The Yogyakarta Principles to be launched on 26 March in Geneva

19/03/2007

The Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity will be launched on 26 March 2007 in Geneva.

The Yogyakarta Principles is a document prepared by an international group of human rights lawyers and experts. Convened by the International Service for Human Rights, the International Commission of Jurists and chaired by Professor Michael O'Flaherty. This group was supported by a secretariat representing international LGBT organisations including ARC International, Human Rights Watch, IGLHRC, ILGA and ILGA-Europe.

ILGA-Europe welcomes this document and will look forward to being part of the international application of these principles in the continuing struggle for the recognition of LGBT rights as human rights.

Please find below a statement by the International Commission of Jurists & International Service for Human Rights:

Dear friends,

We are excited to let you know about the upcoming launch of the Yogyakarta Principles on the application of international human rights law in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity.

These Principles were developed at a meeting of international human rights experts in Yogyakarta, Indonesia last November, co-hosted by the International Commission of Jurists and the International Service for Human Rights, on behalf of a coalition of human rights organisations. The Principles identify binding human rights standards with which governments must comply, and have been adopted by judges, academics, a former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Procedures, members of treaty bodies, NGOs and others.

The Yogyakarta Principles address a broad range of human rights issues relevant to sexual orientation and gender identity issues around the world - whether it's a challenge to colonial criminal laws in India, proposed discriminatory legislation in Nigeria, the murder of a transgender activist in Argentina, responding to police abuses in the US, addressing violence against m├ętis in Nepal, the banning of a Pride march in Russia, exclusion of sexual orientation and gender identity issues from European school curricula, so-called "corrective" rape and punitive violence directed against lesbians in countries around the world, with impunity for the perpetrators - the Principles make clear that these are human rights abuses in violation of international law and that the international community must respond.

The Principles will be formally launched on Monday, March 26, immediately following a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. In addition, parallel events held during the Council will enable discussion and analysis of the Principles and their application to issues of sexual orientation and gender identity around the world.

You may wish to consider organising a local or regional media event highlighting the application of the Principles to issues of particular concern in your country or region - either timed to coincide with the launch, or in the weeks or months to come. We can provide a template for a press release that you can adapt to your local needs, and some material resources may be available to assist groups interested in planning a local or regional event.

If you are interested in issuing a local press release, organising a press conference or otherwise raising awareness of the Principles in your region, please feel free to contact us at mail@yogyakartaprinciples.org.

A full copy of the Principles will be available on-line within the next few days. In the meantime, you'll find attached two backgrounders - one provides more information about how the Yogyakarta Principles came about; the other provides a brief overview of the range of human rights issues addressed by the Principles.

Thanks, best wishes, and we greatly appreciate your support in raising awareness of these important human rights concerns.

International Commission of Jurists & International Service for Human Rights,
on behalf of the Yogyakarta Secretariat
mail@yogyakartaprinciples.org

The Yogyakarta Principles' website: www.yogyakartaprinciples.org

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