Gay, lesbian, bisexuals, trans and intersex persons have historically been discriminated against on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression, and continue to be victims of discrimination, violence, persecution and other abuses; which infringes on their human rights protected by international and inter-American instruments.
In performing its mission, particularly during onsite visits to countries and through public hearings, the Commission has received ample information on the situation of the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexuals, trans and intersex persons in the Americas, and in particular, the serious discrimination and violence these persons face on the basis of their sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.
Sources of information, including oral and written information presented during public hearings, information received during on site visits, and petitions and requests for precautionary measures received by the Commission, and in general, information collected by different actors in the System, point to an initial working theory that systemic problems faced by these persons in the region include: criminalization, high rates of violence and related impunity, discrimination in access to health and justice services and access to education, the labor sector and political participation, as well as exclusion and invisibility of these violations.
Thus, the IACHR included in its Strategic Plan, the Plan of Action 4.6.i which specifically addresses the rights of these persons. During the 141st Period of Sessions in March 2011, the IACHR decided to give special thematic emphasis to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons (LGTBI) since it was “deeply concerned over the information it has received in recent years on the de jure and de facto discrimination against these persons, the effects of this discrimination on every aspect of their lives, and in particular the intolerable levels of violence to which they are subject in States of the hemisphere. In the coming months, the Commission will study this type of discrimination and its effects from different angles, and it has accepted the OAS General Assembly's request to prepare reports on the state of the rights of LGBTI persons in the region. In addition, in the exercise of its functions, the IACHR will continue to process cases and offer guidance to the States in this area”.
In the OAS General Assembly Resolution AG/RES. 2653 (XLI-O/11), Member States, noting with concern the acts of violence and other human rights violations, as well as discrimination practiced against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, decided, among others:
- To condemn discrimination against persons by reason of their sexual orientation and gender identity, and to urge states, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, to adopt the necessary measures to prevent, punish, and eradicate such discrimination.
- To condemn acts of violence and human rights violations committed against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity; and to urge states to prevent and investigate these acts and violations and to ensure due judicial protection for victims on an equal footing and that the perpetrators are brought to justice.
- To encourage the member states to consider, within the parameters of the legal institutions of their domestic systems, adopting public policies against discrimination by reason of sexual orientation and gender identity [and]
- To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on the issue of acts of violence, discrimination, and human rights violations committed against individuals on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
In November 2011, in the context of its 143rd Period of Sessions, the IACHR created a specialized Unit within its Executive Secretariat. According to the IACHR’s Strategic Plan (Plan of Action 4.6.i), the Unit –completely operational since February 15, 2012- has commenced its activities on three pillars of work: petition and case system; providing specialized technical advice to OAS Member States and OAS political organs; and the preparation of a regional report on the human rights of these persons.
RAPPORTEURSHIP ON THE RIGHTS OF LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL, TRANS AND INTERSEX PERSONS (LGBTI)
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
1889 F St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20006, USA
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Photos of Commissioners: OEA
Photos of Meeting of Experts: OEA