During the twelfth session of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Geneva, the human rights records of Thailand and Trinidad and Tobago were reviewed and assessed by member states of the United Nations. The UPR is a process of the UN system whereby all 192 countries are questioned by their peers from other countries on their human rights record. Countries then make recommendations on how a State under Review’s human rights record could be improved to better comply with international human rights standards.
The UPR provides a unique opportunity for sexual rights advocates to engage with the UN system, their government and other countries to highlight their experiences of human rights violations in an international forum and to follow-up on the recommendations made by States in order to improve the policies and laws that restrict sexual rights in their country.
The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) Member Associations of Thailand and Trinidad and Tobago – Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand (PPAT) and Family Planning Association of Trinidad & Tobago (FPATT) – together with the Sexual Rights Initiative, submitted information to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in March 2011 regarding the serious human rights violations related to sexual rights in the two countries. These submissions, along with their intensive advocacy efforts at the UN in Geneva over the past six weeks, resulted in very strong recommendations from UN member states on a wide variety of sexual rights issues.
Key recommendations accepted by the Government of Thailand included:
? To increase its efforts to address the human rights challenges faced by all sex workers
Key recommendation deferred by the Government of Thailand until March 2012 include
? Apply a comprehensive sexual and reproductive health and rights approach to guarantee access of all sex workers, as well as their clients and clients’ spouses and partners, to adequate health services and sexual education
TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO
Key recommendation accepted by the Government of Trinidad and Tobago included:
? Undertake proactive policies to promote the rights of individuals, especially with regard to their sexual orientation and HIV/AIDS status
? Continue promoting equality, participation and empowerment of women in public policy making and decision taking
? Maintain its efforts in favour of prevention, punishment and eradication of all forms of violence against women
? Strengthen legislation and policy measures aimed at preventing and addressing violence against women
? Investigate allegations of possible human rights violation by public security officials and reinforce the capacity to sanction those responsible and avoid impunity
Key recommendations deferred by the Government of Trinidad & Tobago until March 2012 included:
Same sex sexuality between consenting adults
? Decriminalising same sex sexuality between consenting adults
? Repeal as soon as possible the provisions in the penal code and particularly articles 13 and 16 of the law on sexual offences 1986 penalizing sexual relations between consenting individuals of the same sex
? Repeal all provisions of domestic law that criminalise same sex relations between consenting adults including the sexual offences act
? Repeal all provisions that criminalize consensual same sex relationships between adults or discriminate against homosexuals
? Regarding the situation of LGBT community, adopt legislative and political measures to establish specific framework of protection from discrimination for sexual preference. Additionally, put in place public awareness campaigns on this matter
Minimal age of marriage
? Amend national legislation to ensure the minimum age for marriage is in line with its obligations under the convention on the rights of the child
? Legislation be introduced to ensure that the age of marriage is the same for males as for females
PPAT, FPATT , IPPF and SRI will be following up on these recommendations to ensure those recommendations that are under consideration by their respective country will be accepted in March 2012 when the outcome report of the 12th session of the UPR will be adopted.
Congratulations to PPAT and FPATT, and all involved in the advocacy efforts for such exciting and important progress on sexual rights.