United Nations Addresses LGBT Human Rights

UNITED NATIONS ADDRESSES LGBT HUMAN RIGHTS

Passes resolution about violence, discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

June 17, 2011—In a groundbreaking move in Geneva today, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution addressing the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The document expresses “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.” It goes on to call for a study, to be completed by the end of this year, that documents acts of violence and discriminatory laws that are based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The body then will convene a panel to explore the results of the study and consider its recommendations.

South Africa put the resolution forward, which was co-sponsored and strongly supported by the United States and a wide range of other countries. In the end, 23 delegations voted in favor of the measure with 19 against and 3 abstentions.
 
“Our world is deeply connected and it is vital that we address the rights of LGBT people globally,” commented Selisse Berry, executive director of Out & Equal. “LGBT rights are not an issue for some countries and not for others. LGBT people live in every part of the world, and through their actions today, the United Nations demonstrates their understanding that discriminatory laws and acts of violence violate the fundamental human rights of our communities.”

The United Nations’ study of discriminatory practices and the degree of violence faced by LGBT people will shed new light on the scope of the problem and provide a clearer picture of the lives of LGBT people across the globe. Out & Equal applauds the actions of the Human Rights Council for its insight into the need to address sexual orientation and gender identity as important human rights issues. We also extend our thanks to the many human rights groups who worked to achieve this important step, including our colleagues at the Council for Global Equality.

In 2003, Brazil introduced the first UN measure that addressed sexual orientation; today’s resolution was the first to include gender identity.