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LGBT Voices from the UN / 2005

in AUSTRALIA, 11/05/2005

We will be working between this Commission and the next to consult and develop support amongst States and other NGOs

Agenda Item 14: Specific Groups and Individuals

Statement by Howard Glenn, Executive Director, Rights Australia,
on behalf of the Human Rights Council of Australia
61st Session, UN Commission on Human Rights, April 2005

Addressing the persecution of people on the grounds of their
sexual orientation or gender identity

We believe that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) has a crucial role to play in the advancement of the protection and promotion of human rights of all peoples.

Increased attention is being given to the denial of human rights to people on the basis of their sexual orientation or their gender identity. These are not new rights, but areas where more action needs to be taken, as documented through many of the special procedures and treaty bodies over recent years. The International Commission of Jurists has published an excellent document summarising this.

A wide range of NGOs are meeting and working to promote dialogue and initiatives to increase protection from persecution and other gross human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity.

As our objective, we seek a resolution, or resolutions, at the Commission which:
• Affirms the main UN human rights instruments and customary international law, and in particular the basic principle of universality of human rights as it applies to all people, whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity;
• Recognises and welcomes the existing work of the Special Procedures of the Commission on Human Rights, and treaty monitoring bodies, concerning human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
• Recognises and condemns human rights abuses experienced by lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people around the world, including extrajudicial killings, "disappearances", arbitrary detention, torture and the imposition of the death penalty for adult consensual sexual relations;
• Recognises that a well-founded fear of persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a legitimate ground for a refugee claim;
• Affirms the freedom to live without harassment, discrimination, vilification or violence based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
• Affirms the right of to work, education, health care, social security and other economic, social and cultural rights without discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity;
• Calls for States to repeal laws criminalizing consensual adult sexual relations, and refrain from any practice that effectively criminalises such relations;
• Calls for States to ensure appropriate educative, legislative and other measures to address human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity and to promote and protect human rights;
• Calls for integration of sexual orientation and gender identity issues throughout the work of the Special Procedures of the Commission and other UN human rights bodies; and
• Calls for continued consideration of these issues throughout future Sessions of CHR, and in any body which replaces the Commission.

We seek the support of States from amongst each region who accept the importance of this work. We invite these States to meet with us and prepare a resolution to introduce at a future session. We will be working between this Commission and the next to consult and develop support amongst States and other NGOs. At this session, we invite Delegates, NGO participants and other interested participants to:
• discuss these issues with representatives of the organisations listed below;
• take note of the interventions made by these organisations and by States at the Commission;
• attend the various panel and parallel sessions on these issues; and
• engage in dialogue as to the best way of addressing these concerns.

Organisations supporting this initiative:
ARC International
Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network
El Closet de Sor Juana
Gaya Nusantara Foundation, Indonesia
Global Rights
Human Rights Watch
International Commission of Jurists
International Lesbian and Gay Association
International Service for Human Rights, Geneva
Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD)
“Right Society”, Siberian Human Rights Network, Russia
Rights Australia
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