Outcomes of the 12th UPR session, Country Reports adopted at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council

Published: March 24, 2012

DETAILED DOCUMENTATION AND THE WEBCAST ON THE REVIEW OF EACH COUNTRY CAN BE FOUND HERE: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Documentation.aspx

PLEASE NOTICE THAT ADDITIONAL WEBCAST MATERIAL, INCLUDING INTERVENTIONS MADE ON SOGI ISSUE BY NGO’S CAN BE FOUND HERE: www.unmultimedia.org/tv/webcast. TO FIND THE
RELEVANT INTERVENTIONS, PLEASE ENTER YOUR COUNTRY IN THE SEARCH YOUR COUNTRY.

Tajikistan
? There were no recommendations on SOGI issues. In the interactive dialogue Canada has Canada expressed concern at incident of illegal detention and blackmailing of LGBT persons. Tajikistan noted that they are working on transgender issues.
? A joint NGO statement (annex 1) drew attention to the continued detention and prosecution of gay and bisexual men, despite the decriminalisation of same-sex conduct, and lesbian women being forced into arranged marriages. NGOs urged the government to take legislative measures to impose appropriate criminal penalties for and ensure vigorous investigation of violence, incitement to violence and harassment, based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Tanzania
Tanzania rejected recommendations to include sexual orientation and gender identity as grounds for protection in all anti-discrimination legislation and policy and to repeal provisions that criminalise consensual relations between adults of the same gender.

Swaziland
? Swaziland rejected recommendations that urged the government to adopt the necessary political and legislative measures to establish a specific framework to protect against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation; to repeal all laws which criminalise consensual same sex relations; to implement public awareness-raising campaigns on this matter; to take all necessary measures to ensure enjoyment of the right to the highest attainable standard of health, without discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
? A joint NGO statement was delivered (see annex 2), drawing attention to the sustained sexual and reproductive rights violations of the people of Swaziland by the government and calling for specific measures to address the issues of women’s and LGBTIs human rights in keeping with its international human rights obligations.

Trinidad and Tobago
? Trinidad and Tobago accepted the recommendations to undertake proactive policies to promote the rights of individuals, especially with regard to their sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status; to adopt measures so that traditional stereotypes referring to the roles of men and women in society and family can be overcome; and to increase measures to ensure that violence and discrimination against members of vulnerable groups, such as women and lesbians, gay, bisexual and transgender persons, are both prevented and prosecuted. There was clear response however to the recommendations to repeal provisions which may be used to criminalise consensual relations between adults of the same sex; to adopt legislative and political measures to establish a specific framework of protection for sexual preference; and to put in place public awareness raising campaigns on this matter.
? At the final adoption, government addressed the need to change the thinking of the population with regard to SOGI issues. It admitted that legal measures to prevent discrimination should include HIV/AIDS. It is proud of its promotion of human rights of vulnerable groups stating “It is this maverick attitude of my government of Trinidad and Tobago towards the protection of human rights of all which will propel national debate and eventual change in relation to issues such as sexual orientation.”
? Amnesty International called for the government to repeal legislation that continued the criminalisation of same-sex relationships.
? In a joint statement (annex 3) NGOs asked the government to ensure that legislation to amend the Equal Opportunity Act of 2000 includes protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation as the current statute explicitly excludes such protection. An appeal was made to commence the nationwide human rights awareness campaign announced in October and to move swiftly to ensure establishment of a functioning national human rights institution compliant with the Paris Principles.

Thailand
? The national report noted that Thailand prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and, under the Constitution, gender identity. However it was noted that rights relating to gender identity need to be dealt with further.
? The summary of stakeholders’ information gave further details on this subject, expressing concern that there was no legislation recognizing sex change and same-sex marriages, resulting in discrimination against homosexual couples in regard to inheritance, immigration, child custody, social security benefits, health and pension schemes, and urging the Government to take steps to adopt comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation and policies, including for recognition of changed “sex” for transsexuals and same-sex relationships.
? In spite of this, there were no further references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the UPR process.

Ireland
? Ireland accepted recommendations to deepen the Reform of the law on same sex marriage and change the concept of traditional family as enshrined in the Constitution. The recommendation to amend Article 37 of the 1998 Employment Equality Act in order to prevent such discrimination against homosexual and unmarried parents was however only partially accepted.
? No specific mention was made of SOGI-issues by the representative of Ireland at adoption.
? In a joint statement (annex 4) NGOs urged the Irish government to address the legal recognition and support of children in same-sex families. The commitment to progress on same-sex marriage is welcomed, however significant challenges remain, such as homophobic bullying, violence and harassment targeted at LGBT people and the discrimination and marginalisation of transgender people in Irish society. Concern is expressed with legal provisions allowing for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in certain medical, religious and education institutions, and a call for legislative reform.

Togo
Government rejected recommendations to amend legislation to ensure that sexual orientation and gender identity are included as prohibited grounds for discrimination and to consider decriminalizing sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex; launch public awareness-raising campaigns on this issue.

Syria
Stakeholders called on Syria to repeal all provisions which may be applied to criminalise sexual activity between consenting adults. There were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the Working Group session or at adoption.

Venezuela
Venezuela accepted recommendations to continue to consolidate the rights of women and people belonging to vulnerable groups, including indigenous peoples and persons of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity, both within its legal framework and in practice. No further references were made at adoption of the report.

Iceland
? At the presentation of the national report Iceland had noted that in 2010 Parliament unanimously adopted legislation providing for a gender-neutral definition of marriage, ensuring the same legal status for heterosexual and same-sex married couples. It stated that steps were also being taken to improve the legal status of transgender people. However, no recommendations on these issues were made.
? A joint NGO statement (annex 5) was made recognising the efforts of the Icelandic government to allow for a neutral definition of marriage and the important steps taken to improve the legal status of transgender people. The government was asked for the envisaged timeframe for introduction and implementation of the necessary legislation and what other steps government would take to ensure full equality besides in legal status.

Zimbabwe
The government of Zimbabwe rejected recommendations to decriminalise as soon as possible sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex.

Lithuania
? The Lithuanian government accepted recommendations to refrain from legislative initiatives which may criminalise homosexual relations between consenting adults; to develop public awareness campaigns to combat manifestations of discrimination against LGBT people; to ensure the full respect for freedom of expression and freedom of assembly for all, including LGBT people; and take all necessary measures to prevent and prosecute all forms of violence and harassment related to sexual orientation and gender identity.
? The government indicated that it had already implemented recommendations to review the Law on the Protection of Minors against the Detrimental Effect of Public Information in order to remove all possibilities that this law may be applied in such a way to stigmatise or discriminate against LGBT people or to breach their rights to freedom of assembly or expression; that repeal any discriminatory provision in existing laws on sexual orientation and gender identity; had taken steps to ensure that legislation protects the full rights of sexual minorities.
? To the recommendation to take the necessary legislative measures and enact policies that recognise the diversity of families and provide same sex couples with the same rights and social security benefits as heterosexual couples, there was no final response.
? NGO’s delivered a joint statement (annex 6) stating their concern about a proposed amendment to the Constitution defining the concept of family as based on a marriage between a man and a woman, recommending Lithunaia to ensure equal rights between same sex and opposite sex couples in its legislation and policies. Government was also urged to act in conformity with commitments made during the UPR process and rulings of the ECHR, which entail the responsibility to ensure that transgender people have access to reassignment surgeries, and to pass a law regulating the procedure and conditions of gender reassignment.

Uganda
? The government of Uganda has accepted recommendations to investigate and prosecute intimidation and attacks on LGBT-community members and activists and to take immediate concrete steps to stop discrimination and assaults against LGBT persons.
? It however rejected recommendations to reject the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and decriminalise homosexual relationships between consenting adults; to immediately and unconditionally release all persons currently detained for the reason of homosexuality alone; to ensure that no person is subject to arbitrary arrest or detention because of their sexual orientation or gender identity; to bring an end to the defamatory and harassing campaigns against the LGBT community; to reconfirm its commitment to protecting the rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity in anti-discrimination and equal opportunity legislation and bodies; and to ensure equal rights for all individuals, regardless of sexual orientation.
? At adoption of the final report, the representative of Uganda noted that the Anti-Homosexuality Bill is a private members bill, as the possibility is provided for in the constitution.
? A joint statement (annex 7) was delivered on behalf of 7 Ugandan LGBT organisations expressing their concern with Uganda’s rejection of recommendations that would address the root causes of discrimination and attacks against LGBTI people. The government was called on to take active measures to oppose the Anti-Homosexuality Bill and asked to respect the rights of freedom of association and assembly making reference to the recently shut down human rights workshop. The international community and the Council were asked to hold Uganda to account if the unconstitutional and discriminatory Bill is passed into law.
? Also other NGOs, such as HRW, ICJ, Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l’Homme and United Nations Watch, called upon the Ugandan government to take sufficient steps to not let the bill pass.

Timor Leste
There were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the review and adoption of the final report of Timor Leste.

Moldova
? Moldova accepted recommendations to intensify its efforts to address discrimination against Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals and Transsexuals (LGBT), and investigate and prosecute crimes against LGBT-community members; to take action to build broad support for LGBT-rights in the new comprehensive anti-discrimination law; to allow members of the LGBT communities the right to freedom of expression and assembly; to ensure that public events planned by the LGBT, religious and other rights groups are permitted and adequately policed; and to continue efforts to adopt and implement the legislative framework to prevent, punish and eliminate all forms of discrimination, with special attention to gender equality and discrimination based on sexual orientation and disability.
? The government however partially accepted the recommendation to ommit internationally to the rights of the LGBT community by signing the Joint Statement on LGBT human rights from the March 2011 session of the Human Rights Council.
? Government emphasised that principles of equality and universality of human rights are important for promoting inclusive society; consultation on non-discrimination law revealed certain sensitivities (without naming those).
? In a joint statement (annex 8) NGOs urged the Moldovan government to express its explicit supportof the 2011 Human Rights Council resolution; to show its political will in ensuring that anti-discrimination legislation, including protection on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, will be adopted soon; and to respond to the recently adopted homophobic unconstitutional decisions by local municipalities.
? Civicus also called upon the government to ensure adequate protection of all minorities, including LGBT people.
? At the final adoption government responded that it is finalising a draft law on anti-discrimination in line with international standards and through broad public consultation. It stated that local decisions are administrative acts to which any person can initiate court proceedings if the person feels their rights are infringed by those administrative acts.

Haiti
There were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the Working Group review of Haiti, in the input documents or at the final adoption of the report.

Antigua and Barbuda
? Government rejected recommendations to adopt policy and legislative measures to establish a specific framework for the protection against discrimination based on sexual preference and to repeal provisions criminalising consensual relations between adults of the same sex.
? The government of Antigua and Barbuda did not show up for the final adoption of the report, but sent a statement. On the recommendation to implement public awareness campaigns on discrimination based on sexual preference the government responded that it recognizes the human rights of all citizens. It, however, considered the issue of discrimination based on sexual orientation a matter of concern, and was of the view that implementing policies based on sexual orientatton required extensive public consultation and education, “given the current predisposition of its people and their religious influences and indoctrination.”
? In a joint statement (annex 9) NGOs addressed the existence of discrimination and acts of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, contrary to the state’s view. NGOs urged the government to examine and address the root societal causes of violence; to set up a National Human Rights Institute ensuring reporting and seeking redress from human rights violations and declare a moratorium on enforcement of laws against private sexual conduct between consenting adults.

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