United Nations Reveals New Worldwide Guide To LGBT Fairness And Safety

Think Progress | by Zack Ford | 09/17/12

Born Free and Equal (UN Publication)


The United Nations Human Rights Office has released a new publication, Born Free and Equal, that outlines core legal obligations that countries have for their LGBT people. The guide is built around five core expectations: protect people from homophobic violence, prevent torture, decriminalize homosexuality, prohibit discrimination, and safeguard LGBT people’s freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly. The full list includes many policies that even the United States does not have in place:

  • Protect people from homophobic and transphobic violence.
  • Include sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics in hate crime laws.
  • Establish effective systems to record and report hate-motivated acts of violence.
  • Ensure effective investigation and prosecution of perpetrators and redress for victims of such violence.
  • Asylum laws and policies should recognize that persecution on account of one’s sexual orientation or gender identity may be a valid basis for an asylum claim.
  • Prevent the torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of LGBT persons in detention by prohibiting and punishing such acts and ensuring that victims are provided with redress.
  • Investigate all acts of mistreatment by State agents and bring those responsible to justice.
  • Provide appropriate training to law enforcement officers and ensure effective monitoring of places of detention.
  • Repeal laws criminalizing homosexuality, including all laws that prohibit private sexual conduct between consenting adults of the same sex.
  • Ensure that individuals are not arrested or detained on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity, and are not subjected to baseless and degrading physical examinations intended to determine their sexual orientation.
  • Prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  • Enact comprehensive laws that include sexual orientation and gender identity as prohibited grounds of discrimination. In particular, ensure non-discriminatory access to basic services, including in the context of employment and health care.
  • Provide education and training to prevent discrimination and stigmatization of LGBT and intersex people.
  • Safeguard freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly for LGBT and intersex people. Any limitations on these rights must be compatible with international law and must not be discriminatory.
  • Protect individuals who exercise their rights to freedom of expression, association and freedom of assembly from acts of violence and intimidation by private parties.

Last December, the UN Human Rights Council released a report about the extensive rates of LGBT persecution across the globe. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon has called for an end to this discrimination.

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