortality and Morbidity in Humanitarian Settings
New Zealand, Estonia, Canada, CRR, WHO, OHCHR, UNFPA, IAWG, SRI, IPPF
13:30-15:00, Room XXIII

Women’s access to justice
International Commission of Jurists
14:00-15:00, Room XXIV

Cycle of gender-based violence
Initiative Féministe Européenne
16:00-17:00, Room XXIV

18 September
Rights Unrealized: Today’s Barriers to Abortion Access
IWHC, CRR, Right Here Right Now, Arrow, Rutgers, SRI
13:00-14:00, Room XXVII

Violence against women
Association d’Entraide Médicale Guinee
15:00-16:00, Room XV

19 September
Women in advocacy in conflict area
International Muslim Women’s Union
11:30-12:30, Room XXIV

20 September
Racial discrimination
International Movement against all forms of discrimination and racism (IMADR)
11:00-12:00, RoomXV

21 September
Global research trans rights
International Lesbian and Gay Association
10:30-11:30, Room XXV

Women in conflict
Servas International
14:00-15:00, Room XV

24 September
Women and trade: protection
Women’s Federation for World Peace International
13:00-14:00, Room XXIV

Women’s right under occupation
Initiative Féministe Européenne
14:00-15:00, Room XXII


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Read the SRI & IPPF

UPR Toolkit for Sexual Rights Advocates

Available in English, French, Portuguese, Spanish & Arabic.





National Sexual Rights -Web


The National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database documents and compares the status of law and policy related to sexual rights issues in different countries around the world.

Click here to access the database






About the database-web


The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Sexual Rights database records all information from the UPR related to sexual rights. Use it to find out about your country’s sexual rights commitments.

Click here to access the database


More info about the HRC

Created in 2006 to replace the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Council is the foremost international body for the promotion and protection of human rights and can be used to bring substantial pressure on governments to take steps to implement human rights norms. The Human Rights Council is comprised of governments of countries that are members of the United Nations and is an important venue to develop and advance sexual rights as a critical part of the international human rights framework.

Click here for more information on the upcoming session