Right to health

Published on June 24, 2024
We support the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations to States to move away from criminal approaches to drug use and control frameworks and rather adopt an evidence-based, human rights approach. Moreover, access to medicines is a human right that must not be impeded by policies that favour corporate interests over people’s health and rights.
Uploaded on April 29, 2024
The 47th session of the Universal Periodic will take place from 4 to 15 November 2024. 14 Countries are under review during the session: Norway, Albania, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Côte d'Ivoire, Portugual, Bhutan, Dominica, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Brunei Darussalam, Costa Rics, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Qatar and Nicaragua. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI submitted reports for Ethiopia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Bhutan and Albania.
Uploaded on April 09, 2024
The 46th session of the Universal Periodic will take place from 29 April to 10 May 2024. 14 Countries are under review during the session: New Zealand, Afghanistan, Chile, Cyprus, Uruguay, Yemen, Vanuatu, North Macedonia, Comoros, Slovakia, Eritrea, Viet Nam, Dominican Republic and Cambodia. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI submitted reports for Cambodia and North Macedonia.
Uploaded on April 09, 2024
The 45th session of the Universal Periodic was held from 22 January to 02 February 2024. 14 Countries were under review during the session: Saudi Arabia, Senegal, China, Nigeria Mauritius, Mexico, Jordan, Malaysia, Central African Republic, Monaco, Belize, Chad, Congo and Malta. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI submitted reports for Malaysia and Nigeria.
Published on March 25, 2024
The functional denial of sexual and reproductive rights is connected to the denial of other rights, including the rights to health, non-discrimination, education, and freedom from violence. We are disappointed Canada did not fully accept several recommendations in support of broader health equity, particularly on access to services for undocumented people.
Uploaded on December 11, 2023
The 44th session of the Universal Periodic was held from 6 to 17 November 2023. 14 Countries were under review during the session: Turkmenistan, Cabo Verde, Uzbekistan, Germany, Canada, Burkina Faso, Colombia, Tuvalu, Djibouti, Bangladesh, Azerbaijan, Cuba, the Russian Federation and Cameroon. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI submitted reports for Canada, Bangladesh and Azerbaijan.
Published on October 09, 2023
Despite 30 years of the Vienna Declaration, universal access to sexual and reproductive health services for all women, girls, and pregnant people is still very far from reality. Sexual and reproductive health and rights are treated as a siloed issue - with limited relevance for the majority of people.
Published on September 21, 2023

The criminalisation of abortion is taking an increasing toll in my country. Women die because of lack of access to life saving abortion care, the entire hospitals rely illegally on the consciousness clause. The recent police intervention in the case of a woman who took an abortion pill and another who miscarried show how the restrictive legal and policy environment is facilitating the abuse of powers by authorities, and legitimising the refusals of care by medical providers.

Published on September 15, 2023
The current economic, geopolitical and global health context is a reflection of colonial power dynamics and structures shaping racist inequalities in resources, health access and outcomes within and among countries. COVID-19 highlighted the impacts of decades of systematic underfunding of health systems partly fuelled by austerity, privatisation and structural adjustment programs, underpinned by neoliberal ideologies and approaches.
Uploaded on August 28, 2023
The suggested changes to the Draft General Recommendation proposed in this document are based on the joint submission, and focuses on the impact of systemic racism on global health systems, and consequent impact on people.
Published on July 10, 2023

The relationship between health, race, caste, class and gender is rooted in colonial, patriarchal and capitalist control over women’s sexuality, reproduction and bodies and produces distinct experiences of oppression that are often fatal. Racialised women are specifically targeted by harmful stereotypes, the essentialisation of women to their reproductive capacities, forced sterilisation, forced pregnancies and chromosomal testing in sporting events through state interventions or purposeful inaction. This has profound impacts on their health and human rights.

Published on June 22, 2023
Technology and digital innovation have advanced health coverage, particularly sexual and reproductive health, providing spaces for youth, adolescents, and other marginalized communities to access these services without stigma. However, it is essential to underline that we are facing a context where regressive actors are using these same digital platforms to assault women human rights defenders, attacking their privacy and propagate misinformation and disinformation, particularly related to abortion, the rights of trans persons, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and comprehensive sexuality education.
Uploaded on April 26, 2023

This submission argues that one of the essential elements to “profoundly transform economies to make them greener, fairer and more inclusive” is to review the current macroeconomic system, which itself is a continuation of the historical and ongoing consequence of colonialism: its impact on people and to embark on a radical global system change - one which places people and the planet before profits.

Uploaded on April 21, 2023

Summary of the submission to the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) to inform the elaboration of General Recommendation no 37 on racial discrimination and the right to health

Submitted by: Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI), National Council of Women Leaders (NCWL), Dalit Human Rights Defenders Network (DHRDNet), International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN), The Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), Her Rights Initiative (HRI), and Alisa Lombard

Published on February 14, 2023

As we embark on another year of activism for sexual rights, we wanted to share with you our highlights of 2022. While the UN human rights system continues to be confronted by multiple challenges –from funding shortages, geopolitical tensions and polarisation and attempts to undermine multilateralism to the presence and influence of regressive and conservative actors, we have made steadfast progress in advancing sexual rights in this system. Read below for our highlights of 2022.

Published on December 15, 2022

The 42nd session of the Universal Periodic review begins on the 23rd of January 2023. The working group session will take place from 23 January to 3 February 2023. 13 Countries will be under review during the session: Czechia, Gabon, Benin, Switzerland, Argentina, Ghana, Guatemala, the Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Sri Lanka and Zambia. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI collaborated on reports for Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Switzerland and Zambia.

Uploaded on November 03, 2022

The 41st session of the Universal Periodic review begins on the 7th of November 2022, and this session marks the beginning of the fourth cycle of the UPR. The working group session will take place from 7 November to 18 November 2022. 14 Countries will be under review during the session: Bahrain, Ecuador, Tunisia, Morocco, Indonesia, Finland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, India, Brazil, Philippines, Algeria, Poland, Netherlands and South Africa. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI collaborated on reports for South Africa, India, Poland and the Netherlands.

Uploaded on August 23, 2022
The main argument of this submission is that a tripartite approach is necessary in order for states to meet their obligations under CERD Article 5 (e)(iv) concerning access to health and healthcare of all people.
Uploaded on December 11, 2023

This report examines gaps in Canada’s obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil the right to abortion. Abortion is a decriminalized healthcare procedure and is enshrined in numerous human rights instruments and ratified conventions. Despite this, many people in Canada face barriers when seeking abortion services and some are ultimately unable to access care.

Uploaded on June 06, 2023

In September 2022, SAT Botswana, a youth-focused organisation, convened a workshop to consult with other youth-led and focused organisations, with ten organisations present. The objective of the meeting was to deliberate and develop a report for the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) on critical issues, focusing on the state of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights in Botswana. In addition, the workshop discussed issues concerning adolescents and young people, highlighting some of the increasing sexual health challenges emanating from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Uploaded on June 06, 2023

The 42nd session of the Universal Periodic review begins on the 23rd of January 2023. The working group session will take place from 23 January to 3 February 2023. 13 Countries will be under review during the session: Czechia, Gabon, Benin, Switzerland, Argentina, Ghana, Guatemala, the Republic of Korea, Pakistan, Japan, Sri Lanka and Zambia. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI collaborated on reports for Guatemala, Japan, Pakistan, Switzerland and Zambia.

Uploaded on May 01, 2023

The 43rd session of the Universal Periodic review begins on 1 May 2023. The working group session will take place from 1 to 12 May 2023. 14 Countries will be under review during the session: France,Tonga, Romania, Mali, Botswana, the Bahamas, Burundi, Luxembourg, Barbados, Montenegro, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, Liechtenstein and Serbia. In collaboration with our partners, the SRI collaborated on reports for Romania and Botswana.

Published on February 14, 2023

Around the world, health systems and health financing have been eroded, undermined and weakened by decades of neoliberalism, austerity, privatisation and structural adjustment programs and an emphasis on minimising State intervention and relying on a discourse of “personal responsibility.

Published on February 14, 2023

The rising inequalities, made even starker due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, are a symptom of the failed economic system that prioritises profit over people and impoverishes people. It is very important to look at the impact of the erosion of public systems through privatisation and financialisation and resulting human rights violations and abuses. In particular, to delve deeper into why public health systems were woefully inadequate to deal with the Pandemic.

Uploaded on December 15, 2022

Current discourse about the nature of sex work in Zambia and the experiences of sex workers is narrow. Discussions on laws criminalising sex work are often informed by arguments on morality. Morality is a complex and subjective issue, heavily informed by patriarchal, religious norms and standards - criminal laws must comply with international human rights standards.

Uploaded on December 15, 2022

This report is submitted by SEXUAL HEALTH Switzerland and the Sexual Rights Initiative. It examines the human rights situation in Switzerland, with a focus on sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR).

Uploaded on December 15, 2022

This joint stakeholder report assesses Pakistan’s progress since its third cycle review in meeting its obligations to respect, protect, and fulfill the sexual and reproductive health and rights obligations it has towards young people, particularly women and transgender persons. The submission focuses on access to safe abortion, the sexual rights of LGBT people, and access to sexual and reproductive health information, education and services.

Uploaded on November 03, 2022

This report has been jointly prepared by the African Sex Workers Alliance (ASWA), the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) and Sisonke, South Africa. It seeks to highlight the existing and ongoing human rights violations against sex workers due to restrictive and punitive laws and policies in South Africa It also outlines South Africa commitment to provision and protection of rights through various national and international mechanisms, including the previous cycle of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and the relevant recommendations.

Uploaded on November 03, 2022

This report is jointly submitted by CREA and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI). The report outlines the current legal and policy context as relates to sex work - and the threat posed by ongoing legislative and executive initiatives that conflate trafficking with voluntary adult sex work. It focuses on how criminalization of all forms of sex work harms sex workers in India, and violates their fundamental rights as contained in the Constitution of India and in international treaties and norms, exposing sex workers to violence, police harassment, and hindering access to justice and healthcare.

Published on August 23, 2022
We thank the committee for the opportunity to provide our inputs. We are however concerned by the barriers to participation for civil society organisations, particularly but not limited to those from the Global South, in today’s discussions due to visa restrictions and high costs of travel to Geneva, and that only part of today’s proceedings are in a hybrid format. We urge the committee to expand the opportunities for consultation and engagement in this critical process, including by hosting regional meetings in order to ensure meaningful participation from organisations from the Global South and the people most affected by racial discrimination.
Published on August 23, 2022
A tripartite approach is necessary in order for states to meet their obligations under CERD Article 5 (e)(iv) concerning access to health and healthcare of all people. First, states must ensure that healthcare is publicly funded through progressive taxation; second, states must adopt a systems approach to fulfil the right to health; and, third, states must take an intersectional approach in all aspects of healthcare provision.
Uploaded on August 08, 2022

In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for inputs on racism and the right to health, SRI made a submission advocating for an analysis of racism and the right to health addressing both racism and colonialism as determinants of health and as structural violence.

Published on June 20, 2022

SRI, Her Rights Initiative, the Women’s Legal Centre Statement to the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Published on June 15, 2022

SRI Statement on the commemorative event on the occasion of the 50th session of the HRC.
The Human Rights Council will marked its 50th session through a high-level interactive discussion that provided stakeholders an opportunity to reflect on the achievements made and the lessons learned since its 1st session. The following is SRI's statement to this interactive discussion.

Uploaded on April 14, 2022

In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for inputs on violence and its impact on the right to health, SRI made a submission addressing violations of bodily autonomy and the operation of systems of oppression as structural violence

Uploaded on July 26, 2021

In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for contributions, SRI made a submission locating the impact of COVID-19 on the right to sexual and reproductive health within a broader context of racial capitalism, patriarchy, colonialism, ableism and austerity.

Uploaded on July 02, 2021

Initially, in our quest to delve into the subject matter of wellbeing and wellness, we mistakenly used the two words interchangeably. Now, we only use the term wellbeing. This is because ‘wellbeing’ refers to the more holistic aspect of one’s life rather than just the physical health, which is what ‘wellness’ tends to encompass. It was important for us to recognise and appreciate that people’s welfare is affected by so much more than physical health, so many intangible factors like racism, sexism, patriarchy and capitalism that disproportionately affect LBQ women, activists and human rights defenders mobilising on the continent. Our hope is that these groups of people are holistically well. 

Uploaded on February 19, 2020

This submission reviews bioethics and how it has related to the rights of persons with disabilities. It first highlights how bioethics constitutes its own authority and experts to have a say in the lives of persons with disabilities. Secondly it provides a brief overview of a global feminist approach to bioethics and its contributions to a critique of the field. After highlighting the contributions of women with disabilities to the so-called “bioethical discussions,” the submission recommends to move away from bioethics and adopt a human rights-based analysis.

Uploaded on June 20, 2019

The Sexual Rights Initiative and partners co-sponsored a side event at the 20th session of the Human Rights Council focusing on criminal laws and women’s right to health. The objective of the event was to provide a forum for States and stakeholders in Geneva to discuss the key findings and recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Health’s 2011 report to the General Assembly on the criminalization of sexual and reproductive health including abortion.

Learn more about the event here

Uploaded on May 29, 2019

Country: Afghanistan

Collaborators: SRI, Afghan Family Guidance Association & International Planned Parenthood Federation (South Asia Regional Office)

Key Words: HIV/AIDS; People who inject drugs; Discrimination; Stigma; Health Systems Strengthening; Access to Services; Education; Availability of Services; Accessibility of Services.

 

Country: Cambodia

Uploaded on May 29, 2019

Country: Chile

Collaborators: SRI, Organizando Trans Diversidades

Key Words: Identidad de género; orientación sexual; personas trans; reasignación registral; discriminación; violencia; acceso a la salud; educación y trabajo. C

 

Country: Macedonia

Collaborators: SRI, Margini Coalition, Reactor, Health Education and Research Association

Uploaded on May 28, 2019

In the present report, submitted pursuant to Council resolution 24/6, the Special Rapporteur provides a brief account of his activities since he took office in August 2014.

The main focus of the report is on the work of the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on the right to health, focusing on the right to health framework, and the development of the contours and content of the right to health. He then reflects on how he sees the way forward, based on the current context, challenges and opportunities for the full realisation of the right to health.

Uploaded on May 28, 2019

Human Rights Council – 29th session – June 2015

Item 3: Clustered ID with the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health

Statement by Action Canada for Population and Development

Action Canada makes this statement in collaboration with the Sexual Rights Initiative.

Uploaded on May 23, 2019

Guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, Reaffirming the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and recalling the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,

Uploaded on May 22, 2019

Country: Ireland

Collaborators: SRI, Irish Family Planning Association

Key Words: Abortion; Criminalization; Right to Health; Discrimination

 

Country: Lithuania

Collaborators: SRI, Family Planning and Sexual Health Association

Key Words: Sexuality Education; Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Young People

 

Country: Venezuela

Uploaded on May 22, 2019

Country: Bolivia

Collaborators: SRI, Clayvert Alcon Saavedra

Key Words: Sexual Orientation; Gender Identity; Sex Work; Discrimination; Access to Health Services; Violence

 

Country: Bosnia and Herzegovenia

Collaborators: SRI, Organization Q

Key Words: Sexual Orientation; Gender Identity; Sexuality Education; Discrimination; Freedom of Expression; Violence

 

Country: Fiji

Uploaded on May 16, 2019

In his Preliminary observations during a Country visit to Croatia from 28 November to 6 December 2016, the UN Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Mr. Dainius Pūras, recognized the importance of sexual rights stating “…I would like to underline that sexual and reproductive health rights are human rights.

Uploaded on May 01, 2019

Despite several initiatives to improve children’s health and reduce preventable mortality, including, among others, those undertaken to implement the Millennium Development Goals, the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Secretary General’s Global Strategy for Women's and Children's Health, several challenges remain. As noted in the Human Rights Council’s resolution 19/37, more than 7.6 million children under the age of 5 die each year, mostly from preventable and treatable causes.

Uploaded on May 01, 2019

The right to health is central to the achievement of sustainable development and the realization of all other human rights. This submission focuses on sexual and reproductive health, which are confirmed to be “integral elements of the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health” and yet, often marginalized; for instance, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) added target 5B on ‘universal access to reproductive health’ as late as 2006, and this target is among the ones least likely to be met by 2015.

Uploaded on March 31, 2018

In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for input on the right to health, SRI made a submission focusing on the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of persons with disabilities. The submission challenges stereotypes surrounding sexuality and disability, outlines some of the common barriers to SRHR experienced by women and girls with disabilities, and advocates for an approach centered on autonomy.

Published on September 06, 2017

The 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from the 11th to the 29th of September 2017. Find below information about anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels and reports, UPR outcomes, and parallel events taking place during the 36th session.

Published on July 08, 2015

During the 29th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the SRI collaborated with national-level organizations and advocates to deliver oral statements regarding outcomes from the Universal Periodic Review ‘s (UPR) of Guyana, Kenya, Turkey, and Spain.

Published on July 06, 2015

During the 29th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council, four UN Special Procedures — the Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and the Special Rapporteur on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography — sent a letter to the President of the Human Rights Council expressing concerns regarding the debates on the Protection of the Family resolution.

Published on September 20, 2013

During the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) collaborated with national-level organizations and advocates to deliver oral statements regarding outcomes from the Universal Periodic Review ‘s (UPR) of Azerbaijan, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Russia and Uzbekistan.