International experts have issued groundbreaking new global standards for sexual rights and gender equality.
The set of principles on sexual orientation, gender identity, and international law is seen as a landmark advance in the struggle for basic human rights as well as gender equality.
The document, known as the Yogyakarta Principles after the city where it was adopted, was launched on Monday in Geneva by a group of 29 international human rights experts.
“These principles establish basic standards for how governments should treat people whose rights are too often denied and whose dignity is too often reviled,” said Scott Long, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “Firmly grounded in law and precedent, they enshrine a simple idea: human rights do not admit exceptions.”
The “Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Law in Relation to Issues of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity” were adopted by a meeting of experts in international law in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, in November 2006, but only officially launched on Monday.
They confirm legal standards for how governments and other bpdies should end violence, abuse, and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people, and ensure full equality.
The experts launching the principles include a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal Justice, Edwin Cameron, as well as UN independent experts, members of UN treaty bodies, activists, and academics.
The Yogyakarta Principles were developed in response to well-documented patterns of abuse around the globe. These abuses, perpetrated because of actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity, have affected millions.
The principles address: rape and other forms of gender-based violence; extrajudicial executions; torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; medical abuses; repression of free speech and assembly; and discrimination in work, health, education, housing, access to justice, and immigration.
The principles also map out a positive road to full equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people around the world. Each principle is accompanied by detailed recommendations to states 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, nongovernmental organisations, and others.