United Nations’ landmark report calls for worldwide decriminalization of same-sex relations

United Nations’ landmark report calls for worldwide decriminalization of same-sex relations

The United Nations has produced its first ever report on LGBT rights, calling for the decriminalization of same-sex relations between consenting adults, and includes a call for protection and recognition of the self-identified gender of transgender persons.

The report comes following a request by the UN Human Rights Council’s High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, following an historic resolution in June of this year.

According to the report, “In all regions, people experience violence and discrimination because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.”

In many cases, even the perception of homosexuality or transgender identity puts people at risk. Violations include – but are not limited to – killings, rape and physical attacks, torture, arbitrary detention, the denial of rights to assembly, expression and information, and discrimination in employment, health and education.

United Nations mechanisms, including human rights treaty bodies and the special procedures of the Human Rights Council, have documented such violations for close to two decades.


While not addressing all violations perpetrated in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity, the present report highlights critical human rights concerns that States have an obligation to address, and highlights emerging responses. It draws on United Nations sources, and includes data and findings from regional organizations, some national authorities and non-governmental organizations.

“The report is a tribute to all of the activists who have fought for recognition of homophobic violence and transphobic discrimination over decades, often in the face of extreme hostility,” said Jessica Stern, Acting Executive Director of The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.

“It will serve as an invaluable aid to each one of us who seeks to advance LGBT rights – not only at the United Nations but in cities and towns around the world,” Stern said.

The release of Pillay’s report follows another landmark at the United Nations, which was the Dec. 10 international consultation organized by UNESCO to address bullying against LGBT students in educational institutions — the conference in Rio de Janeiro brought together experts from UN agencies, non-governmental organizations, ministries of education and academia from more than 25 countries around the world.

The findings of the report are due to be presented and discussed by governments at the Human Rights Council in March 2012.

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