Item 6 General Debate: Universal Periodic Review
51st session of the Human Rights Council
Friday, 30 September 2022
Statement by Action Canada for Population and Development
Thank you, Mr President.
Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
We welcome the numerous recommendations made on sexual and reproductive health and rights and women’s rights throughout the third cycle. We trust that the breadth and depth of recommendations addressing these rights will increase throughout the fourth cycle, in response to ongoing violations and emerging issues.
We urge states to use intersectional analysis and reasoning to formulate recommendations, and to not resort to a mere listing of identities as a stand-in for the analysis itself. General recommendations to “address discrimination” against a list of communities, for example, are not sufficient to hold States accountable for concretely meeting their human rights obligations and commitments. We urge states to be more specific in their recommendations about the laws, policies, and programmes that violate sexual and reproductive rights including the right to bodily autonomy, deny the agency of women, and systematically marginalise and discriminate against women.
We call on states to make recommendations on States’ positive obligations to respect, protect and fulfil women’s human rights. We also urge states to make recommendations on the wider range of rights affecting women’s lives throughout their life cycle. This includes sexual and reproductive rights, land rights, our individual and collective right to development, right to health, right to work, right to security of the person and freedom from violence, and issues such as economic justice, racism, migration, state violence, abortion, maternal mortality and morbidity, and access to education, including comprehensive sexuality education.
The UPR presents an opportunity for all states to concretely engage on how to remedy human rights violations occurring in all member states, and we urge states to move beyond virtue signalling. We urge states to actively engage with civil society organisations throughout the UPR cycle, both when they are under review and when they are making recommendations. Stakeholder submissions by CSOs can aid states in accessing nuanced information on the context of the country under review as it relates to sexual and other rights, and in making recommendations that are consistent with the priorities of activists, and social justice movements in the country who are engaged in advocacy on themes of interest.
In this fourth cycle states should commit to holding each other accountable for delivering on sexual and reproductive rights, and we are counting on states to refine their recommendations to make them more relevant and useful for implementation at the country level.