Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

on Friday, 01 June 2012. Posted in Eliminating Violence Against Women

On Human Rights Day in 2010, the UN Secretary-General expressed his concern in a speech, when he stated:

As men and women of conscience, we reject discrimination in general, and in particular discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity … Where there is a tension between cultural attitudes and universal human rights, rights must carry the day. Together, we seek the repeal of laws that criminalize homosexuality, that permit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, that encourage violence. 

Non-discrimination is a core human rights principle embodied in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and core human rights treaties. The obligations of States to prevent violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity are derived from various international human rights instruments.  

United Nations entities have integrated issues of sexual orientation and gender identity into their work, including the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children?s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS). 

On the basis of the information presented in the first-ever United Nations (UN) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity: Discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, a pattern of human rights violations emerges that demands a response. The Human Rights Council requires Governments and inter-governmental bodies to address this gap. With the adoption in June 2011 of resolution 17/19, the Council formally expressed its “grave concern” regarding violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The recommendations to Member States are set out in the Report which draw on measures recommended by United Nations human rights mechanisms.

United Nations (UN) report on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity