Advocacy statements

Attacks on the rights of LGBTI+ persons

  • Date / 2024
  • Location / Europe
  • Relevant Institution / UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Item / Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights


Humanists International

UN Human Rights Council, 56th session (18 June –12 July 2024)

ID with Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity

Speaker: Leon Langdon


We thank the Independent Expert for his inaugural thematic Report and welcome him in his new role. The identification of both areas of progress and backsliding for LGBTI+ rights is a vital foundation for the mandate, and the reaffirmation of the protections LGBTI+ individuals are afforded under international law is unfortunately necessary in the current climate. We look forward to continuing to support the mandate over the coming years.

As we celebrate Pride month, we underscore the fact that millions of LGBTI+ individuals cannot celebrate their identities this June. In 62 countries,[1] same sex relationships are illegal, with several regressive recent developments in this domain including in Uganda,[2] Iraq,[3] and Indonesia,[4] seeing the outlawing or de facto outlawing of same sex relationships with harsh punishments.

In many places, including the United States – as observed by the Independent Expert – we have witnessed a deluge of anti-trans legislation, policies, and rhetoric.[5] This also became prevalent in Europe in advance of the European elections, as childrens’ rights are misused and instrumentalized to reduce access to healthcare and education.[6]

The freedom of expression of LGBTI+ individuals is also under attack. Curtailing access to information, declaring LGBTI+ activists as extremists, and imposing restrictions on the media all undermine the right to freedom of expression.[7]

These laws are harmful in and of themselves, but also engender a culture of intolerance  that sees sexual and gender minorities faced with hate, hostility, and violence, and permit further regression both at the state level and extrajudicially. The role that religious extremism has to play in this cannot be overlooked, as the right to Freedom of Religion or Belief is too often manipulated to excuse oppression, as highlighted by the previous Expert.[8]

With that said, does the Independent Expert have any recommendations for how to ensure that anti-rights actors do not manipulate other rights like those of children or FoRB to undermine the rights of LGBTI+ persons? Thank you.

[1] https://ilga.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Laws_On_Us_2024.pdf

[2] https://www.hrw.org/news/2023/05/30/ugandas-president-signs-repressive-anti-lgbt-law

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-68914551

[4] https://www.hrw.org/news/2022/12/08/indonesia-new-criminal-code-disastrous-rights

[5] https://www.aclu.org/legislative-attacks-on-lgbtq-rights-2024;

[6] https://www.ilga-europe.org/press-release/alarming-surge-in-transphobic-speech-across-europe-sparks-concern-for-eu-elections/

[7] https://ilga.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/05/Laws_On_Us_2024.pdf

[8] https://humanists.international/2023/06/un-expert-confirms-compatibility-of-lgbti-rights-and-forb-and-highlights-abuses-in-name-of-religion/

Suggested academic reference

'Attacks on the rights of LGBTI+ persons', Humanists International

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