UN rights office reports continued LGBT discrimination

UN rights office reports continued LGBT discrimination

[JURIST] Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community continue to face discrimination and human rights abuses, according to a report [text, DOC] from the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) [official website] released Tuesday. The commission found that while LGBT rights have increased since the UN’s first study found widespread discrimination and violence towards these individuals, the current state of LGBT rights still involves pervasive and violent abuse, harassment and discrimination. Specifically, the report states that, “there is as yet no dedicated human rights mechanism at the international level that has a systematic and comprehensive approach to the human rights situation of LGBT and interest persons.” It indicates that terrorist groups may target LGBT individuals and that the data available suggest high rates of homicide involving these individuals. The report, to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council later this month, calls on national governments in all regions to remedy this discrimination by, among other recommendations, legally recognizing same-sex relationships, repealing laws that punish individuals for their sexual orientation or gender identity, enacting hate-crime laws that will apply to those who discriminate against LGBT individuals, and ending abusive therapies and treatments of LGBT individuals.

LGBT individuals have struggled both domestically and internationally against discriminatory laws [JURIST op-ed]. In October the OHCHR urged Kyrgyzstan to reject a bill [JURIST report] that could have allowed for LGBT discrimination. Also that month 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. In early 2014 human rights groups in Iran urged the president to end the prosecution [JURIST report] of gay individuals. In September 2013 the UN released a video calling for the end to LGBT discrimination [JURIST report] in all countries. The UN has increasingly paid attention to this issue, as 2013 was the first year 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, last July US President Barack Obama signed an anti-discrimination executive order [JURIST report] aimed at ending LGBT employment discrimination.