Study suggests UN needs to improve tracking of LGBTI Human Rights abuses
A new study from the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law has revealed the United Nations (UN) is increasing its focus on the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people, but more could be done.
The report shows a significant increase in the past decade on moves by the UN to promote and improve on the rights of LGBTI people.
Despite this, many LGBTI people around the world are still subjected to widespread persecution, violence and legally sanctioned discrimination.
Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, Associate Professor, Paula Gerber said: “In 80 countries around the world, men – and in some cases women – can be imprisoned or even sentenced to death for engaging in same-sex sexual conduct between consenting adults.
“The UN Committee’s response to this dire situation has been patchy, but there are signs of improvement.”
An analysis of the HR Committee’s work between 2003 and 2013 revealed the human rights situation in 139 countries were reviewed, with comments about LGBTI rights violations made in relation to 47 of these countries.
“Thirty-one of these 139 countries still criminalise homosexuality, but recommendations to reform criminal laws to remove these odious offences were made in respect of only 13 countries. Meaning over half got away with their ongoing criminalisation of homosexuality, a clear violation of basic human rights,” Gerber said.
Gerber told GNN in 2003, recommendations to reduce violations of LGBTI rights were made to four of the 15 countries reviewed by the committee. A decade later, 12 out of 15 countries were recommended to reduce violations to LGBTI rights, suggesting discrimination and abuse towards LGBTI people was increasing.
“There is evidence LGBTI rights are starting to receive more attention, but there is still much to be done,” Gerber said.
Gerber suggested shadow reports on the state of LGBTI rights developed from the ground up by community members, was essential to enable a true picture of whether violations were ongoing or had been stamped out.
“Governments cannot always be relied upon to present a true and correct account of LGBTI rights. Putin’s regime is hardly going to admit that gay men are being routinely attacked by mobs due to a sharp increase in homophobia in Russia following the enactment of the anti-gay propaganda laws.”
The shadow reports help give the Human Rights Committee a more in-depth understanding of LGBT issues and rights in specific countries, according to Dr Gerber.
“With relatively small adjustments to the workings of the HR Committee, its efforts to protect the rights of sexual minorities, including the repeal of laws that continue to criminalise consensual homosexual conduct, could become much more effective,” she said.