debate on LGBT discrimination

IGLYO welcomes the first-ever formal UN inter-governmental debate on LGBT people discrimination.

The United Nation’s Human Rights Council in Geneva, held on 7th of March, is the first-ever formal UN inter-governmental debate on violence and discrimination against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. The event was opened by UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who through a video-message expressed his support to LGBT people. During the event UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, presented her groundbreaking report which documented discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. LGBT activists from all over the world delivered their own statements in response to the panel and the report.

UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, opened the event and set the tone for the members of the Human Rights Council, but also spoke directly to LGBT persons around the world, stating that: “We see a pattern of violence and discrimination directed at people just because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. To those who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender, let me say: You are not alone. Any attack on you is an attack on the universal values the United Nations and I have sworn to defend and uphold. Today, I stand with you, and I call upon all countries and people to stand with you, too. A historic shift is under way. More States see the gravity of the problem. I firmly oppose conditionality on aid. We need constructive actions. We must tackle the violence, decriminalize consensual same-sex relationships, ban discrimination and educate the public. The time has come.’’

Following the video message, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay, presented her groundbreaking report documenting discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, released in late 2011. The study starts by recalling the principles of universality, equality and non-discrimination, and setting out the applicable international standards and the obligations of States under international human rights law. It then describes some forms of violence including killings, rape, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as provisions for asylum for those fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

The study considers discriminatory laws particularly with regard to three areas: laws criminalizing same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults, application of the death penalty, and arbitrary arrest and detention. It goes on to describe some discriminatory practices in areas such as employment; health care and education as well as restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly; discriminatory practices in the family and community; and the denial of recognition of relationships and related access to State and other benefits. The study also refers to some of the emerging responses recorded at a national level, and offers some conclusions and recommendations.

The event was concluded by the delivery of statements from LGBT activists from all over the world which responded to the panel and the report. IGLYO applauds the endeavours of LGBT rights NGOs across the world and their interventions at the UN Human Rights Council.

IGLYO welcomes this groundbreaking report and such discussion for the first time at the UN level and is urging the States to take into consideration the results and recommendations of this report. IGLYO calls upon the States to ban discriminatory laws against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression and to put a particular focus on taking measures against homophobic and transphobic violence and bullying. We urge the States all over the world to protect and safeguard the rights of all people regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, with a particular focus on the needs of LGBTQ young people, whose experience is similar to, yet distinct from, the experience of the wider LGBTQ population.

IGLYO is a Brussels-based umbrella organisation representing the needs and interests of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer young people throughout the pan-European region. For more information, visit www.iglyo.com or email jordan@iglyo.com.

Further information can be found at: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs//2012/sgsm14145.doc.htm and http://arc-international.net/global-advocacy/human-rights-council/hrc19/sogi-panel-joint-statement.

The full report can be found here:
http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/HRBodies/HRCouncil/RegularSession/Session19/A-HRC-19-41_en.pdf.

© 2018 IGLYO, Chaussée de Boondael 6, Brussels B-1050, Belgium.