International Law Links

Several international law covenants are crucial to the advancement of LGBT equality. Here are links to each:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted in 1948, is the foundation of the idea that each individual deserves to be treated equally and with respect — regardless of what culture or what  religion is dominant in a particular nation.

The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted in 1976 by the U.N. General Assembly, asserts that all persons are entitled to equal protection of the law and that “the law shall prohibit any discrimination…on any ground” including sex or gender.  The U.N. Human Rights Committee is charged with monitoring the ICCPR and in a landmark case, Toonen v Australia, ruled that the reference to “sex” should also be understood to include sexual orientation. (Click to see a news article about the case.)

The International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, also adopted in 1976 by the U.N., asserts everyone’s right to such aspects of life as education, non-discrimination in employment, and health care.

The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, adopted in 2010 by a group of international human rights experts, are often referenced in relation to ending discrimination against individuals because of gender or sexual orientation.

In 2011, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a report on discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence directed against individuals because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. It’s a detailed look at the variety of forms of discrimination LGBT citizens worldwide face. Read:UN_LGBTReport

The U.S. State Department catalogues LGBT human rights concerns in different nations each year. Access the 2012 Report here. View the previous: 2010 State Dept LGBT Report

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