The UPR Project at BCU: Eswatini

Our stakeholder report to Eswatini's Universal Periodic Review, led by Dr Alice Storey, makes specific recommendations to the government on the rights of women and girls with HIV.

eswatini flag large - UPR project


Consultancy background

In March 2021, the UPR Project at BCU submitted a report to Eswatini’s third cycle UPR, focusing upon the rights of women and girls with HIV. In particular, it engages with the issues of stigmatisation of women and girls and protecting female sex workers from HIV. We make specific recommendations on these issues to the Government of the Kingdom of Eswatini.

Download the stakeholder report

On the 13th August 2021, the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights published its Stakeholder Summary Report for Eswatini, which included multiple references to the UPR Project’s submission.

“UPRP-BCU and JS7 indicated that the stigma faced by people with HIV in Eswatini was widespread, particularly affecting women and girls, and that not enough awareness-raising on HIV and AIDS had been carried out.” (Para 13)

“UPRP-BCU recommended that Eswatini extend coverage of its current Health Promotion Programme, using different types of accessible media and scientific studies, to sensitize people on HIV issues, as a way of reducing stigma.” (Para 14)

“UPRP-BCU recommended ensuring protection to female sex workers,43 and cooperating with NGOs [regarding HIV testing and treatment].” (Para 18)

“Several stakeholders noted with concern that Eswatini had the highest rate of HIV across the world with more that 27% of adults living with HIV. They indicated that women were disproportionately affected by HIV epidemic…According to some stakeholders, the perception of women as subordinate to men and resulting gender inequality had increased the vulnerability of women to HIV.” (Para 38)

“The ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and the Maputo Protocol was recommended to Eswatini by several stakeholders.” (Para 3)

UPR Pre-session October 2021

On Wednesday 6th October 2021, the UPR Project at BCU attended the UPR Pre-session as a panellist for Eswatini. The Pre-sessions allow civil society organisations to present a statement on key issues to the UN Member State government delegations from across the world, as well as answering questions from the delegations, in order to encourage these UN Member States to make recommendations on certain human rights issues.

The UPR Project at BCU focused upon the rights of women and girls and female sex workers with HIV in the Pre-session statement, which you can read below. Alongside this, the UPR Project engaged in advocacy directly with UN Member States, urging them to make recommendations relating to women and girls with HIV in Eswatini’s third cycle UPR in November 2021.

Download the statement

Following the citations in the Stakeholder Summary Report, and affirming during the Pre-session that Member States should make specific recommendations regarding HIV, Eswatini received 6 recommendations on this issue. The recommendations also focused on the specific issues raised in the UPR Project’s report, such as stigmatisation HIV and the need for education provisions. All recommendations have been supported by Eswatini.

  • Redouble efforts to combat HIV/AIDS-related stigma and discrimination Recommending State: Ukraine (118.73)
  • Make efforts to promote the enjoyment of the right to health, guaranteeing access to quality health services, including for the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and investing in awareness-raising campaigns to ensure that all people are duly informed about the risks of transmission of this disease, as well as to combat the stigmatization associated with it Recommending State: Uruguay (118.127)
  • Further intensify efforts to reduce HIV/AIDS infections Recommending State: Georgia (118.142)
  • Continue its efforts to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS Recommending State: Iraq (118.144)
  • Raise public awareness about the dangers of HIV infection, including the harm associated with the stigmatization of HIV patients Recommending State: Ireland (118.145)
  • Continue to respond to the challenges posed by HIV/AIDS in the country Recommending State: Algeria (118.152)

About the UPR Project at BCU

The Centre for Human Rights (CHR) has been engaging with the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) since 2016. Under the auspice of the Human Rights Council, the UPR is an intergovernmental process providing a review of the human rights record of all Member States.

Through the UPR Project at BCU, the CHR we engage with the UPR through taking part in the UPR Pre-sessions, providing capacity building for UPR stakeholders and National Human Rights Institutions, and the filing of stakeholder reports in selected sessions. The UPR Project is designed to help meet the challenges facing the safeguarding of human rights around the world, and to help ensure that UPR recommendations are translated into domestic legal change in member state parliaments.

We fully support the UPR ethos of encouraging the sharing of best practice globally to protect everyone's human rights.The UPR Project at BCU engages with the UPR regularly as a stakeholder, having submitted numerous reports and been cited by the OHCHR.