UN High Commissioner meets LGBT Denmark

Submitted by LGBT Denmark

Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, met with Danish NGOs

February 20 UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, met with Danish NGOs. The purpose of the meeting was her becoming familiar with the human rights situation in Denmark as seen by the NGOs.

The meeting was arranged by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (the Danish national human rights institution), which had asked a handful of representatives to give a brief introduction: Holger Kallehauge, PTU (on disability issues), Eva Singer, Danish Refugee Council (on asylum seekers in Denmark), Niels Erik Hansen, DRC (on ethnic minorities in Denmark), and Søren Laursen, LGBT Denmark (on LGBT issues), and finally a non-NGO, Peter Sindal Lundsberg, the Greenland Representation (on Greenland issues).

Søren Laursen used the opportunity to point out a number of issues:

  • Rainbow families and the exiting developments with last weeks law proposal of the government, which creates new protection and equality for children and parents in different types of families with LGBT-parents.
  • Problems regarding gender identity:
    • Surgery requirement for legal sex change
    • Diagnosis requirement for change of first name to other gender
    • The listing of transgender diagnoses on the Danish classification of diseases (from which homosexuality was removed many years ago)
    • The gender identification in the widely used person identification number
  • The positive development in the area of asylum, where LGBT-refugees are now recognised as members of a particular social group in the sense of the refugee convention thus resulting in convention status.
  • The work with the horizontal approach to equal treatment and the difficulties on having gender identity recognised as a specific area of protection

Subsequently the floor was open and a number of NGO-representatives spoke on subjects such as the rights of the child and ratification of conventions.

Navi Pillay was very satisfied with the meeting, which was well structured and rich in information. From her side the meeting was an invitation to contribute to the ability of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to excert pressure on Denmark in relation to complying to the human rights obligations.

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