Since February, security forces have arrested at least 24 people in Cameroon for alleged same-sex conduct or gender nonconformity. In Uzbekistan, videos showing the abuse, humiliation and beatings of men have been circulated around social media groups. In Poland, the government’s ongoing campaign against + people continues, with proposed legal changes to prevent from adopting children.
The continuing codified in the Universal Declaration of . Article 1 of the declaration accounts for factors such as language, religion and nationality, but relegates sexual and gender identity to “other status.”of + people is tragically under-acknowledged by the multilateral system. A failure to use the as a platform to raise these issues is a failure to understand one of its core purposes. There are no rights explicitly related to sexuality or gender identity
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Those who oppose+ rights still have room to use the excuse that such rights are not fundamental, not universal or are beholden to regional and local interpretation.
Free & Equal, the UN’s flagship campaign for promoting + rights, is a welcome step for the cause, using influential artists and activists as champions. Likewise, the 2017 standards of conduct for businesses on tackling discrimination against + people provides more resources for countering discrimination at the organizational level. The appointment of Victor Madrigal-Borloz as the UN’s independent expert on these issues was also a commendable move, in that it made + rights somebody’s job.
While they do show support, none of these steps do anything to modernize the fundamental architecture of the amendments to introduce a formal ban on same-sex marriage, showing that + hate is entrenched even in permanent member states of the Security Council, the UN’s most powerful branch. Campaigns and guidance may change some behavior, but they do not embed + rights into the UN’s cornerstone principles and agreements, meaning these rights still lack basic parity of esteem with other human rights.system. Russian President Vladimir Putin recently signed a series of constitutional
The argues that a specific set of + rights is unnecessary. Yet their absence leaves space for oppressive states to claim that they are less important or more fundamental than other rights. A campaign to introduce and ratify a set of specific rights safeguarding all aspects of sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and sexual characteristics should be a priority for all countries. Doing so would send a strong message of solidarity to those + people living in repressive societies.Office of the High Commission ( )
The Yogyakarta Principles offer a ready-made framework for codifying rules protecting sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, and (SOGIESC) into universal rights frameworks. A coalition of states publicly declaring its support for the principles would pile on the pressure at the , as would pushing for General Assembly votes for their adoption.
There are currently 10 treaty bodies, overseeing the protection of rights in areas including disability and migrant status. There is no treaty body safeguarding the rights of + people. Calls for the introduction and ratification of a new treaty providing safeguards for sexuality and gender identity would send a powerful message of support throughout the multilateral system.human rights
Alongside multilateral action, countries should be stepping up their game at the national level. Having robust policies on support for measures for the promotion of + rights abroad.+ rights would bolster countries’ credibility and authority when pushing for reform at the level. For instance, Germany recently announced comprehensive new
Other states would do well to follow suit, providing comprehensive diplomatic training on+ issues so that in-country staff can better understand the challenges and potential remedies around + . Shoring up embassies’ commitment to offer support and protection for those facing will also send a strong message to host governments that + discrimination will not be tolerated anywhere.
Here, sustained diplomatic and reputational pressure should be applied to countries that continue to persecute people based on their sexuality and/or gender identity at an institutional level. Using these venues to declare the many and varied forms of+ as a global crisis would demonstrate solidarity to those facing and send a strong message of resolve to those perpetrating it.
The resistance of certain states to particular rights is not a reason to believe that some types of discrimination are unavoidable. It is imperative to speak louder. More liberal countries that advocate for these rights should use every avenue to translate their vocal support into action, leading to tangible and long-lasting reforms at theand state levels. The current lackluster approach is a shame to all countries that purport to support equality for + people. They must do better.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Fair Observer’s editorial policy.
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