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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Collaborators: SRI, Canadians for Choice
Key Words: Abortion; Access to Sexual and Reproductive Health; Discrimination
Collaborators: SRI, Corporación Mujeres Al Borde
Key Words: Gender-based violence; Violence against women; Armed conflict; Femicide; Sexual Rights, Abortion; Secular State
UPR Submissions - 10th session
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.
Victoria Pedrido de Akahatá nos explica por qué Akahatá es parte de la SRI, y la importancia de formar alianzas para avanzar los derechos sexuales al nivel global.
Juan S. Jaime P., asesor para la incidencia en la Iniciativa por los Derechos Sexuales, habla sobre el proceso de examen que hacen los órganos de tratado a los Estados Partes y sobre las novedades que dejó la más reciente sesión del Comité sobre los Derechos de las Personas con Discapacidad.
"Intersectionality and Impunity: Locating Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in the Human Rights Discourse"
19 March 2014, UN Human Rights Council, Geneva
Side event by JSA Consulting, ICARH, ILGA, ISHR, Malaysia SOGI Coalition and the Sexual Rights Initiative.
Criminalization of Sexuality and Reproduction
Human Rights Council – Side Event June 12, 2014
You are cordially invited to attend an event alongside the 31st session of the UN Human Rights Council
Sexual health, human rights and law
14 March 2016 from 12:00 to 1:30 PM
Room XXI of the Palais des Nation
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
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.
Women Human Rights Defenders working on sexual rights in international and regional human rights mechanisms
5 March 2019, 13:00-14:00
Sexual Rights at the 40th UN Human Rights Council
Throughout 2018 the UN human rights system continued to be an important space for the development of sexual rights.
Deprivation of liberty of women and girls by the State, institutions and families is often the result of the need to control women and girls, accompanied by the fear of sexuality, its expression and assertion.
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
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.
Expected Resolutions Relevant to Sexual Rights
CREA, Women Enabled International, Shanta Memorial Rehabilitation Centre, Center for Reproductive Rights, and Sexual Rights Initiative
Cordially invite you to a side event to the Conference of States Parties to the CRPD Disability, Sexuality, and Holding States Accountable:
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
The 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from 11-29 September 2017. Below you will find information on some of the key sexual rights related: Resolutions, Oral Statements, Side Events and Panels.
The 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council is took place from 11-29 September 2017. Here are transcripts of oral statements made by the Sexual Rights Initiative.
This statement has been jointly prepared by 190 sex worker rights, women’s rights, and human rights organizations.
The 33rd session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from the 12th to the 30th of September 2016. Here is an overview of resolutions, panel, oral statements and side events related to sexual rights that took place during the session.
Thank you Mr. President, Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.
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.
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.
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?
Sexualrightsdatabase.org 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.
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.
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.
UPR23: Joint stakeholder submissions in collaboration with national organizations
During the 30th 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 Belarus, Bulgaria, Croatia, Malawi, Maldives, Panama, and the USA.
The SRI also delivered statements pertaining to:
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.
The Sexual Rights Initiative is hosting a panel on Unsafe Abortion and Maternal Mortality and Morbidity during the 30th session of the Human Rights Council from 2:30PM to 4:00PM on 22 September 2015.
Organized by the SRI, the panel will address some issues under discussion at the 28th session, including disability, racial discrimination, and the rights of the child, and how they relate to sexual rights.
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.
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).
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
The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) & International Planned Parenthood Federation’s (IPPF) Universal Periodic Review toolkit for sexual rights advocates is now available in Portuguese (thanks to UNFPA Mozambique).
Federation for Women and Family Planning pushes back against further attempts to restrict access to abortion in Poland
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.
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.
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).
Transformative reparations must also take into account that marginalized women have the least access to judicial or administrative remedies. Multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination serve to disempower, exclude, and stigmatize women, which if not considered in reparation schemes, will only reinforce existing inequalities.