The 25th session of the UN Human Rights Council Wrap-up

Published: April 3, 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.

 
UPR 17 Outcomes 
 
Outcomes from the 17th session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) were reviewed during this session of the HRC. The 17th session of the UPR took place from October 21st to November 1st 2013. The SRI collaborated with organizations and individuals in preparing five reports for: Belize, China, Malaysia, Mexico and Senegal. The SRI delivered statements for the first six States below, commenting on State responses to recommendations.
 
Belize – Accepted recommendations: “That the Unit on Family Violence and other competent bodies improve search and data collection systems, in order to accurately quantify the magnitude of the problem, its causes and consequences (Spain); and to “Step up efforts to provide information and education on sexually transmitted diseases to its population, as well as to combat stigma against people living with HIV/AIDS (Thailand).”
 
China – Accepted recommendations to “Maintain its effective protection for the family as the fundamental and natural unit of society (Egypt); and “Improve the quality of maternity services in urban and rural areas, increase the proportion of children born in hospitals and reduce the child mortality rate (Morocco).” Rejected the recommendation to “End the use of harassment, detention, arrest, and extralegal measures such as enforced disappearance to control and silence human rights activists as well as their family members and friends (United States of America);” stating that “There are no arbitrary or extrajudicial detentions in China. All criminal and security detentions are decided on and implemented based on the Criminal Procedure Law and Law on Public Security Administration of China. According to China’s Constitution and relevant laws, all citizens enjoy freedom of speech, the press, assembly, association and religious belief, and shall not harm the national, social and collective interests and legitimate rights of other citizens when exercising the above-mentioned rights. Illegal and criminal activities shall be prosecuted according to law.”
 
Malaysia – Accepted recommendations to “Take necessary steps to ensure the accessibility of the sexual and reproductive health services in Government facilities (Nigeria); and to “Take effective measures to reverse the increasing trend of HIV/AIDS incidence by strengthening the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on HIV/AIDS Prevention (Nigeria).” Rejected all recommendations related to the decriminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, and guaranteeing the rights of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
 
Malta – Accepted recommendations to “Further progress in combating all forms of discrimination, including against LGBT persons, through the introduction and implementation of appropriate legislation, policy and practice (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland),” to “Maintain protection of the right to life from conception to natural death (Holy See); and to “Take concrete steps in ensuring comprehensive sexuality education for children and young people (Finland).” Rejected recommendations to “Review the definition of rape so that the lack of consent has a central place in this criminal conduct (Uruguay);” and “Review legislation on abortion and ensure that women have access to legal abortion health services, especially in cases where their life or health is at risk (Belgium).”
 
Mexico – Accepted recommendations to “Strengthen sexual and reproductive health services to ensure that women who qualify for legal abortion services are able to access safe, timely, quality and free services in all Mexican states (Netherlands);” and “Enact and enforce laws to reduce incidences of violence against women and girls (Sierra Leone).”
 
Senegal – Accepted recommendations, which it believes are already being implemented, to “Maintain and reinforce all measures aimed at eradicating female genital mutilation, which is often related to other forms of aggression against women (Brazil);”and “Enact legislation that penalizes cases of rape, abuse and incest, to raise awareness on these issues, and to actively pursue the punishment of those guilty of those crimes (Netherlands).” Rejected all recommendations related to the decriminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, and guaranteeing the rights of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
 
Central African Republic  Accepted recommendations to “Establish training and awareness mechanisms to combat sexual violence against women and fight the culture of denial and stigma so the women may seek medical care and establish judicial complaints against perpetrators (Netherlands);” and “Take additional steps to strengthen the sexual and reproductive health and rights of girls and women (Sweden).”
 
Chad – Accepted recommendations to “Adopt the Penal Code and apply its provisions relating to violence against women, including female genital mutilations and other sexual violence, early and enforced marriage (Cape Verde);” and “Launch awareness-raising campaigns to address harmful traditional practices that adversely affect the implementation of its human rights commitments (Sierra Leone).” Rejected recommendation to “Prioritize the implementation of the reproductive health law and provide for sanctions against the perpetrators of the crimes of female genital mutilation, early marriage and domestic and sexual violence, ensuring the investigation of the cases as well as the prosecution and punishment of the perpetrators (Uruguay).”
 
Congo – Accepted recommendations to” Create a system, to include training for law enforcement, legal professionals and health care personnel, for providing legal and medical aid to survivors of gender based violence, including rape and sexual violence, domestic violence, and female genital mutilation (United States of America);” and “Ensure the implementation of a free birth registration system, exempted from corruption, for all children without discrimination, throughout all the territory of the country (Romania).” Rejected all recommendations related to the decriminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, and guaranteeing the rights of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
 
Israel – Accepted recommendations to ‘Redouble efforts to fill the gaps among the infant and maternal mortality rates of Jewish, Arab-Israeli and Bedouin children and women (Belgium); and ‘Introduce an alternative civil legal framework for marriage and divorce as an equally accessible option for everyone (Czech Republic).” Rejected all recommendations containing the term ‘State of Palestine.”
 
Jordan – Accepted recommendations to “Ensure the promotion of the family and its protection from social, health and security threats (United Arab Emirates);” and “Ensure proper and effective investigation of all crimes against women, including those with an “honour” element (Slovakia).” Rejected recommendation to “Amend the Citizenship and Nationality Law to enable Jordanian women to pass on their nationality to their children and spouses on an equal basis with Jordanian men (Norway).”
 
Mauritius – Accepted recommendations to “Adopt and implement a national plan to combat HIV/AIDS, with an emphasis on prevention (Thailand);” and “Consider mainstreaming sexual and reproductive health education in schools and offering access to contraception to young people (Slovenia).”
 
Monaco – Accepted recommendations to “Take measures to raise awareness of its new legislation concerning domestic violence and inform victims of violence about their rights and help available to them (Canada);” and “Establish a mechanism that monitors gender equality in employment, wage discrimination against women and discrimination on sexual orientation (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland).”
 
Nigeria – Accepted recommendations to “Introduce laws against female genital mutilation in all states, takes steps to ensure access to justice for women who are victims of violence; and that the Violence Against Persons (Prohibition) Bill is passed by the Senate (Ireland);” and “Ensure the protection of children’s human rights by reducing and eliminating domestic and international child trafficking, sexual abuse, economic exploitation, “baby farming”, widespread homelessness, abuse stemming from belief in child witchcraft, and forced conversions (Holy See).” Rejected all recommendations related to the decriminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults of the same sex, and guaranteeing the rights of individuals with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and expressions.
 
Saudi Arabia – Accepted recommendations to “Enforce legislation that criminalizes all forms of violence against women, including the Protection from Harm Act, and establish a system of regular data collection on such crimes (Republic of Moldova);” and “Give full legal identity to all women residing in the Kingdom (Norway);” Rejected the recommendation to “Put an end, by royal decree, to the system of guardianship of adult women (Switzerland).”
 
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