UN human rights office urges Kyrgyzstan to reject discriminatory LGBT bill

UN human rights office urges Kyrgyzstan to reject discriminatory LGBT bill

[JURIST] Ravina Shamdasani, a spokesperson for the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website], on Friday urged the Parliament of Kyrgyzstan [official website, in Kyrgyz] to reject proposed legislation [press release] institutionalizing discrimination against individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). The law, similar to a law passed by Russia last year [JURIST report], would criminalize any expression [HRW report] which creates a “positive attitude” towards LGBT relations through the media or online. Earlier this month, 79 members of the parliament voted in favor of the legislation [RFE/RL report], while just seven voted against it. It is the OHCHR’s position that “the proposed law would also violate fundamental human rights, including the rights to liberty, security and physical integrity and to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association.”

LGBT individuals have struggled both domestically and internationally against discriminatory laws [JURIST op-ed]. Earlier this week Human Rights Watch released a report in which it urged Jamaica to repeal laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations [JURIST report] between adults, and to remove the gender-specific definitions for sexual intercourse and rape. At the beginning of the year, human rights groups in Iran urged the president to end the prosecution of gays [JURIST report]. Last September the UN released [JURSIT report] a video calling for the end to LGBT discrimination in all countries. The UN has increasingly paid attention to this issue, as last year was the first time the UN held a ministerial meeting on LGBT rights [JURIST report]. Recently the US has focused its attention primarily on same-sex marriage [JURIST news archive]. However, in July US President Barack Obama signed an anti-discrimination executive order [JURIST report] aimed at ending LGBT employment discrimination.