The 52nd session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from 27 February to 4 April. Below you will find information on some of the key sexual rights-related:
- Panel discussions
- Oral statements
- Side Events
Health, Human Rights and Capitalism: Implications for the Human Rights Council
The Human Rights Council, as the intergovernmental body “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe”, has struggled to lay down human rights standards for global economic and health architecture. All things related to economics are seen as technical and not within the purview of human rights, even if it is one of the most significant impediments to the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. SRI and Grupo de Trabalho sobre Propriedade Intelectual (GTPI) hosted a hybrid side event, which addressed questions: Why should the human rights council care about the global health architecture? Should health, human rights and economic experts coordinate, and what connects them? Why should we listen to communities and civil society working at global economic forums? What is the role of states and civil society? How do we think about the political economy of health and human rights, and sexual rights?
Sexual Rights-related Resolutions
Birth registration and the right of everyone to recognition everywhere as a person before the law – A/HRC/52/L.23 as orally revised
Led by Mexico and Türkiye and co-sponsored by 53 other countries as of 4 April 2023. The resolution was adopted by consensus.
The resolution mandates a comprehensive study on the use of digital technologies to achieve universal birth registration, its best practices, challenges and opportunities, and potential mechanisms to close the gap between the number of children whose births are reported as registered and those who actually have a birth certificate for the 61st session. The resolution builds on previous initiatives and uses the UNICEF report, Birth Registration for 2030. Are we on track? Crucially, the resolution acknowledges that gender-based discrimination with respect to nationality laws and civil registration requirements is a major obstacle to birth registration, despite pushback and a tabled amendment (later withdrawn) to replace gender-based discrimination with discrimination between men and women. However, the removal of the term “gender” from the final text represents a setback and is part of a concerning trend where “gender” language is being systematically attacked and undermined.
Contribution of the Human Rights Council with regard to the human rights implications of drug policy - A/HRC/52/L.22/Rev.1 as orally revised
Led by Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Greece, Guatemala, Mexico, Portugal, Paraguay, Switzerland and Uruguay and co-sponsored by 23 countries as of 30 March 2023. The resolution was adopted by consensus with two amendments added by vote. It builds on the previous resolution adopted in March 2018 and asks for the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms to contribute to the mid-term review of the 2019 ‘Ministerial Declaration’ to be adopted by the UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs, in 2024. It requests for a report to be prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights on the issue as well as to hold an intersessional seminar to discuss its findings.
The resolution includes a call to mainstream a gender perspective into and ensure the involvement of women in all stages of the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of drug policies and programmes and to develop and disseminate gender-sensitive and age-appropriate measures that take into account the specific needs and circumstances faced by women and girls.
A total of 11 amendments were tabled. Two were withdrawn, two were adopted and the other seven were defeated by vote. The amendments are provided below:
- Replacing the original title of the resolution “Contribution of the Human Rights Council with regard to the human rights implications of drug policy” for “Contribution of the Human Rights Council to addressing and countering the world drug problem”, tabled by Russia and defeated by 21 against, 12 in favour and 14 abstentions.
- Deletion of the reference to the ‘International Guidelines on Human Rights and Drug Policy’, tabled by Russia and defeated by 22 against, 12 in favour and 13 abstentions.
- Deletion of ‘harm reduction’, tabled by Russia and defeated by 23 against, 13 in favour and 11 abstentions.
- Replacing gender with sex, tabled by Russia and defeated by 23 against, 12 in favour and 11 abstentions.
- Deletion of ‘affected communities’, tabled by Russia and defeated by 23 against, 6 in favour and 16 abstentions.
- Inserting a new preambular paragraph on sovereignty, territorial integrity and the principle of non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, tabled by Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Singapore, United Arab Emirates and adopted by 22 in favour, 20 against and 5 abstentions.
- Inserting a new preambular paragraph on the role of states to promote a society free of drug abuse, tabled by Egypt, India, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates and adopted by 25 in favour, 18 against and 4 abstentions.
- Deletion of the paragraph requesting an intersessional panel discussion on human rights challenges in addressing and countering all aspects of the world drug problem, tabled by Egypt, Nigeria, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and the United Arab Emirates, and defeated by 20 against, 17 in favour and 9 abstentions.
- Deletion of reference for states to consider the conclusions and recommendations contained on the OHCHR report on the implementation of the joint commitment to effectively addressing and countering the world drug problem with regard to human rights, tabled by Singapore, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and defeated by 20 against, 14 in favour and 13 abstentions.
Question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights - A/HRC/52/L.11
Led by Portugal and co-sponsored by 44 countries as of 30 March 2023. The resolution was adopted by consensus.
The resolution focuses on the right to social security, public policies and quality public services as key tools for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights. It recognizes that the establishment of nationally defined gender-responsive social protection floors is a key path to facilitate the enjoyment of ESC rights. Some of the key asks of the resolution include a call for states to identify patterns of discrimination in law, policies and practices, and to address entrenched structural barriers and unequal power relations that generate and perpetuate inequality over generations, as well as to design social protection systems that promote women’s economic security and take into consideration women’s unequal share of unpaid or underpaid care and domestic work. It also calls upon international financial institutions and their need to take into consideration the prioritization of social spending and the enhancement of States’ fiscal space.
The text asks for a panel discussion on challenges and good practices to strengthen the fulfilment of the right to social security as well as a report, by the Secretary-General, on the question of the realization in all countries of economic, social and cultural rights with a special focus on challenges and good practices to strengthen the fulfilment of the right to social security.
Other relevant resolutions
- Freedom of religion and belief (Sweden on behalf of EU) - A/HRC/52/L.4
- Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment: mandate of the Special Rapporteur (Denmark) - A/HRC/52/L.5 Rev.1
- Promoting human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals through transparent, accountable and efficient public service delivery (Azerbaijan, Ecuador, Georgia, Kenya, Malaysia, Thailand, Türkiye) - A/HRC/52/L.6
- The human right to a clean, health and sustainable environment (Switzerland, Costa Rica, Maldives, Morocco, Slovenia) - A/HRC/52/L.7 orally revised
- Adequate housing as a component of the right to adequate standard of living and the right to non-discrimination in this context (Finland, Brazil, Germany, Namibia) - A/HRC/52/L.10
- Mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the effective implementation of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the Group of African States) - A/HRC/52/L.13
- Mental health and human rights (Portugal, Brazil) - A/HRC/52/L.15
- The negative impact of unilateral coercive measures on the enjoyment of human rights (Azerbaijan on behalf of the Momevent of Non-Aligned Countries) - A/HRC/52/L.18
- Promotion and protection of human rights and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Ecuador, Fiji, Portugal, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Thailand, Uruguay) - A/HRC/52/L.20
- Cooperation with regional human rights organisations (Belgium, Armenia, Mexico, Senegal, Thailand) - A/HRC/52/L.21
- The right to food (Cuba) - A/HRC/52/L.24
- Promotion of the enjoyment of the cultural rights of everyone and respect for cultural diversity (Cuba) - A/HRC/52/L.26
- Commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the thirtieth anniversary of the Vienne Declaration and Programme of Action (Vietnam, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Fiji, India, Panama, Romania, South Africa, Spain) - A/HRC/52/L.29
- Combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of and discrimination, incitement to violence and violence against persons based on religion or belief (Pakistan on behalf of the Oganization of Islamic Cooperation) - A/HRC/52/L.30
- The negative impact of the non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin to the countries of origin on the enjoyment of human rights and the importance of improving international cooperation (Côte d’Ivoire on behalf of the Group of African States) - A/HRC/52/L.37
- Human rights, democracy and the rule of law (Romania, Morocco, Norway, Peru, Republic of Korea, Tunisia) - A/HRC/52/L.39
- Mandate Renewal of Special Rapporteurs on Human Rights Defenders, Minority Issues, Torture, Freedom of Opinion and Expression, Adequate Housing, Contemporary forms of Racism, Migrants, Sale of Children and child sexual exploitation and Independent Expert on foreign debt.
Sexual Rights-related Panel Discussions
Debate in commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
Theme: The urgency of combating racism and racial discrimination 75 years after the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
The panel discussed the current state of play in the fight against racism and the importance of accelerating progress towards racial equality for the benefit of the whole of society and future generations. The panel shared their experience, expertise and recommendations on how to address some of the most pressing challenges and obstacles to combat racism in all its forms and manifestations. They also considered the role the Council, Member States, relevant United Nations bodies and agencies, national human rights institutions and equality bodies, civil society and other relevant stakeholders should play.
Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the rights of persons with disabilities, Gerard Quinn
This panel discussion addressed the development of care and support systems to achieve community inclusion under the obligations of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (hereinafter “Convention”), including as a means of building forward better after the COVID-19 pandemic.
Panel Discussion on the 35th Anniversary of the Right to Development Declaration
The panel discussed and identified ways for building forward better together against the backdrop of multiple interconnected challenges, obstacles and crises that prevent the realization of the right to development, including the negative impact of climate change and the COVID-19 pandemic. The meeting considered good practices and examples in addressing these common threats and reflect on what has been achieved and on persistent challenges. It was also an opportunity to reflect on the achievements of the United Nations mechanisms on the right to development with a view to identifying concrete proposals to strengthen their effectiveness.
SRI Oral Statements
- Statement prepared for the Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on a safe, clean, healthy and sustainable environment, commenting on his report on women and girls. Watch part 1, part 2 and part 3 of the dialogue with the Special Rapporteur. Due to limited speaking slots for civil society, the statement was eventually delivered during the General Debate on Item 3.
- Statement with SRI partner Akãhatã on the visit to Argentina of the Independent Expert on foreign debt. Watch the dialogue with the Independent Expert.
- Statement for the Interactive Dialogue with the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the report on access to COVID-19 Vaccines. Watch the first and second parts of the dialogue
- Statement for the Full-day high-level meeting commemorating the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on the Right to Development. Watch the discussion.
Joint oral statements
- Joint statement by the #EmptyChairs Campaign during the General Debate on Item 5 (human rights bodies and mechanisms), commenting on the presentation by the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures. Watch the presentation by the Coordination Committee.
- Joint statement coordinated by ILGA and CRR on gender recognition and self-identification for item 8 General Debate
- UPR outcome of Morocco: joint statement Moroccan Family Planning Association, Asian Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women (ARROW). Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of Ecuador: joint statement with Fundación Pakta, Sendas, la Red de Litigantes LGBTI+ de las Américas, Akahatá, and Synergía. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of United Kingdom: joint statement with Scottish Trans. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of Indonesia: joint statement with Sa Perempuan Papua. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of India: joint statement with the Human Touch Foundation and the PACT. Watch the adoption
- UPR outcome of Brazil: joint statement with Advogados Pela Diversidade Sexual e de Gênero; Network of LGBT Litigants of the Americas; AKAHATA and SYNERGÍA. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of Poland: joint statement with Federa. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of Netherlands: joint statement with Rutgers. Watch the adoption.
- UPR outcome of South Africa: joint statement with SRHR Africa Trust and the PACT. Watch the adoption.
SRI Side Event: Health, Human Rights and Capitalism: Implications for the Human Rights Council
If you missed the event, you can catch up with the recording, and Twitter highlights from SRI.
The Human Rights Council, as the intergovernmental body “responsible for the promotion and protection of all human rights around the globe”, has struggled to lay down human rights standards for global economic and health architecture. All things related to economics are seen as technical and not within the purview of Human Rights, even if it is one of the most significant impediments to the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. SRI and GTPI hosted a hybrid side event, which addressed questions: Why should the human rights council care about the global health architecture? Should health, human rights and economic experts coordinate, and what connects them? Why should we listen to communities and civil society working at global economic forums? What is the role of states and civil society? How do we think about the political economy of health and human rights, and sexual rights?
Pooja Badarinath (SRI) moderated the side event. You can read our live coverage of the side event on Twitter here and watch the full recording of the side event here.
- Kinda Mohamadieh, Third World Network
- Alan Rossi, Working Group on Intellectual Property of the Brazilian Network for the Integration of Peoples (GTPI/Rebrip),
- Priti Patnaik, Founding Editor, Geneva Health Files
Side-event on accountability for women and girls in humanitarian situations
The Center for Reproductive Rights with all the co-sponsors convened a side-event on the margins of the 52nd session of the Human Rights Council to create a space for a dialogue on rights-based accountability and an intersectional approach to sexual and reproductive health information and services delivery for women and girls in humanitarian settings. The side event aimed at:
- To flesh out the constitutive elements of rights-based accountability for women and girls in humanitarian situations
- To elevate the realities of women and girls in humanitarian situations at the global level and highlight States’ obligations in humanitarian settings
- To make recommendations for action to the Human Rights Council
From Progress to Action: defending international human rights standards on women’s rights
ILGA World organised a side event to create a space for dialogue about the key achievements of feminist activism at the national and international levels, and the further progress needed.
It will also present the voices of women human rights defenders working on a range of issues and will aim to highlight how their activism, together with the responses of the UN human rights mechanisms, are crucial to defending women and girls’ rights. The event will also provide an area of discussion around the role the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms can play in furthering women's and girls’ rights and in safeguarding key protection for women and girls in all their diversity.