Ending violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

On 7 March, the Commission participated in the first ever Human Rights Council panel discussion on the issue of discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation.

It followed the submission of Report A/HRC/19/41 prepared for the Council that outlined some of the gross human rights violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals face globally – murder and corrective rape carried out with impunity, for example – and argued that the existing human rights framework already requires protection against these violations.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, spoke in strong support of these rights, as did Ban Ki Moon, the United Nations Secretary General. Many states also raised their voices in support, including the UK, Ecuador, Honduras, Thailand and Ireland.

Using the rights granted to it by its A status, the Commission presented a statement on behalf of 12 NHRIs, adding their support to addressing the grave human rights violations that are occurring in every country against LGBTI people.

While there was some opposition to this call for protection for the LGBTI community from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the Arab Group and the African Group, the session represented a breakthrough in the process towards formal recognition of the rights of all individuals, and the Commission was honoured to play a small part in that.

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