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A New Resource: SRI, IPPF: "Sexual Rights And The Universal Periodic Review: A Toolkit For Advocates"

in WORLD, 03/04/2012

The Sexual Rights Initiative (SRI) and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have developed this toolkit to help shine an international spotlight on human rights violations related to sexual and reproductive health and rights in your country through the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process of the United Nations.

The UPR mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council is used to review each of the 193 Member States of the UN on its entire human rights record every four and a half years. Although relatively new, it is a powerful tool to hold governments accountable for sexual and reproductive rights violations, and to advocate for changes to particular laws and policies that impact on human rights related to sexuality.

This toolkit is designed to assist Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) to bring their knowledge, expertise and experiences to an international forum which can influence the realization of human rights where it matters most, in the daily life of individuals in your country.  CSOs do not need to have in-depth knowledge of the UN system or human rights law in order to participate effectively with the UPR.  Knowledge and experience of national laws and policies that affect sexual rights in your country enables CSOs to participate meaningfully in the UPR because the UPR is all about the human rights situations inside the country being reviewed.

In the first four years of the UPR, sexual rights advocates have already achieved significant success.  Several governments have accepted recommendations related to sexuality education, access to abortion, female genital mutilation, contraceptive services, sexual orientation, gender identity, sex work, women’s rights, HIV, maternal mortality and many others.

The UPR is essentially a national process with specific moments which occur in Geneva, Switzerland at the UN Human Rights Council. There are several opportunities to participate in the UPR and you do not need to be involved in all of its stages for your advocacy to be successful. This toolkit will provide you with practical information on the UPR including:

• How to participate in the UPR
• Why the UPR can be important for your sexual rights advocacy
• Helpful tips to maximize your advocacy throughout the process from sexual rights advocates who are already participating in the UPR
• A guide to navigate your country’s UPR cycle so that you can decide how and when to engage

We hope that you will find this publication useful for your advocacy and your feedback would be welcome.  If you have never heard of the UPR, we hope this publication will convince you of the value of your participation.

NOTES: The toolkit was authored by Meghan Doherty (SRI), Stuart Halford (IPPF) and Sandeep Prasad (SRI).  The toolkit is currently available only in English but is being translated into SPANISH, FRENCH and ARABIC.  Translated versions will soon be available.  Once translation is complete, the toolkit will be available in all languages on a CD ROM.

THE SEXUAL RIGHTS INITIATIVE (SRI) is a coalition of organizations that has been advocating for sexual rights at the Human Rights Council since 2006 and includes Action Canada for Population and Development (Canada), Akahatá (Argentina), CREA (India), Coalition of African Lesbians (South Africa), Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (Egypt) and Federation forWomen and Family Planning (Poland).

THE INTERNATIONAL PLANNED PARENTHOOD FEDERATION (IPPF) is a global service provider and a leading advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all. IPPF is a worldwide movement of national organizations working with and for communities and individuals.

To access the toolkit, please click here

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