Sexual rights

Uploaded on October 12, 2023
This summary contains the essence of our panellists' interventions during our 1rst conversation on the the political economy of sexual rights focusing on the legacies and contemporary forms of colonialism, imperialism, and occupation, and their impact on sexual and reproductive rights.
Published on August 11, 2023
SRI is undertaking a series of conversations to explore the political economy of sexual rights and its implications for global advocacy. Our first conversation will be on the following theme: legacies and contemporary forms of colonialism, imperialism, and occupation, and their impact on sexual and reproductive rights. Join us for this exciting online event on 30 August 2023 from 14:00 to 15:30 CEST. Speakers will be announced shortly. Register now for this event using the form below.
Published on December 14, 2022

Below is our list of sexual rights-related highlights from each UPR41 review. This list presents recommendations made related to sexual rights, including State responses to date.

In collaboration with our partners, the SRI collaborated on reports for South Africa, India, Poland and the Netherlands for this session.

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 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 October 08, 2021

Patriarchy is pervasive and entrenched in Mozambican society. Women face restrictions and discrimination throughout their lifetime and in every sphere of life. The feminization of poverty and the greater incidence of HIV/AIDS without proper health care, prevent women from enjoying their rights. While important strides have been made by Mozambique as reported on during the UPR, much more still needs to be done.

Uploaded on July 02, 2021

In this context, also in Latin America, neoliberal, conservative and anti-gender actors, within and outside the state, were very active in attacking policies and legislation that could advance sexual rights and rights to equality, including gender equality, to create barriers in their implementation or to establish measures of state control and authoritarianism. Although it is important to note that the ferocity of such measures was not as much as in Latin America as in Eastern European countries, Egypt or Russia, it is nevertheless true that these groups found new arguments during the pandemic to add to those they already used. They took advantage of measures adopted by governments to disseminate their perspectives in different ways; from demonstrations to social networks and other virtual media, their speeches included allusions to different conspiracy theories, invocations to restrict rights and distributed false information, all combined to confuse audiences.

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 July 02, 2021

The revolution is feminist in its postulates as well and the key demand is the dismissal of the government. However the Women’s Strike, which organised the protests, formulated five key areas for change; these are: full spectrum of access to SRHR, a secular state, implementation of the Istanbul Convention, improvement of the material conditions of women and making Poland an inclusive and non-discriminating country.

Uploaded on July 02, 2021

At SRI, we believe that it would be foolish to treat COVID-19 as a temporary hiccup in a generally progressivist tale of the inevitable triumph of sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) as universally upheld human rights. Experience teaches us to always prepare to have SRHR gains be stalled, coopted, or deprioritized in a crisis, any crisis. The SRHR priority going forward must, therefore, be a refusal to accept “the new normal” – the normal of denial, deprivation, and discrimination – and recognize that the “war” that has been declared on the virus masks another war, one on fundamental and interconnected human rights. The further disempowerment of the impoverished, the unhoused, of gender and sexuality minorities, women in rural areas seeking abortion, adolescents in need of comprehensive sexuality education, sex workers, and women forced into marriage and childbearing – particularly in low-income countries and in low-income communities in wealthy countries – will be written off as the collateral damage of this war. Accepting the war analogy and the discourse of securitization that accompanies it means acceding to the logic of the necessary sacrifice of “foot soldiers” (frontline workers, in this case) and of the weak and most vulnerable among us, and provides a convenient distraction from the impact of the prioritization of military spending and of neoliberal policies of austerity and privatization on health systems and social security nets worldwide that have led us to this crisis. Research from different parts of the world clearly shows that there needs to be a joint, speedy, and concerted effort to catch the backsliding on women's rights, including SRHR, and we can expect that economic recession will be used to justify what the nationalist warcry might fail to.

Published on July 02, 2021

As the events related to the pandemic unfolded over 2020, the partners of the Sexual Rights Initiative sought to capture some of the key developments in sexual and reproductive rights – from restrictive measures and moral policing to the force of protests rocking many parts of the world.   

Halfway through 2021, as we struggle with the increasing polarization of the world along established colonial and class lines, we would like to gather to both share information and perspectives and to collectively develop strategies for continuing to fight for sexual and reproductive rights in different regional and national contexts as well as globally.

Uploaded on May 14, 2019

Held during the 30th session of the UN Human Rights Council, the panel identifies protection gaps for comprehensively addressing sexual rights and the work of the Human Rights Council in addressing sexual rights, while exploring new mechanisms and strategies that can be implemented to address sexual rights in comprehensive and effective ways.

Uploaded on May 07, 2019

9 September 2014 - Held during the 27th session of the UN Human Rights Council, to commemorate the 2014 Global Day of Action for the Decriminalization of Abortion, the panel explores the linkages between abortion stigma, criminalization and restrictive laws and policies, and examines their impact on the rights of women, particularly adolescent girls.

MODERATOR: Sandeep Prasad (ACPD/SRI)

PANELISTS: Chantal Umuhoza (Ipas Consultant); Rebecca Brown (Center for Reproductive Rights); Valentina Zendejas (IIMMHR/Instituto de Liderazgo Simone de Beauvoir); and Jan Moolman (APC).

Uploaded on May 07, 2019

Challenge religious fundamentalism

One important step in addressing protection gaps in sexual rights: taking a greater intersectional approach and perspective within the existing international framework.

Through a greater appreciation of a) the ways in which sexual rights intersect with other rights, and b) through an understanding and approach to human rights that seeks to address multiple and intersecting forms of injustices and inequalities, including related to sex, gender, age, race, ethnicity, sexuality, religion and ability, among others

Uploaded on April 26, 2019

Presently, a number of UN Member States and NGOs are advocating for the Human Rights Council to create a new Special Rapporteur on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (SOGI). From the perspective of the SRI, the proposed mechanism would be limited in its ability to protect the fundamental rights of people most in need and risks neglecting a range of sexuality and gender related abuses that demand the UN’s attention.

Published on August 31, 2018

The 39th session of the UN Human Rights Council will take place from September 10-28, 2018. Find below information about anticipated sexual rights-related resolutions, panels and reports, UPR outcomes, and parallel events taking place during the 39th session.

Expected Resolutions Relevant to Sexual Rights

Uploaded on July 01, 2018

In response to the Special Rapporteur’s call for input on nationalist populism, the submission makes the links between the resurgence of white supremacist, racist and xenophobic discourse in mainstream, right-wing and populist movements, related discriminatory laws and policies, and States’ complicity in furthering violence. It looks at the impact of racial discrimination in the area of sexuality and gender, and advocates for an intersectional approach to these issues.

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 December 11, 2017

The Sexual Rights Initiative invites you to visit our new and improved Universal Periodic Review Sexual Rights Database. The database allows you to search all the sexual rights related recommendations and references made during UPR sessions at the UN Human Rights Council, including progress on the implementation of accepted recommendations. The database is part of a suite of tools developed by the SRI to support State accountability for the realization of all human rights related to sexuality, reproduction and gender. UPRDATABASE.ORG

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 April 28, 2016

During the 49th session of the Conference on Population and Development (CPD) in New York, the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) officially launched the National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database. Simavi spoke with Meghan Doherty and Neha Sood, Policy and Advocacy officers with SRI partner Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights, about the importance of this database and how it could support local communities to improve their sexual rights.


Published on April 13, 2016

The Sexual Rights Initiative is delighted to announce that our National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database is now live! Thank you to the many, many people who helped make this project a reality.

What it is all about? is a one-stop-shop for national Constitutions, laws and policies related to sexual rights, including reproductive rights and sexual and reproductive health. Users can search by country or issue and can compare across countries.

Published on February 26, 2016

The panel will discuss key principles, approaches and tools for the promotion and protection of sexual health and human rights. Panelists will share experiences from the national and regional level and recommendations on some of the priority actions needed for the advancement of sexual health as well as address the integration of sexual health into SDG priorities.


Published on December 01, 2015

The SRI is competing for a permanent spot on the Global Giving fundraising platform this month. Through Global Giving, donors can now receive American charitable receipts for donations to our global work on sexual rights. By simply supporting our project “Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda” you can help us win a permanent spot on the Global Giving platform.

Will you help us earn a permanent spot on this valuable American fundraising platform?

Published on October 02, 2015

On September 22nd, during the 30th session of the Human Rights Council, we co-hosted a side event to discuss protection gaps around sexual rights. The five panelists discussed the nature and causes of existing protection gaps in sexual rights, and gave recommendations to further protections for all individuals in the field of sexuality.

Published on June 25, 2014

Alongside the ongoing 26th session of the Council, the Sexual Rights Initiative, in partnership with, Ipas, Amnesty International and UNAIDS, hosted a parallel event examining the interplay of the criminalization of sexuality and reproduction with the international human rights framework.

Published on April 15, 2014

A side event entitled “Intersectionality and Impunity: locating Sexual Orientation & Gender Identity in the Human Rights Discourse” took place on Wednesday 19 March 2014. The event was co-sponsored by, alphabetically, Coalition of SOGI Malaysia, ICARH, ILGA, ISHR, JSA Consulting Group and the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI). Panelists included human rights defenders from India, Malaysia, Nigeria and Switzerland as well as a representative of OHCHR; including the SRI’s Sunita Kujur (representing CREA).

Published on April 03, 2014

The 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from March 3 – 28 2014. The first week of the four-week session comprised of a ‘High-level segment’ during which high-level dignitaries addressed the Council. Below is a round-up of sexual rights-related news from the 25th session of the Council.


SRI and WILPF respond to the ‘protection of the family’ initiative

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 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 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).