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Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda

by Action Canada for Sexual Health and Rights-- pour la sante et les droit sexuels
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda
Proudly Pushing the Global Sexual Rights Agenda

Sexual and reproductive health and rights are human rights. Working in collabortion with organizations around the globe to ensure states fulfill their human rights obligations makes a difference in 1000's of lives. At the 33rd session of the United Nations the Sexual Rights Initiative was at the UN Human Rights Council which 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.

The session recap features videos of resolutions, linkages to women's rights within different resolutions, summaries of the panels. Each session the SRI partners work together to advance sexual and reproductive health and rights in states around the globe. A webinar, described below and expanded upon further in the report, was delivered to leaders created intersections between human rights and bodily autonomy. Bodily autonomy leads to informed and empowered choice, it is an important issue intersecting with: consent, mental health, healthcare, maternal and child rights, and more.

Ensuring sexual and reproductive health and rights are integrated within the UN HRC and clear decisive language is used to extend and defend these rights to all is important work. Bringing the resolutions and recommendations back to each state to hold governments accountable for the fundamental rights to sexual and reproductive health and rights is an important element of the work of the SRI. 

Than you for supporting this important effort! For a report and further information about the HRC33 you can see what in included below and access links. 

Should you have questions about this work or wish to learn more please feel free to get in touch - donations@sexualhealthandrights.ca.

 

The HRC33 Recap provides information on some of the key sexual rights related: 
all of which the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) was engaged with during the session. 

 

Global Action on Safe and Legal Abortion 

Global Action on Safe and Legal Abortion

In recognition of the Day of Action for Access to Safe and Legal Abortion, the panel Global Action on Safe and Legal Abortion shared different country experiences of advocating for safe and legal abortion, highlighted the human rights obligations of States to provide access to safe and legal abortion, and discussed opportunities to utilize HRC mechanisms to affect policy and legal changes at the national level.

What is the HRC?

Created in 2006 to replace the United Nations Human Rights Commission, the Human Rights Council is the foremost international body for the promotion and protection of human rights and can be used to bring substantial pressure on governments to take steps to implement human rights norms. The Human Rights Council is comprised of governments of countries that are members of the United Nations and is an important venue to develop and advance sexual rights as a critical part of the international human rights framework.
Annual half-day discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples
Theme: The causes and consequences of violence against indigenous women and girls, including those with disabilitiesThe panel discussion will be based on a holistic approach to the issue of violence against indigenous women and girls, recognizing that such violence is deeply influenced by ethnicity, gender, and historical factors, and that addressing such violence requires an intersectional approach to human rights.The SRI delivered an oral statement addressing the legacy of colonialism, perpetuated by post-colonial power structures, patriarchy, gender norms and stereotypes and neo-liberal economic policies, which denies indigenous women’s agency, excludes indigenous women from development paradigms and increases vulnerability to violence and abuse. 

SRI Side Events

The SRI hosted a specialized training in Geneva wihere the panel articulated the benefits of advancing a holistic and intersectional understanding of bodily autonomy, explored the interlinkages between sexual rights issues affecting bodily autonomy, and encouraged the Human Rights Council to continue to produce contextualized analyses of sexuality and gender in relation to bodily autonomy. Bodily Autonomy & Sexual Rights

HRC33 Panel: Bodily Autonomy & Sexual Rights

The panel articulated the benefits of advancing a holistic and intersectional understanding of bodily autonomy, explored the interlinkages between sexual rights issues affecting bodily autonomy, and encouraged the Human Rights Council to continue to produce contextualized analyses of sexuality and gender in relation to bodily autonomy. 

With each session of the HRC we have an opportunites to further protect& guarantee the rights of women and girls, LGBTQI+, marginalized people, and so many more. See our full report here.

Links:

 

The 32nd session of the UN Human Rights Council took place from the 13th of June to the 1st of July 2016.  

In this report, you will find information on some of the key sexual rights related: 
all of which the Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) was engaged with during the 32nd session of the Human Rights Council (HRC32). 

 

Sexual Rights-related Resolutions

Accelerating efforts to eliminate violence against women: Preventing and responding to violence against women and girls, including indigenous women and girls A/HRC/32/L.28

 

For the first time in UN history, Comprehensive Sexuality Education is referenced without being qualified by a footnote.

The annual resolution led by Canada focused on Indigenous women this year and sought to renew the mandate of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences.

While the resolution lacked specificity in relation to the context in which Indigenous women and girls experience violence and their exposure to different forms of violence, the negative impact of colonialism and access to culturally acceptable services, the resolution did make advances in other areas. For the first time in UN history, comprehensive sexuality education is referenced without being qualified by a footnote. The resolution also references intimate partner violence and women human rights defenders as well as sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights, emergency contraception, prevention of adolescent pregnancy, safe abortion where permitted by national law, and women’s rights to have control over all matters related to their sexuality. 

The resolution was adopted by consensus, however, Russia introduced 11 amendments (7 of which were withdrawn), to remove references to the Security Council, intimate partner violence, human rights defenders and comprehensive sexuality education. All amendments were defeated. Reservations were noted by Paraguay, Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council), Togo and China.

AMENDMENT VOTING


Removal of reference to Security Council
YES 12 / NO 22 / ABSTAIN 13
L36 Rejected
 
Removal of reference to Intimate Partner Violence
YES 15 / NO 22 / 9 ABSTAIN
L37 Rejected
 
Removal of reference to Human Rights Defenders
YES 14 / NO 23 / ABSTAIN 10
L42 Rejected
 
Removal of reference to Comprehensive Sexuality Education 
YES 10 / NO 24 / ABSTAIN 12
L43 Rejected

Click here to read the resolution

Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice A/HRC/32/L.7

The annual resolution led by Colombia and Mexico focused on discrimination against women with regard to the right to health and safety, the theme of the most recent report of the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women in Law and Practice. The main ask of the resolution was for the extension of the mandate of the Working Group on Discrimination Against Women for a further three years.

 
The resolution contains strong language on sexual and reproductive health and rights including repealing discriminatory laws such as third party authorization for health services; eliminating legal, administrative, financial and social barriers that hinder women’s right to health; reaffirming women’s rights to bodily autonomy and to have control over all matters related to their sexuality; recognizing that women’s health care is often deficient in relation to privacy and confidentiality and informed choice; and calls upon States to promote a human rights based approach to women’s health.
 
The resolution was adopted by consensus, however, Russia introduced three amendments to remove references to human rights defenders, the Security Council and a human rights based approach. All amendments were defeated. In addition, reservations were noted by Paraguay, Ecuador, El Savador, Russia, Saudi Arabia (on behalf of the Gulf Cooperation Council) and China.

AMENDMENT VOTING


PP4 Removal of reference to the Security Council
YES 16 / NO 20 / ABSTAIN 11
L67 Rejected
 
OP7 Removal of Human Rights Based Approach
YES 16 / NO  21 / ABSTAIN 9
L69 Rejected
 
OP18   Removal of Human Rights Defenders
YES 14 / NO 23 / ABSTAIN 9
L70 Rejected

Click here to read the resolution

Elimination of Female Genital Mutilation A/HRC/32/L.31/Rev.1

Led by South Africa on behalf of the Africa Group, the goal of the resolution is to intensify efforts to eliminate female genital mutilation (FGM). The resolution was adopted by consensus. 


The resolution recalled FGM as a discriminatory practice and reaffirmed that the practice constitutes a serious threat to women and girls’ health. FGM is noted as a human rights violation and abuse of the rights of women and girls and expressed concern over the increasing medicalization of FGM. The resolution highlights that FGM has no relevant religious or cultural basis. There is also a consistent emphasis throughout the text of including men and boys in the process of eliminating FGM. 

States are encouraged “to develop, support and promote education programmes, as appropriate including on sexual and reproductive health, that clearly challenge the negative stereotypes.”

Click here to read the resolution

Protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity A/HRC/32/L.2/Rev.1

Presented by Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia, the resolution establishes a new Independent Expert to assess the status of implementation of international human rights law to overcome violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, research and report to the Human Rights Council on the root causes of violence and discrimination on this basis and to engage with States and other stakeholders on this issue. 

 
Saudi Arabia put forward a No Action motion on the whole resolution which was defeated. Russia and Pakistan (on behalf of the OIC except for Albania) put forward 11 amendments to essentially change the whole focus of the resolution and remove reference to SOGI. 4 amendments were defeated and 7 were adopted including troubling language on sovereignty, preservation of cultural values and morals, and rejection of interference by the human rights system on social matters including private individual conduct and national level “sensitivities”.  Further voting was called on individual paragraphs which were defeated. 

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 23 in favour, 18 against and 6 abstentions.

 

Click here to read the resolution

Addressing the impact of multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence in the context of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance on the full enjoyment of all human rights by women and girls A/HRC/32/L.28

The core group for this resolution consisted of  Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, and Uruguay. The resolution was adopted by consensus. 


The resolution calls for awareness of the multiple factors that might make women and girls more vulnerable to racial discrimination. Gender was removed from the title and discrimination in the context of gender is not mentioned, although there is mention of the need to integrate and mainstream a gender perspective into relevant policies and comprehensive gender-responsive, multisectorial policies and programmes.
 
The resolution calls for a panel to share practices to combat multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence experienced by women which will take place during HRC 36 (Sept 2017). A summary report of the panel will be made by OHCHR.

National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database
National Sexual Rights Law and Policy Database

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.

Why did we set up this database?

The right to make decisions regarding ones own sexuality and reproductive life, to accessible and affordable health services and to accurate, comprehensive health information are fundamental human rights. Yet, States in every part of the world continue to violate sexual rights with laws that seek to criminalize aspects of sexuality and reproduction, with discriminatory policies that limit access to a range of services and information, and with the absence of laws and policies necessary to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of all people.

Access to up-to-date information pertaining to national laws, policies and programs is critical to defending and promoting sexual rights at the national and international level. With this information in hand, advocates, organizations and governments are empowered to engage in constructive dialogue, hold governments accountable and to support the realization of sexual rights for all.

Who can use the database?

The database will be useful for diplomats, activists, academics and policy makers as a tool to advance sexual rights and hold States accountable for their human rights obligations. The website is open access and available to all people for free.

Where can I access it?

www.sexualrightsdatabase.org

How can I contribute?

The database is designed to be a dynamic tool regularly updated by our team of researchers and validated by experts in-country. Help us keep the information up to date by telling us when a law or policy has changed, volunteer to be a validator of baseline data or refer our team to an expert in your country that can help. We are also looking for feedback on the database itself, including user friendliness, suggestions for improvements and testimonials on how you have used the database in your work.

Learn more at Sexualrightsdatabase.org

Links:

The 24th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) was held at the UN Human Rights Council, in Geneva, from 18-29 January 2016.

Fourteen countries were reviewed during UPR24 including: Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Palau, Paraguay, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Solomon Islands and Somalia.

The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) collaborated with national NGOs in three of the countries reviewed to prepare stakeholder submissions and advocate for strong recommendations on sexual and reproductive rights. 

The UPR outcome for each State reviewed during UPR24 will be adopted at the 32nd session of the HRC from June 13th to July 1st 2016. The outcome report indicates which recommendations the State agrees to implement, and its responses to other recommendations. This is the only opportunity for civil society to make an oral statement during the official UPR process. The SRI, in collaboration with partners and allies, will work to ensure that sexual and reproductive rights are visible during this segment of the UPR process.

The intervening period is an opportunity to engage in dialogue with States on accepting relevant recommendations – and, at the same time, not accepting those recommendations that are inconsistent with human rights norms and standards. It is also a means for gaining the support of media and the general public.

Below are some highlights from each UPR24 review.

 

Belgium
Accepted Recommendations
Consider abolishing the requirements for medical interventions for transgender people who wish to obtain legal recognition of their gender (Israel)
Deferred Recommendations
Guarantee women effective access to justice in cases of harassment and sexual and domestic violence, and adopt legislation against gender violence (Venezuela)
Noted Recommendations
Adopt specific legislation on domestic violence, especially violence against women (Brazil)


Denmark
Deferred Recommendations
Amend the Penal Code in the Faroe Islands to ensure that the definition of rape is brought in line with international standards and criminalized in all circumstances, including within marriage (Norway)
Adopt the necessary legislative measures to ensure the integration of the gender perspective in all public policies at all levels of government, and prohibit and punish discrimination based on gender (Honduras)
Ensure equal access to public health for LGBT persons, removing existing legislative barriers for access to gender reassignment-related treatments (Uruguay)


Estonia
Accepted Recommendations
Develop and adopt legislation that would recognize explicitly hatred on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity as a motive and make it an aggravated circumstance in a crime (Bulgaria)
Deferred Recommendations
Legally recognize marriage between persons of the same sex (Spain)
Build on efforts to address all forms of violence against women by enacting specific laws that prohibit domestic and sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, and by investigating all allegations of violence, prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring victims are protected and have access to medical and legal services (Canada)

 

Latvia
Accepted Recommendations
Build on efforts to address all forms of violence against women by enacting specific laws that prohibit domestic and sexual violence, including intimate partner violence, and by investigating all allegations of violence, prosecuting perpetrators, and ensuring victims are protected and have access to medical and legal services (Canada)
Define incitement to violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity as a criminal offence (South Africa)
Deferred Recommendations
Increase the number and capacity of shelters for women who are victims of violence and ensure that victims receive adequate assistance, including psychosocial counselling (Liechtenstein)

 

Mozambique
Accepted Recommendations
Take all necessary steps to ensure that the availability of safe abortion services can be guaranteed, and to sensitize communities to the problems of unsafe abortion (Netherlands)
Ensure that all women have access to quality sexual and reproductive health services, including comprehensive sexuality education and modern contraceptive methods (Slovenia)
Defered Recommendations
Harmonize the civil status between men and women, particularly regarding the rights of inheritance and legal capacity to use, enjoy, and own, property, and set up policies aimed at eliminating the pay gap between men and women (Chile)
Include sexual orientation and gender identity amongst illegal criteria for discrimination, in social, economic and political life and eliminate norms prohibiting consenting sexual relation between adults of the same sex (Chile)

 


Namibia
Deferred Recommendations
Issue clear directives to health officials to prohibit the sterilization of women living with HIV/AIDS without their informed consent (Canada)
Repeal provisions criminalizing sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, to respect the principles of equality and non-discrimination among all people (France)
Abolish all discriminatory customary laws and practices that violate the rights of women in accordance with international obligations under CEDAW (Iceland)
Redouble its efforts to enforce the relevant legislation such as the Combating of Rape Act to eliminate all forms of gender-based violence, and continue the ongoing efforts to address the root causes and contributing factors of the violence (Republic of Korea)

 

Niger
Accepted Recommendations
Ensure the education and training of girls and women, including access to education on sexual and reproductive health (Switzerland)
Increase the minimum legal age for marriage for girls and develop and implement a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to eliminate child, early and forced marriage and to support already married children and adolescent girls (Italy)
Increase efforts to improve women’s health, in particular access to family planning services, maternal health care and eliminating the practice of female genital mutilation (Netherlands)

 

Palau
Deferred Recommendations
Consider amending its Penal Code and Family Protection Act to ensure that spousal rape is criminalised, and that the definition of rape include any form of non-consensual penetration of or by a sexual organ and that the definition be gender neutral so that men and boys are also protected by the rape laws (Fiji)
Introduce comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation, including discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Netherlands)
Take all necessary measures to promote the rights of women and to counter domestic violence, in particular by preventing and punishing more effectively violence within the family (France)


Paraguay
Accepted Recommendations
Undertake measures to prevent high incidences of early pregnancy, including comprehensive sexuality education in schools and access to services in support of sexual health and reproductive rights (United Kingdom)
Move towards the adoption of a comprehensive law against all forms of discrimination, including discrimination on sexual orientation and gender identity, that punishes and prohibits all forms of discrimination in public and private settings (Chile)
Noted Recommendations
Repeal legislation criminalizing women and girls for having an abortion, as well as healthcare providers performing such services, and take measures to allow legal and safe abortions at least in cases of rape or incest, in cases where the life or health of the mother is at risk, or where the foetus is diagnosed with grave health deficiencies (Austria)


Seychelles
Deferred Recommendations
Fully criminalise domestic violence against women and children, including marital rape and ensure that such acts are tried by Criminal courts as opposed to a family tribunal (Zambia)
Decriminalize consensual sex relations between adults of the same sex and strengthen legislation punishing all forms of discrimination, including on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity (Chile)
Take concrete measures to fight domestic violence, to prosecute perpetrators and to protect the victims of such practices, as well as to enhance the effectiveness and the financing of the police’s specialized unit, the “Family Squad” (Brazil)
Sierra Leone
Deferred Recommendations
Introduce the total legislative ban of female genital mutilation, to initiate a public discussion and awareness-raising campaign on female genital mutilation as a violation of human rights of girls and women (Czech Republic)
Reverse the policy barring pregnant girls from attending schools and sitting state examinations; and encourage girls to return to school after childbirth (Ireland)
Decriminalize same-sex conduct between consenting adults and pass legislation to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity (Canada)


Singapore
Deferred Recommendations
Adopt measures to protect the human rights of migrants, in particular foreign domestic workers through the revision of the legislation that establishes deportation in case of pregnancy or diagnostic of sexually-transmitted diseases such as HIV/AIDS (Colombia)
Formally repeal Section 377 A of the Penal Code criminalising homosexual acts (Austria)
Criminalize explicitly domestic violence and marital rape and make sure that the definition of rape is in line with international standards, and take steps to facilitate the reporting of domestic and sexual violence and protect victims (Belgium)
Solomon Islands
Accepted Recommendations
Take effective measures to increase women’s participation in public and political life as well as the labour market, in particular considering temporary special measures such as statutory quotas or incentives (Republic of Korea)
Deferred Recommendations
Reform the Penal Code with a provision encompassing the definition and criminalisation of all forms of sexual violence, including rape (Sierra Leone)
Include in the new Federal Constitution provisions on equality and non-discrimination between man and woman, in line with articles 1 and 2 of the CEDAW (Paraguay)
Decriminalize sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex (Chile)


Somalia
Accepted Recommendations
Adopt measures, including appropriate legislation, to prevent, penalise and eliminate all forms of violence against women, end impunity for sexual violence and ensure access to justice (Lithuania)
Deferred Recommendations
Modify the penal code to legally prohibit all forms of FGM. Complement punitive measures with awareness-raising and educational activities. Consider developing and action plan to intensify efforts for the eradication of FGM (Italy)
Reform its legislation in view of promoting non-discrimination and equality between men and women within marriage and for rights of women in case of dissolution of marriage (Madagascar)

 

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