European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

Experts release groundbreaking principles on sexual orientation, gender identity, and human rights

The Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity were released today by a group of 29 international human rights experts.

Groundbreaking international legal principles on sexual orientation, gender identity, and international law chart a way forward for both the United Nations and governments to ensure the universal reach of human rights protections. They put new pressure on the national governments to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people worldwide.

The Principles affirm binding legal standards with which all States must comply. They were adopted by a group of distinguished experts in international law following a meeting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Among the group of experts are a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN independent experts, current and former members of human rights treaty bodies, judges, academics and human rights defenders, including ILGA-Europe.

The Yogyakarta Principles call for action from the UN human rights system, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organisations, and others. They are being launched today at events coinciding with the UN Human Rights Council’s session in Geneva, where last year 54 States called for the Council to act against egregious violations of the rights of LGBT people.

Patricia Prendiville, Executive Director of ILGA-Europe, said:

“Violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity are not exempt from the reach of international human rights law. These principles show the scope and force of its protections. Now the governments must bring its laws and practices into compliance with the promises of human rights.”

The Yogyakarta Principles address a broad range of human rights standards. They were developed in response to well-documented patterns of abuse directed toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.

Each principle is accompanied by detailed recommendations to governments on how to end discrimination and abuse. The principles also call for action from the UN’s human rights system, national human rights institutions, the media, non-governmental organisations, and others.

“Everyone has a responsibility to combat human rights abuses,” said Patricia Prendiville. “We therefore call on the governments to bring their laws and practices to comply with these principles. We also call on and encourage the media, human rights institutions and non-governmental organisations of all European countries, to take appropriate actions and work jointly towards the elimination of all forms of abuse, violence and discrimination against LGBT people worldwide.”

Ends

For more information please contact
Juris Lavrikovs at + 32 2 609 54 16 / + 32 496 708 375

Notes for editors:

(1) ILGA-Europe is the European Region of the International Lesbian and Gay Association and works for equality and human rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe.

(2) The full text of the “Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” is available at http://yogyakartaprinciples.org/