Outcomes of the 13th UPR session, Country Reports adopted at the 21st session of the UN Human Rights Council

Published: November 9, 2012



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

•    Ecuador accepted a recommendation regarding discrimination on the grounds of sexual and gender identity and implements measures to combat violations of the human rights of LGBT’s.
•    There were no references to SOGI issues during the adoption of the final report. 

•    Tunisia accepted a recommendation to put in place a comprehensive strategy to eliminate patriarchal attitudes and negative stereotypes of women in the Tunisian society as well as eliminate discrimination against women that still exists in the national legislation.
•    Tunisia rejected a recommendation to decriminalise same sex relations between consenting adults.
•    Recommendations that are still pending: to abolish legislation discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation, in order to guarantee the same rights to all citizens, including LGBT persons.

•    There were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity in the input reports to the 13th session. However, the Summary of Stakeholders’ Information in the previous cycle highlighted the fact that Morocco maintains criminal sanctions against some forms of sexual activity between consenting adults.
•    There were no references to sexual orientation or gender identity during the review of the Working Group, or during the review and adoption of the final report.

•    Indonesia rejected a recommendation to eliminate the legislation which criminalizes sexual relations among persons of the same sex, as well as all legislation which discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation (Spain).
•    During the review and adoption of the final report, a joint NGO statement (see annex I) drew attention to Indonesia’s rejection of Spain’s recommendation, and urged the Indonesian Government to protect the freedom of association and assembly for LGBTI persons.

•    Finland accepted a recommendation to “increase its efforts in the field of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, inter alia, by review of national legislation and administration with a view to eliminate discrimination against LGBTI people with regard to family and parental rights and the right to security and integrity of the person”.
•    In its opening statement to the final review, the delegation acknowledged that rights of LGBTI people in Finland are not always fulfilled, and emphasized that this is a continuous object of concern.
•    A joint NGO statement (see annex II) commended Finland on accepting this recommendation and urged Finland to pay more attention to the rights of intersex and transgender people.

•    UK rejected a recommendation to ensure equality and non-discrimination, including in employment, health care and education.
•    In a joint NGO statement, ILGA-Europe and Scottish Transgender Alliance stressed that more attention should be paid to the rights of trans- and intersex people.

•    India accepted a recommendation to “study the possibility of eliminating any criminalisation of same sex relations”, but did not accept a recommendation to “take measures to address violence and discrimination directed towards persons based on their sexual orientation, especially related to employment”.
•    During the adoption of the final report, HRW delivered a statement (annex III) stressing that the Indian government has not done enough to ensure the protection of women, children, LGBT people and the disabled.
•    In a joint NGO statement (annex IV), India was urged to decriminalise consensual same sex relations, to not conflate sex work with trafficking and to decriminalise sex work and all its manifestations.

•    Brazil accepted a recommendation of the Holy See to “protect the natural family and marriage, formed by a husband and a wife, as a basic cell of society as it provides the best conditions for raising children.”
•    Brazil accepted a recommendation to take measures to address homo- and trans-phobic crime, including by establishing a system for recording such crimes.
•    Brazil accepted a recommendation to amend its legislation for the legal recognition of same-sex couples (Finland);
•    In the opening statement of the final review and adoption of the report, the Brazilian delegation emphasized that the civil union of same-sex couples is already legalized in Brazil. 
•    During the adoption of the report, a joint NGO statement (annex V) commended Brazil on accepting the recommendation of Finland.

•    The Philippines accepted a recommendation on the effective implementation of the Magna Carta of Women in all fields, inter alia, labour relations, access to justice and sanitation, and sexual violence; ensure right to the highest attainable standard of sexual and reproductive health.
•    Two recommendations are still pending: to consider establishing a comprehensive legislation to combat discrimination faced by LGBT people; and to establish a legal framework in order to help women and men develop knowledge to enable them to decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including their sexual and reproductive health.
•    During the adoption of the report, a joint NGO statement (annex VI) called on the Philippines to enact and implement the pending Anti-Discrimination Bill.

•    A recommendation to eliminate legislation criminalizing sexual relations between persons of the same sex, as well as discriminatory legislation on the ground of sexual and guarantee the right to the protection of privacy to all persons is still pending.
•    There was no mentioning of sexual orientation and gender identity in the adoption of the final report.

•    Poland accepted a wide range of recommendations to “guarantee the full enjoyment of the rights of the LGBT community”; “recognize gender identity as possible ground for discrimination and gender identity and sexual orientation as an aggravating circumstance for hate crime”; “adopt regulations recognising the rights of same-sex couples and of self-defined gender or transgender persons”; “strengthen anti-discrimination laws with regard to a better protection of LGBT persons and persons with disabilities”, and; “institute outreach by police and law enforcement to LGBT persons and communities to increase reporting of hate crimes”. 
•    However, Poland also accepted a recommendation by the Holy See to “continue to protect the natural family and marriage, formed by a husband and a wife, as the basic cell of society, as well as the right to life”.
•    Four NGO statements focused on hate crimes and antidiscrimination law (see annex VII, VIII, IX and X)

•    The Netherlands expressed ‘no clear position’ on recommendations to develop a system of recording official statistical data on the most widespread crimes and offences committed on the basis of discrimination taking into account the legal obligations of the Netherlands in registering such crimes; Develop a national action plan to combat discrimination in consultation with civil society; Intensify its efforts to ensure that education, health, employment and social protection programmes are inclusive and not discriminatory. Apply also these measures to all the countries and territories that form the kingdom of the Netherlands.
•    A joint NGO statement (see annex XI) focused on transgender health care and the situation of LGBT asylum seekers.
•    In a second NGO statement (see annex XII), it was recommended that The Netherlands make a long term strategic investment plan to address the issues of sexual and reproductive health and rights of people with a disability.

South Africa
•    South Africa had received a large number of SOGI related recommendations. It accepted 11, including recommendations to combat discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, including through awareness-raising for police and other law enforcement officials; to enhance prevention, investigation and prosecution of hate crimes based on SOGI, and to ensure that victims of violence and discrimination receive support.
•    Rencontre Africaine pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme  in a statement that the violence against LGBT’s is an urgent problem in South African.
•    In a joint NGO statement (annex XIII), it was pointed out that gender- and sexuality- related violence against women and against vulnerable people such as refugees, sex workers, people who are gender non-conforming and people in same sex relationships is an urgent problem despite the host of laws that have been put in place. The statement called for the application, implementation and monitoring of existing policy.

Annex I
Wednesday 19 September 2012
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network, ILGA, Arus Pelangi and the Indonesian LGBTIQ Forum
Delivered by King Oey
on behalf of Indonesian LGBTI organizations, we commend the Government of Indonesia on the tremendous improvement in many sectors in recent years.
We also thank the Government of Indonesia for positively engaging with the UPR process and accepting many of the recommendations from other state parties.
However, we want to draw the attention of the UN Human Rights Council to the sustained discrimination against LGBTI persons in Indonesia; something that was an obvious concern of some state parties. Switzerland mentioned its concern about the discrimination and intolerance against people for their sexual orientation or gender identity, whereas Spain made a recommendation.
We regret that the Government of Indonesia has rejected Spain’s recommendation and denied that legislation criminalizing sexual relations between persons of the same sex in Aceh Province exists. The fact is that the Provincial Legislative Council of Aceh did pass a local ordinance on adultery, also called Qanun Jinayat, into law in September 2009. The only reason this ordinance has not been enacted was because it lacked the signature of the then governor of Aceh. At any moment the new governor may decide to sign it and the ordinance will be enacted. Being the only province where the Sharia Law can be implemented, Aceh has become the province where inhuman punishments such as caning are now practiced. With the implementation of the Adultery Ordinance the inhuman practices would have been expanded to stoning to death. At least the Government of Indonesia should guarantee that it would nullify any future enactment of such ordinance.
Madam, we also ask the Government of Indonesia to proactively stop intolerant groups from making inflammatory homophobic and transphobic rhetoric, which have often resulted assaults on LGBTI public gatherings and events. Instead, the Indonesian Government should protect the freedom of association and assembly for LGBTI persons.
Thank you.

Annex II
Wednesday 19 September 2012
Statement delivered by ILGA-Europe and Seta – LGBTI Rights in Finland
Delivered by Nori Spauwen

Dear Madam President,

We commend Finland for accepting the recommendation to increase its efforts in combating discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. We are looking forward to an effective and comprehensive implementation of the commitment.
Whilst we welcome this progress, significant challenges still remain. Transgender and intersex persons face serious discrimination. Gender nonconforming children face transphobic bullying in schools. Discrimination in the employment market is common, and many transgender persons remain unemployed. Intersex children sometimes suffer mental and physical complications due to surgical operations that lack medical grounds.
The government states that a working group will be appointed to examine the need to amend the Act on Legal Recognition of the Gender of Transsexuals. We urge the government to proceed with this commitment very soon. Persons applying for gender marker change currently face degrading conditions such as the infertility requirement. This shows the legislators’ lack of understanding of the everyday lives of transgender persons, many of whom already have children and families.
The government states that a possible need to amend family legislation will be discussed. Currently there are several legislative procedures where the equal treatment of families of lesbians, gay men, and bisexual, transgender and intersex persons should be taken into account. Children should not be treated unequally depending on their parents’ gender or sexuality.
The recently adopted National Action Plan for Human Rights has very few references to LGBTI people. The government must show concrete commitment to creating policies to improve the human rights of LGBTI people. While many authorities are already addressing these issues of equality there is a need for a more coherent and coordinated policy. We suggest drafting a comprehensive LGBTI policy action plan and defining responsibilities for implementation and monitoring the plan.
Finally, we thank Finland for a constructive dialogue during the UPR process and stand ready for further interaction to ensure that all LGBTI people can enjoy their citizenship in full equality.

Thank you Madam President

Annex III
Thursday 20 September 2012
Human Rights Watch (HRW)
We welcome the adoption of the outcome of the second Universal Periodic Review of India, which reflects a large number of important recommendations.

We are encouraged by recent positive steps on human rights by the Indian government. These include efforts promoting governmental transparency; measures addressing rural poverty; passage of legislation to protect women in the workplace and end domestic violence; the absolute ban on the employment of children under 14; attempts to provide universal access to primary education; and steps to protect children from sexual abuse. The Indian government’s decision to support the decriminalization of homosexuality is a very significant development that should have impact throughout the region and beyond.

The extension of invitations to Special Procedures and the recent visits of several Special Rapporteurs to India indicates a new willingness to engage with the international community on important human rights issues.

However, we regret that India has failed to comprehensively address recommendations calling for an end to impunity and repeal of laws that have led to widespread human rights violations. At the same time, enacting laws, while an important step, will not be effective in light of consistent failures in implementation that have led to continued rights abuses.

Despite repeated pledges to “zero tolerance” for human rights violations, the government has not amended laws that effectively provide immunity to military and paramilitary personnel implicated in serious abuses. India claims that all allegations are investigated and action taken through internal mechanisms, but instead, what we find are routine denials that violations occurred at all. Without an impartial and transparent process, such abuses will continue and remain unpunished.

The government has also failed to accept recommendations to review the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. The law provides the armed forces with widespread powers in internal conflict situations, facilitating severe human rights violations while protecting personnel from criminal prosecution. Even the National Human Rights Commission cannot independently investigate allegations of abuse against members of the armed forces. The government said that the Act was upheld by the Supreme Court, but failed to note that measures outlined by the courts to prevent abuses are routinely ignored.

The government has also not addressed concerns about limitations on the right to freedom of expression, including on the internet. In light of recent misuse of the sedition law to prosecute critics and peaceful protesters, we believe that the parliament should repeal the law. The intimidation of civil society activists remains of concern, particularly in light of recent comments that protests are instigated by foreign-funded NGOs, and increased scrutiny under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA). The Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders has made important recommendations to safeguard the right of genuine NGOs to operate without excessive restrictions.

Constitutional protections are not enough to end caste and other forms of discrimination in India. We hope the government will act on recommendations to institute a national action plan to eradicate all forms of discrimination and enforce training and sensitization to address caste, ethnic, religious or sectarian discriminatory practices of law enforcement officials.

The government should take steps to monitor measures to reduce the high level of maternal and child mortality. Despite its commitment, the Indian government has not done enough to ensure the protection of women, children, LGBT people and the disabled.

The government should prioritize the enactment of the prevention of torture law, ratify the Convention against Torture, and invite the Special Rapporteur on torture to visit India. And finally we are disappointed that the government has resisted the trend of UN member states and failed to adopt the recommendations to institute an official moratorium on capital punishment.

Annex IV
Thursday 20 September 2012
Statement of Action Canada for Population and Development
Delivered by Ms. Badarinath

Madame President,

I make this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative .
We welcome the Government’s commitment to ensure further access of all women without discrimination to reproductive health services and to implement mechanisms for safe abortion for all women and contraceptives to all women.

We also welcome the Government’s commitments and assurances to reduce discrimination of the basis of gender and to have a gendered perspective in their policies and programme.
We appreciate the Government’s statement agreeing to study the possibility of decriminalizing consensual same sex relations. However, we are deeply disappointed and concerned that the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill 2012 that has been approved by the Cabinet retains Section 377 of the India Penal Code, which criminalizes such relationships.

We acknowledge the government’s commitment to reduce trafficking. However, the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act 1946 is the only currently binding law that deals with trafficking and this law criminalizes different manifestations of sex work.  The law, by conflating trafficking with sex work, has ensured that many other forms of trafficking are ignored by the law enforcement mechanisms. Furthermore, it has resulted in violence against sex workers by state agencies, in their private lives and by clients. This violence is not addressed because of the criminalisation in law. This goes against the Government’s pledge to ensure non discrimination against women and all other vulnerable groups.
In this regard, and in keeping with the government’s stated commitment to non- discrimination against women, we urge the Government to;
•    Repeal the section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and decriminalise the consensual same sex relations.
•    Address trafficking holistically, look at multiple forms trafficking and not conflate sex work with trafficking.
•    Amend the Immoral Trafficking Prevention Act, 1946 and decriminalise sex work and all its manifestations.

Thank you.

Annex V
Thursday 20 September 2012

ILGA, Sexual Rights Initiative and Brazilian Association of Lesbians, Gays, Bisexual and Trans persons
Delivered by Patricia Curzi
Madam President,

We welcome the Brazilian government response to the recommendation made by The Holy See requesting the protection of the natural family as being "a better environment to raise children". This calls attention to the premises already inscribed in the Federal Constitution in that regard, and underlines that Brazilian institutions already recognize other family arrangements as also being eligible for protection, such as women raising children alone and same sex couples as family units. However, it is important to note that – although the Federal Supreme Court has recognized the legitimacy of same sex civil unions – since no legislation recognizes the right of same-sex couples to marry and form a family on an equal footing, in this particular domain the constitutional principle of equality is being violated.
We also welcome the acceptance of the recommendation made by Finland that Brazil must take measures to address homo- and trans-phobic crimes, including by establishing a system for recording such crimes. We urge the Brazilian government to observe and fulfill this commitment as soon as possible, taking the necessary measures to overcome impunity that prevails in relation to this type of crime. A recent survey made by activist networks informs that at least 85 murders of transgender people have occurred between January and August 2012, which have not always been subject to proper investigation.

Regarding the recommendation made by Namibia to continue implementing religious teaching programs in public schools, we strongly support the Brazilian government in its reaffirmation of the secular principles of the Brazilian State. The national legislation provides for religious education as an optional enrollment, but this definition does imply compulsory confessional or inter-confessional teaching of any Faith. Furthermore existing legislation forbids all forms of proselytism.
Thank you.


Annex VI
Thursday 20 September 2012
COC Netherlands, STRAP Kababaihan Philippines Inc, Progay Philippines, Rainbow Rights Project Inc, MCCQC, IGLHRC Asia program
Delivered by Rica Paras

Madame President,
I make this statement also on behalf of a coalition of organisations in the Philippines advocating for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.

We use this opportunity to speak today to thank the Philippine Government for fully accepting recommendations related to human rights education, to the protection of women and children, to efforts on the elimination of corporal punishment and domestic violence, as well as recommendations related to sexual and reproductive rights.
However, we are concerned by the Philippine Government’s lack of political will to enact laws that will protect the welfare and lives of LGBT Filipinos. We continue to be victims of gender-based violence, gay killings, LGBT youth bullying, abuse, harassment and threats to our security. We are refused entry to public institutions and private establishments simply because of our gender expression. Our financial situation is continually deprived and challenged because we are unable to secure work and education, even expelled from our homes by our own families.
Meanwhile, the anti-discrimination bill has been languishing in our lower house for more than a decade now. So, we use our voice today to remind the Philippine Government of its obligation as duty-bearer to protect the rights of all its citizens regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.

So we urge the Philippine Government to take immediate steps to address the human rights violations, discrimination and violence that LGBT people face on a daily basis in the Philippines and make human rights a reality for us all.
We call on the Philippine government to:
•    Enact and effectively implement the pending Anti-Discrimination Bill that will ensure equality of all people regardless of Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Gender Expression
•    Launch a Congressional inquiry on Violence against LGBT people in aid of legislation, and
•    Initiate dialogues in aid of Gender Recognition legislation to ensure full and inclusive legal recognition of transgender people in their preferred gender.
•    Finally, we will continue to monitor and report on the commitment of The Philippine Government to ensure that all lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Filipinos can enjoy their citizenship in full equality and in fairness.

Maraming Salamat Po!  Thank you Madame President

Annex VII
Thursday 20 September 2012
COC Netherlands and Campaign against Homophobia
Delivered by Agata Chaber
Madam President,

Campaign Against Homophobia wishes to recognize some of the efforts of the State’s Secretary for Equal Treatment to mainstream LGBT issues. For the first time has a Government Body proposed a National Equality Programme that includes the needs of the LGBT community. The problem of homophobia and transphobia has been also recognized by the authorities and implementations in police training are being made with the help of NGOs.

Nonetheless – the situation of LGBT persons still remains difficult. Homophobic and transphobic hate speech and hate crimes are common and threaten individuals, their families and friend and the whole community.

During the UPR process the implementation of the long awaited ‘Antidiscrimination Law’ was mentioned. We would like to point out that this act does not insure equal treatment, as is excludes LGB persons in the scope of health services, education, access to goods and services. Gender identity is not mentioned at all. Transgender persons have been mostly neglected by the State – they suffer violence and ridicule, the procedures of legal gender reassignment are stigmatizing and inaccessible. The Polish State does not refund any part of the medical procedure.
The government has also refrained from announcing their position on introduction of a civil partnership act, although the current legislations and their interpretation does not give sufficient rights to cohabiting same-sex partners.
We urge the government of Poland to:
–    Adopt hate crime and speech laws pointing specifically to ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as motives of crime.
–    Amend the Antidiscrimination Act so it fully protects LGBT persons.
–    Regulate the situation of cohabitating same-sex partners without discrimination.
–    Support the pending gender recognition law and insure that transgender person’s rights are secured in accordance with international documents, applied according to the Yogyakarta Principles.
–    Guarantee trans person’s access to refunded treatment and at the same the right to life in accordance with their gender identity and expression.

Thank you, Madame President.

Annex VIII
Thursday 20 September 2012
ILGA Europe and Polish Society of Antidiscrimination Law
Delivered by Nori Spauwen

Madam President,
We would like to draw the Council’s attention to issues related to the protection against discrimination in Poland.

Firstly it has to be recognized that, whilst some anti-discrimination provisions have been adopted, the lack of equal legal protection from discrimination for all people in all areas of life remains problematic. The Act of 3 December 2010 on the implementation of certain provisions of the European Union on equal treatment does not ensure sufficient equal treatment and has limited scope in relation to disability, age, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion or belief. There are certain areas of life – for instance health care – in which there is no protection for women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex people, persons with disabilities and older persons. We urge the Polish Government to revise and amend this Act  so that it guarantees protection of all groups in all areas of life.
Additionally, following the recommendation made by Norway, we call upon the Polish Government to allocate sufficient financial resources for the Office of the Ombudsman in order to fulfill its obligations as an independent organ for equal treatment.

Secondly, it must be noted that although The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was ratified by Poland, there was an interpretative declaration under art. 12 that does not guarantee the enjoyment of equal legal capacity for persons with disabilities in all aspects of life. The Polish Civil Code still contains provisions on incapacitation of people with mental disabilities which contradicts with the principle of equality of legal capacity laid down by the Convention. This means that the level of protection for people with disabilities against discrimination is reduced. We urge the Polish government to revise and amend relevant provisions regarding this issue and adjust them to the standard set up by the Convention.
Moreover, under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, the Polish Ombudsman was also granted new competences in terms of monitoring of implementation of the Convention. Therefore, we once again urge the Polish Government to ensure that the Ombudsman’s office is adequately financed to fulfill its roles in this regard.
Thank you for your attention.

Annex IX
Thursday 20 September 2012
Action Canada for Population and Development and Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI)
Delivered by Stuart Halford

Thank you Madam President,
This statement is made by FWFP and is also on behalf of the Sex

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