ILGA World launches Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit


Geneva, 3 October 2019 – ILGA World is proud to launch the first toolkit focusing on strategic litigation with the UN Treaty Bodies and on individual communications to this human rights mechanism.

Advocates and litigators from all six ILGA World regions contributed to this toolkit: this is the first publication of its kind to specifically address SOGIESC issues, and a powerful resource in the hands of human rights defenders who wish to use international strategic litigation to bring about justice and change for their communities.


The Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit is made of three parts:
click on the links below to download them!

Policy paper (English - español)
Treaty Bodies’ case digest
Compilation of LGBTI cases reviewed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights


This image shows which topics were covered when the UN Treaty Bodies analysed LGBT cases

United Nations Treaty Bodies’ individual communications mechanisms provide LGBTI advocates with opportunities to obtain justice after the exhaustion of domestic remedies, and to benefit from positive developments achieved in the field by defenders from other countries and regions. Referring to Treaty Bodies means that a case will be analysed by international human rights experts who specialise in different fields and can issue recommendations to national authorities.

However, out of more than 1,500 cases reviewed by Treaty Bodies, only 30 have yet addressed issues of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
“This instrument has not been widely used by local LGBTI defenders,” notes Kseniya Kirichenko, Senior Officer on Women and UN Advocacy at ILGA World. “Until now there have been almost no guidelines on how to do it, nor any comprehensive analysis of the existing jurisprudence on SOGIESC cases. Our Strategic Litigation Toolkit fills this gap: I truly believe that UN Treaty Bodies strategic litigation may become a space for the global LGBTI movement to claim our voice, exercise our creativity and ultimately bring justice back to our communities.”

LGBT decisions by Treaty Bodies proved to be instrumental not only for international, but also national and regional advocacy. For example, the groundbreaking decision Toonen v. Australia (Human Rights Committee, 1994) on criminalisation of consensual same-sex sexual acts marked a turning point in the understanding of human rights at the UN level, but also in the evolution of national legislation and jurisprudence in many countries from India to South Africa, and from Fiji to Colombia.

“The Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit was prepared for and with LGBTI defenders from across the world”, explains Julia Ehrt, Director of Programmes at ILGA World. “They contributed to it, shared their experiences and lessons learnt, and explained what do international advocacy and litigation mean for local defenders.” 

The toolkit is available both in English and Spanish, and ILGA World will aim at making it available also in other languages to better assist human rights defenders across the world. We are also going to present the publication at the upcoming regional conferences, such as the ILGA-Europe conference (October 2019, Czech Republic) and the ILGALAC conference (November 2019, Colombia).

This image shows which countries saw LGBT cases addressed by the UN Treaty Bodies

The publication provides information and instruments to aid defenders with the consideration, planning and implementation of strategic litigation on SOGIESC issues before the Treaty Bodies.

What you will find in the Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit:

(1) policy paper in English and Spanish,

The first chapter introduces the concept of strategic litigation, its aims and components, as well as some information about the use of strategic litigation by LGBTI advocates.

The second chapter provides basic information about Treaty Bodies, their working methods, and procedural aspects of Treaty Bodies’ individual complaints mechanism.

The third chapter presents an analysis of Treaty Bodies’ SOGIESC jurisprudence and pending cases, and identifies gaps and opportunities for future developments. This chapter specifically looks into six topics: the criminalisation of same-sex relations; LGBTI asylum seekers; violence, hate crimes and hate speech; freedom of expression and freedom of assembly and association; LGBTI families; and legal gender recognition.

The fourth chapter provides region-specific background information on Treaty Bodies’ jurisprudence, as well as evidence, recommendations and thoughts from activists, experts, lawyers, and attorneys working in six different regions.

Finally, annexes include two tables with brief information about LGBTI cases reviewed by, and pending before, Treaty Bodies, as well as lists of useful resources and contacts. 

(2) a Treaty Bodies’ case digest and,

(3) a compilation of LGBTI cases reviewed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights.

We hope that this Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit will be useful for defenders working on the rights of LGBTI people in different parts of the world. If you have any comments or suggestions regarding the toolkit, as well as strategic litigation before Treaty Bodies, feel free to send them to untreaties@ilga.org.


The Treaty Bodies Strategic Litigation toolkit is made of three parts: 
click on the links below to download them!

Policy paper (English - español)
Treaty Bodies’ case digest
Compilation of LGBTI cases reviewed by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights and the European Court of Human Rights


 

Every year, ILGA World assists dozens of LGBTI human rights defenders from every region of the world as they engage with 9 Treaty Bodies, both supporting their work on shadow reports and facilitating their participation to the committees’ sessions in Geneva. We also compile annual reviews of SOGIESC references made by UN committees, reports for each Treaty Bodies session that we engage in, and a monthly compilation of deadlines for NGO submissions.

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