UN Brochure for your IDAHO Campaigning

Published: May 6, 2011

The United Nations speaks out

The United Nations is committed to fighting all forms of discrimination. Over the years, particular attention has been paid to tackling racial and sex discrimination, as well as discrimination based on a person’s health status, disability, or religious affiliation. More recently, the United Nations has become increasingly concerned with the prevalence of discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) persons are vulnerable to a range of human rights violations, including homophobic violence, killings, rape, arbitrary detention and widespread discrimination in the workplace and in access to basic services like housing and healthcare. In more than 70 countries, laws make it a crime to be homosexual, exposing millions to the risk of arrest, imprisonment and, in some cases, execution. The UN Secretary- General, the High Commissioner for Human Rights and heads of various UN agencies have all spoken out—calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and further measures to protect people from violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

The UN human rights treaty bodies, whose role it is to monitor compliance by States parties with their obligations under international human rights treaties, have consistently held that States have an obligation under existing treaty provisions to protect people from violence and discrimination on the basis of their sexual orientation. Similarly, the special rapporteurs, independent experts and working groups appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to report on human rights challenges, have issued dozens of reports, statements and appeals highlighting the vulnerability of LGBT persons to human rights violations and calling on States to repeal or reform discriminatory laws and policies.

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