UN releases ground-breaking report on sexual orientation and gender identity

16.12.2011

Human rights organisations are welcoming the release of the first ever United Nations (UN) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Entitled 'Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity', the report documents widespread discrimination and violence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

 

Human rights organisations are welcoming the release of the first ever United Nations (UN) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.

Entitled 'Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity', the report documents widespread discrimination and violence faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people around the world.

It highlights the duty of governments to implement their commitments and obligations under international law, by protecting the rights of all persons, regardless of their sexuality, gender identity or expression. The report also calls for decriminalisation of same-sex relations between consenting adults, and the granting of asylum to LGBT individuals at risk. It emphasises the importance of freedom of expression and assembly, and non-discrimination in accessing economic, social and cultural rights.

The mandate for the report was established at the 17th session of the Human Rights Council (the Council) (June 2011), by the UN's first ever resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The resolution was led by South Africa and supported by a majority of the Council, including countries from all UN regions.

It requested the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare the report, which will be presented to the Council at its 19th session in March. It also called for a panel discussion to be held at the Council to address the findings of the study in a constructive and transparent manner, and to consider appropriate follow-up. This discussion is expected to take place on Wednesday 7 March, 2012.

The panel will be the first time the issue of human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity receives such focused attention by the Council. When the report is presented, it will be important that discussion is informed by the understanding that human rights standards are universally applicable, regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

ISHR works to improve access to international and regional human rights systems by all human rights defenders, including those working on LGBT issues. A clear acceptance of the universality of human rights is a necessity for such access to be fully realised.

ISHR welcomes the progress made in 2011 at the UN on the issue of sexual orientation and gender identity, including the recent release of the High Commissioner's report. The report can be downloaded in English,Spanish, Russian and Arabic.