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Violence against LGBT communities remains "pervasive"

Graphic: Gay pride flags

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has released a report calling for action to tackle violence and abuse against LGBTI people.


The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has said in a new report that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people continue to be victims of "pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination" in all regions of the world.

Zeid Raad al-Hussein said recent steps by some countries to reduce violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity have been overshadowed by continuing human rights violations, which are often perpetrated with impunity.

While data is "patchy", the report said that available information suggests alarmingly high rates of violence, including hate-related killings, against LGBT people.

For example, the Trans Murder Monitoring project, which collects reports of homicides of transgender persons in all regions, lists 1,612 murders in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014, equivalent to one murder every two days.

According to the report, which was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council earlier this month, at least 76 countries retain laws used to criminalise and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, including laws criminalising consensual same-sex relationships among adults.

In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, consensual homosexual conduct may be punished by death, the report said.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern about laws enacted or proposed to restrict public discussion of sexual orientation under the guise of "protecting minors" from information on non-traditional sexual relations.

The report makes over 20 recommendations, including urging all countries to ban so-called "conversion therapies" intended to "cure" homosexual attraction, as well as involuntary treatment, forced sterilisation and forced genital and anal examinations.

It also includes calls to change laws to remove offenses relating to consensual same-sex conduct, to investigate and prosecute alleged hate-crimes and to prohibit incitement of hatred and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

In the Asia Pacific region, national human rights institutions (NHRIs) are undertaking a broad range of activities to promote and protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people.

A new roadmap to guide NHRI activities was adopted in February 2015 at a workshop convened by the APF and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in cooperation with the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM).

"NHRIs in the Asia Pacific region will continue to support and strengthen LGBTI communities through their research, education, promotion, monitoring, complaint handling and advocacy work," said Pip Dargan, Deputy Director of the APF secretariat and APF Gender Focal Point.

Date: 16 June 2015

Image credits

  1. Gay pride flags - burpesan, Flickr Creative Commons