International LGBT Rights

Every day, all over the world, LGBT people are abused in the form of legal and socially condoned discrimination, violence, imprisonment, torture or even execution. These serious abuses violate basic human rights that every person is entitled to.

There are many countries where LGBT rights have come a very long way and the LGBT community is, for the most part, accepted, open and proud. In some countries persecution and discrimination are explicitly encouraged by law and embedded in social values. This map clearly illustrates LGBT rights around the world.

Every day there are stories about rights recognized for LGBT people, but there are just as many terrible stories about discrimination, violence and abuse towards LGBT people.

Most discrimination and persecution is directed at men who are gender non-conforming or who are believed to have sexual relationships with men. This includes gay men, bisexual men and male-identified transgender persons. Women also experience extreme discrimination and persecution if they are gender non-conforming or believed to have sexual relationships with women, but sometimes at a slightly lower intensity and frequency because of pervasive sexual inequality.


Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity – Refworld

Refworld contains a wealth of documents related to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, including legal, policy and background information. This “Special Feature” on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is regularly maintained and contains legal, policy and operational material.

Apr 2013 – Sexual orientation and gender identity and the protection of forced migrants – Forced Migration Review

Feb 2013 – Blind Alleys: The Unseen Struggles of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex Urban Refugees in Mexico, Uganda and South Africa

In February 2013 Oram International published this guide intended as a road map for NGOs and other stakeholders providing services to sexuality and gender non-conforming refugees in countries of first asylum. The recommendations are derived from ORAM’s study of sexuality and gender non-conforming urban refugees in the disparate protection environments of Uganda, South Africa, and Mexico.

Dec 1, 2012 – Is Aid Conditionality an Answer to Antigay Legislation? An Analysis of British and American Foreign Aid Policies Designed to Protect Sexual Minorities

Oct 26, 2012 – UNHCR Guidance Document “Judging gender: Asylum adjudication and issues of gender, gender identity and sexual orientation”

Oct 23, 2012 – Guidelines on International Protection – Claims to Refugee Status Based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender Identity

UNHCR published Guidelines on International Protection No. 9 Claims to Refugee Status based on Sexual Orientation and/or Gender identity within the context of Article 1A(2) of the 1951 Convention and/or its 1967 Protocol relating to the Status of Refugees.

Sep 17, 2012 – United Nations Reveals New Worldwide Guide To LGBT Fairness And Safety

The United Nations Human Rights Office has released a new publication, Born Free and Equal, that outlines core legal obligations that countries have for their LGBT people. The guide is built around five core expectations: protect people from homophobic violence, prevent torture, decriminalize homosexuality, prohibit discrimination, and safeguard LGBT people’s freedoms of expression, association, and peaceful assembly.

2012 – Born Free and Equal: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Human Rights Law

This 2012 UN booklet explains the legal obligations in five core areas where national action is most urgently needed – from protection from violence, to prevention of torture, decriminalization of homosexuality, prohibition of discrimination and respect for freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

Mar 2007 – The Yogyakarta Principles

The Yogyakarta Principles are a set of principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. The Principles affirm binding international legal standards with which all States must comply. They promise a different future where all people born free and equal in dignity and rights can fulfil that precious birthright. Human rights violations targeted toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity constitute an entrenched global pattern of serious concern. They include extra-judicial killings, torture and ill-treatment, sexual assault and rape, invasions of privacy, arbitrary detention, denial of employment and education opportunities, and serious discrimination in relation to the enjoyment of other human rights.