Available translations: English العربيّة

Recognition of SOGISC rights at the international level

Graphic: Woman walks past corridor of flags at United Nations, Geneva


The rights of people of diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics are increasingly being given greater attention through the international human rights system.

NHRIs are also raising the issue at the UN Human Rights Council and in their reports to the human rights treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review.

For example, NHRIs have made joint statements to the Human Rights Council on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2014, 2013, 2012 and 2011.

The commitment of APF member institutions to counter human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity was acknowledged in a statement to the 16th Session of the Human Rights Council in March 2011. The statement – co-sponsored by Colombia, the Czech Republic, Ireland, the Netherlands and the United States – referred to the positive steps being taken by the APF on these "sensitive" issues, alongside the actions of inter-governmental regional mechanisms in Africa and the Americas.

Human Rights Council

Resolutions

Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, (HRC/RES/17/19) introduced by South Africa, adopted by vote (June 2011)

Joint statements

Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human Rights Violations based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, delivered by Colombia on behalf of 85 States, UN Human Rights Council (March 2011)

Human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, delivered by Norway on behalf of 54 States, Human Rights Council (December 2006)

Universal Periodic Review

Recommendations on promoting the rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender identity have consistently been made to States through the Universal Periodic Review.

A compilation of all recommendations made is available by searching the database on the UPR.Info website: http://www.upr-info.org/database/.

Treaty bodies

In May 2009, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights adopted a General Comment on Non-Discrimination, which provided a clear affirmation that discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation was prohibited under the International Covenant.

It also affirmed that gender identity was one of the prohibited grounds of discrimination – the first time that gender identity had been explicitly recognised by a treaty body in a General Comment as a prohibited ground of discrimination in international law.

Find out more

A useful summary of developments at the United Nations in relation to the rights of people of diverse sexual orientation and gender is available at:http://arc-international.net/global-advocacy/sogi-statements

Image credits

  1. Woman walks past corridor of flags at United Nations, Geneva - APF/James Iliffe