Bodily autonomy

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.
Uploaded on August 28, 2023
In 2004, in an article titled “Sexuality, Violence Against Women, and Human Rights: Women Make Demands and Ladies Get Protection”, the legal scholar Ali Miller outlined a paradox. Despite the recognition of women’s human rights and increasing attention paid to violence against women in countless spaces, including through the media, the violence was not understood, prevented or adequately responded to. Miller points to two interconnected phenomena to explain this paradox. Firstly, the rise and practice of respectability politics. Due to this, more ‘explosive’ aspects of sexuality such as desire or autonomy are set aside in favour of issues that present less challenge to the systems of patriarchy, racism and class. And secondly, protectionism.
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 June 30, 2023
Privatisation and financialization of social protection transfer responsibility and risk, to the individual instead of the state. This has two important consequences: first, it absolves the state from its obligations, and second, structural oppressions, which create and entrench inequalities, continue to operate without any challenge.
Published on June 30, 2023
From the criminalization of abortion in Poland, to the anti-LGBTIQ+ laws being passed in Uganda, racist anti-migrant laws and policies across Europe and North America, and the push for punitive frameworks against sex work; these attacks aim to construct an exclusionary society that reinforces social hierarchies of gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, caste, and class. Make no mistake, this is structural and intentional violence.
Published on June 22, 2023
Feminists have long understood that poverty is the result of violent impoverishment and (neo)colonial economic exploitation. We know that economic justice is essential for the realization of gender justice - just as it is for racial, disability or climate justice. However, members of this Council continue to treat these issues in siloes, or even as competing human rights concerns.
Published on June 07, 2023
Protectionism views women, girls, and other marginalised individuals as inherently vulnerable and in need of state and patriarchal protection. However, these policies sacrifice autonomy and freedom and do not address systemic inequality and root causes of discrimination and violence. Join us at this side event that delves into the underpinnings and impact of protectionist policies and proposes alternative frameworks including prioritising bodily autonomy.
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 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

This report is a joint submission by autonomous collectives in Botswana, whose work is centred on the promotion and protection of LGBTIQ persons, women in the margins of society and young queer persons ’rights and freedoms, with the support of Iranti, Sexual Rights Initiative and Southern Africa Litigation Centre.

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.

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 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 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 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 May 11, 2019

This submission argues that the concept of trafficking should be debunked to give way to policies that ensure migrant rights and address migrant labour. In doing this, it deals with the definition of trafficking in the Convention and its consequent impact on women and girls, especially in the context of migration. The CEDAW Committee now has an opportunity to reframe the understanding of state obligations and standards on the issue of trafficking from a gender perspective, so that it is grounded in human rights and upholds bodily autonomy of women and girls.

Uploaded on April 26, 2019

We believe in a world where every woman and girl has the right to make decisions about her body, her health and her future. True gender equality cannot be achieved without access to safe, legal abortion.

Yet this vision is still far from reality, due in part to continued restrictions on safe, legal abortion in much of the world. Criminalizing abortion does not eliminate abortion; it puts women’s lives and health at risk.

Download the PDF to continue reading.

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 March 27, 2018

The Center for Reproductive Rights (CRR), the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI), Child Rights Connect (CRC), the International Women’s Health Coalition (IWHC), the Youth Coalition for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Plan International, the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF), the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) welcome the theme of the Human Rights Council resolution on the protection of the rights of the child in humanitarian situations.

Published on February 05, 2018

The 29th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from January 15 to 26 2018.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR29: Bahamas, Barbados, Botswana, Burundi, France, Israel, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Mali, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Tonga, and United Arab Emirates.

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 March 29, 2017

The SRI organized a side event on the margins of session 34 of the Human Rights Council to highlight the role of human rights to comprehensive sexuality education (CSE) in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The event was held alongside the annual Day of Discussion on the Rights of the Child and negotiations on a resolution on the Rights of the Child in the context of the SDGs. A diverse panel of speakers representing States, UN agencies and youth-led organizations delivered insights on the current political, social and factual context of CSE, the need to address deeply entrenched gender norms that stigmatize young people’s sexuality, and solutions that support young people in realizing their human rights, including their right to CSE.

Published on March 29, 2017

The 34th session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from the 27th of February to the 24th of March 2017. Here is an overview of resolutions, panel, oral statements and side events related to sexual rights that took place during the session.

Published on September 08, 2016

In recognition of the Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, the panel will share different country experiences of advocating for safe and legal abortion, highlight the human rights obligations of States to provide access to safe and legal abortion, and discuss opportunities to utilize HRC mechanisms to effect policy and legal changes at the national level.

Published on March 06, 2014

The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), at its recently concluded session, issued a statement on sexual and reproductive health and rights, which is its contribution to the ICPD@20 review process. The Committee reminds us that it “has observed that failure of a State party to provide services and the criminalisation of some services that only women require is a violation of women’s reproductive rights and constitutes discrimination against them.” It States that “the provision of, inter alia, safe abortion and post abortion care; maternity care; timely diagnosis and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (including HIV), breast and reproductive cancers, and infertility; as well as access to accurate and comprehensive information about sexuality and reproduction, are all part of the right to sexual and reproductive health” and that “every State can and should do more to ensure the full respect, protection and fulfilment of sexual and reproductive rights, in line with human rights obligations.”

Published on December 12, 2013

Human rights activists across the country are deeply disappointed with today’s decision of the Supreme Court in Suresh Kumar Kaushal v. Naz Foundation to overturn the historic Delhi High Court judgement of 2009, which decriminalised homosexuality in India. CREA believes that today’s decision to set aside that historic and progressive judgement is an unconscionable blow to people’s fundamental rights to equality and freedom from discrimination, violence, and harassment. This is a huge setback not just for the LGBT movement in this country and elsewhere, but also for human rights everywhere.

Published on September 20, 2013

To commemorate the 2013 Global Day of Action for the Decriminalization of Abortion (September 28th), the Sexual Rights Initiative organized an event that took place during the 24th session of the UN Human Rights Council to discuss the realization of women’s human rights, specifically women’s right to access safe and legal abortion, including through the decriminalization of abortion. Being one of the first events on the topic at the Council, it represents a ground-breaking moment in its history. Widely attended by over 30 representatives from Member States – making up half of the audience, UN agencies, civil society, women human rights defenders and academics, they assessed the human rights implications of the criminalization of abortion and explored strategies to strengthen government accountability and responsibility in respecting, protecting and guaranteeing women’s reproductive and human rights.

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.

Published on September 14, 2013

In support of the September 28 Global Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, the Sexual Rights Initiative, Center for Reproductive Rights and Ipas have developed a joint statement on abortion rights for delivery at the upcoming 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva. The session runs from Sept. 11-29, and the most suitable Council agenda item for the statement would appear to be the general debate on the implementation of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, scheduled for Monday, Sept. 25.

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 July 17, 2013

The ICPD Beyond 2014 International Conference on Human Rights took place in The Netherlands from 7-10 July 2013. The Conference is the second thematic conference, following the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Youth Forum (which took place in Indonesia, in December 2012), to take place within the scope of the ongoing review of the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD PoA).

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.

Published on June 20, 2012

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.