Homosexuality

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Dear colleagues,
I am pleased to present my study on discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. In doing so, I am conscious of the divergent view both within and outside the Council on the rights of individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity. However, I am certain that none among you will be willing to tolerate serious, systematic violations of human rights against them.The Secretary-General says he didn’t grow up talking about these issues. The same may be true for a number of us here today. Like the Secretary-General, we are in the process of educating ourselves. But it is time to acknowledge that, while we have been talking of other things, terrible violence and discrimination has been perpetrated against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.This Council stood up for the rights of all when, last June, States from all regions joined together to adopt resolution 17/19 expressing “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.”By the same resolution, the Council requested me to prepare a study “to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world”, and to examine “how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” That study, prepared by my Office, is before you today. The study starts by recalling the principles of universality, equality and non-discrimination, and setting out the applicable international standards and the obligations of States under international human rights law. It then describes some forms of violence including killings, rape, torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, as well as provisions for asylum for those fleeing persecution on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The study considers discriminatory laws particularly with regard to three areas: laws criminalizing same-sex sexual relations between consenting adults, application of the death penalty, and arbitrary arrest and detention. It goes on to describe some discriminatory practices in areas such as employment; health care and education as well as restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly; discriminatory practices in the family and community; and the denial of recognition of relationships and related access to State and other benefits. The study also refers to some of the emerging responses recorded at a national level, and offers some conclusions and recommendations.With regard to its method, the study draws on almost two decades worth of jurisprudence and documented material gathered by United Nations human rights treaty bodies and special rapporteurs. It also integrates findings of regional organizations and data from some national authorities and NGOs.What emerges from all of the material we gathered is a pattern—a clear pattern of targeted violence and discrimination directed at people because they are, or are perceived to be LGBT. It is a pattern too-long overlooked by many States, and one that this Council has a duty to address.Let me touch now, briefly, on the three main areas of focus of our study, starting with violence.The first point to note is that violence against LGBT persons takes place in all regions. Commonly-reported incidents include: targeted killings, violent assaults, and acts of torture, including sexual violence. Official statistics are scarce. Many States lack systems for recording and reporting hate crimes against LGBT people. Others may have systems in place but police officers lack the appropriate training to deal with victims and recognize and properly record the motive for these attacks. We also know that...
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