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  • DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS BASED ON THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION – UN REPORT – 2015

DISCRIMINATION AND VIOLENCE AGAINST INDIVIDUALS BASED ON THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION – UN REPORT – 2015

On 1st June 2015, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report on human rights violations against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.

The report notes that LGBTI people face “continuing, pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination” across the world.

KEY FINDINGS 

The report finds that LGBTI people are subjected to hate-motivated violence on a widespread scale. Often, perpetrators face no consequences for such actions. Additionally, LGBTI people are also victims of torture and ill-treatment, including in custody and in hospitals.

Consensual same-sex relationships are criminalised in 76 countries. In seven of these countries, the sentence may extend to death penalty. Further, the rights of LGBT individuals are restricted in many countries, especially with regard to freedom of expression, association and assembly.

The report also notes that LGBTI persons face “everyday discrimination” in education, healthcare, employment, housing and within families. This is facilitated by a lack of effective anti-discrimination laws.

States are legally bound by international human rights law to respect, protect and fulfil the human rights of all LGBT and intersex people.

KEY RECOMMENDATIONS

The report recommends that states repeal laws that punish people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. It also recommends states to take the following actions:

  • Enact effective anti-discrimination laws which protect LGBTI persons
  • Combat entrenched discriminatory attitudes by running public education campaigns
  • Investigate any alleged hate crime against LGBTI persons and enact laws that impose more stringent punishment against persons who commit targeted violence
  • Ban forced and involuntary treatment and medical procedures on LGBT and intersex people.
  • Provide legal recognition to same-sex couples and protect the rights of their children.
  • Ensure that everyone has access to legal identity documents that reflect their self-identified gender without abusive requirements.
  • Ensure that no one fleeing persecution on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender is returned to a country where their life or freedom would be threatened.

The report notes that states should consult LGBTI persons when making laws and policies that impact their rights.

PROGRESS 

The report identifies the progress that has been made around the world on these issues in the intervening period, including:

  • Decriminalisation of consensual same-sex relationships in 3 countries;
  • Adoption or strengthening of anti-discrimination or hate crime laws, extending protection for LGBT and intersex people, in 14 countries
  • Introduction of same-sex marriage/civil unions in 12 countries;
  • Change of gender recognition laws which make it easier for transgender people to obtain legal identification documents with their self-identified gender, in 10 countries;
  • Introduction of legal protection for the physical integrity of intersex children in 1 country; and
  • Introduction of gender and sexuality sensitivity training for medical staff, teachers, police, judges and prison guards, and anti-bullying campaigns, in dozens of countries.