Gender-based violence

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.

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.

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

2. This joint submission assesses the Zambian Government’s human rights record since the third cycle of UPR in 2017, and highlights some of the emerging or increasing challenges, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. It specifically assesses Government’s fulfilment of adolescent and young people’s sexual reproductive health and rights, providing follow-up recommendations on key areas of concern Government should prioritise in the coming cycle.

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

In this joint submission, we examine the Government of South Africa’s human rights record since its third-cycle universal periodic review (UPR) in 2017. Specifically, we assess the government’s fulfilment of adolescent and youth sexual and reproductive health and rights. To this end, we analyse South Africa’s implementation of recommendations received relating to these issues and provide specific, action-orientated follow-up recommendations at the conclusion of this submission. Between the 9th and 10th of March 2022, 15 youth led, serving and focused organizations in South Africa convened in person and virtually to deliberate on how COVID-19 has affected the HIV, SRHR and GBV/F outcomes of adolescents and young people in their diversity.

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.

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 October 08, 2021

young people continue to face challenges and need to get more involved in order for these commitments to materialize. The adolescent fertility rate remains high, at 65 births per 1,000 girls aged 15-19 years, contraceptive prevalence rate is currently 46.2%, and high levels of teenage pregnancy is reported as 100 per 1,000 with associated high levels of unsafe abortion. These figures indicate a need for a review of and improvements to sexual and reproductive health and family planning services in Seychelles. Young people are also among the most vulnerable regarding Gender-Based Violence as substantial proportions are victim of sexual abuse. Moreover, these gaps are exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent us from reaching our full potential.

Uploaded on October 08, 2021

Although laws around gender equality and women’s rights in Somalia have advanced in the past years, there are important gaps that need addressing to effectively guarantee and protect women’s rights. If the recommendations are to have a positive impact on the lives of women and girls in Somalia, the government will need to take urgent and decisive action.

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 December 16, 2020

This joint submission in response to the questionnaire by the Special Rapporteur provides context to the analysis on laws on violence against women. As a critical aspect to understanding laws on rape and other forms of sexual violence, this submission locates penal laws within the larger structural paradigm that dictates and influences the enactment and implementation of these laws and policies. It provides critical analysis of the harms of carceral approaches or approaches that rely on punishment and incarceration, when addressing gender-based violence. It argues that the report of the Special Rapporteur is an opportunity to lay down clear frameworks on consent and to counter paternalistic and essentialist discourses.

Uploaded on May 29, 2019

Country: Argentina

Collaborators: SRI, Akahata

Key Words: Maternal Mortality; Abortion; Contraception; Gender-Based Violence; Sexuality Education


Country: Guatemala

Collaborators: SRI, Colectiva Mujeres en Resistencia

Key Words: Gender-Based Violence; Violence Against Lesbian Women


Country: Pakistan

Collaborators: SRI, Rahnuma Family Planning Association of Pakistan, MDG 5b Alliance

Uploaded on May 29, 2019

Country: Brazil

Collaborators: SRI, Ipas

Key Words: Legal abortions, contraception, sexuality education and information on sexual and reproductive health and rights, zika


Country: Ecuador

Collaborators: SRI, Taller Comunicación Mujer

Uploaded on May 29, 2019

Country: Guatemala

Collaborators: SRI, La Colectiva Mujeres, Derechos Sexuales

Key Words: Violencia de género, Violencia sexual, Embarazos no deseados en adolescentes y jóvenes, Derechos humanos de niñas y adolescentes, Femicidios, Acceso a la Justicia, LGTBI


Country: Ghana

Collaborators: SRI, Sisters of the Heart, Centre for Popular Education Human Rights in Ghana (CEPEHRG)

Uploaded on May 28, 2019

Country: Mexico

Collaborators: SRI,Musas de Metal Grupo de Mujeres Gay A.C.

Key Words: Derechos sexuales y reproductivos; salud y diversidad sexual; LGBTTTI; mujeres; lesbianas; bisexuales; trans; discriminación; matrimonio de personas del mismo sexo; familias homoparentales y lesbomaternales; reproducción asistida; maternidad subrogada; terapias de conversión; violencia; feminicidios. 


Country: Nigeria

Collaborators: SRI, Queer Alliance Nigeria

Uploaded on May 23, 2019

Reaffirming the obligation of all States to promote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms, and reaffirming also that discrimination on the basis of sex is contrary to the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention on the Rights of the Child,

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: Cambodia

Collaborators: SRI, People Health Development Association

Key Words: Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Young People; Sex Work; Sexual Violence; Sexual Transmitted Infections; HIV; Human Rights of Women; Discrimination Against Women; Gender-Based Violence


Country: Costa Rica

Collaborators: SRI, Mulabi-Costa Rica

Uploaded on May 07, 2019

Most States in all regions of the world deliver some form of sexuality education as part of their education system. However, their implementation is often missing critical aspects related to gender equality, sexuality, human rights, relationship skills, and gender-based violence. During the event, panelists will discuss new tools, guidelines and strategies to bridge these gaps and ensure policy is driven by evidence and human rights standards.

Uploaded on May 07, 2019

We are writing in response to UN Women’s call for submissions regarding UN Women’s policy on sex work. A number of sex workers’, women’s and human rights organizations have been engaging with UN Women for some months about this proposed policy, stressing the importance of a process that meaningfully engages with a broad range of sex workers’ and women’s rights organizations as essential to the policy development process.

Published on June 14, 2018

The 38th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from June 18 to July 6, 2018.

Find below information about anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels, reports, UPR outcomes, and parallel events taking place during the 38th session.

Click here to access the full programme of work for HRC38



Expected Resolutions Relevant to Sexual Rights

Published on June 01, 2017

The 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from the 6th to the 24th of June 2017. Find below information about anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels and reports, and parallel events taking place during the 35th session.

Published on May 05, 2016

The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) welcomes the Committee on Economic Social and Cultural Rights’ General Comment 22 on the Right to Sexual and Reproductive Health, adopted in March 2016. The SRI actively engaged in the development of the General Comment (See SRI submission to the General Day of Discussion) and believes that General Comment 22 makes a valuable contribution to the realization of sexual and reproduction health and rights for all.

Published on September 24, 2014

During the 27th 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 Costa Rica, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Dominica, Nicaragua, Norway and Portugal.

Published on April 26, 2014

Statement by the ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC):

The ASEAN SOGIE Caucus (ASC) condemns the regressive and inhuman revision of the penal code of Brunei Darussalam that introduces stoning to death as a specific method of execution for same sexual activities. The ASC is somewhat comforted by the postponement of the implementation of the new code. However, the ASC maintains its position on the introduction of the law, albeit the delay.

Published on September 12, 2013

Action Canada for Population and Development (ACPD), a member of the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) coalition, was represented on the panel for the UN Human Rights Council’s (HRC) Annual Discussion on the integration of a gender perspective. The discussion took place as part of the official proceedings of the HRC’s 24th session. The topic of the discussion was “Civil society’s contribution to the integration of a gender perspective in the work of the Human Rights Council and its mechanisms.”


Published on July 19, 2013

On June 6th 2013, the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI), in collaboration with the World YWCA, and Permanent Missions to the UN in Geneva of Finland, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Uruguay organized a parallel event on ‘the role of the Human Rights Council in advancing sexual and reproductive rights and health in the post-2015 development agenda’.

Published on June 26, 2012

The Special Rapporteur highlights that the killings can be direct with defined perpetrators in the home, community or by the State and, critically, gender-motivated killings can also be indirect where the perpetrator is not so easily defined such as in the case of deaths from clandestine abortions, maternal mortality, deaths from harmful traditional practices and deaths from neglect through starvation or ill-treatment. Restrictive abortion laws and criminalization of abortion that lead women to seek illegal abortions coupled with poor access to reproductive health services have been recognized as causes of preventable maternal mortality. In addition, harmful practices that seek to control women’s and girls’ sexuality through violence and stigma are reinforced by the State’s failure to protect women’s and girls’ rights from a holistic perspective which takes into account the political, economic and social context in which this violence occurs.

We also share the consideration of a problem of killings of women based on sexual orientation and gender identity. This constitutes multiple discrimination and is fueled by homophobic statements and positions by states and non-state actors, including their analysis on tradition, culture and religion.