All people, including lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) persons, are entitled to enjoy the protections provided for by international human rights law, including in respect of rights to life, security of person and privacy, the right to be free from torture, arbitrary arrest and detention, the right to be free from discrimination and the right to freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly.
The first United Nations report on discrimination and violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals was released on December 16. This landmark report concluded that homophobic and transphobic violence has been recorded in all regions of the world. The report also explicitly addressed workplace discrimination against LGBT individuals, and stated, “under international human rights law, States are obligated to protect individuals from any discrimination in access to and maintenance of employment.”
The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights confirmed that the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights “prohibits discrimination in access to and maintenance of employment on grounds of sexual orientation” and noted concern about discrimination directed at “disadvantaged and marginalized groups and individuals.” According to the Committee, “any discrimination in access to the labour market or to means and entitlements for obtaining employment constitutes a violation of the Covenant.”
The United Nations called for further action “especially at the national level” to protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from human rights violations.” The High Commissioner recommends that Member States: “Enact comprehensive anti-discrimination legislation that includes discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity among prohibited grounds and recognizes intersecting forms of discrimination” The High Commissioner also called on governments across the world to implement diversity training programs for “police, prison officers, border guards, immigration officers and other law enforcement personnel, and support public information campaigns to counter homophobia and transphobia among the general public and targeted anti-homophobia campaigns in schools.”
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates applauds the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights for conducting the report and acknowledging the discrimination faced by LGBT individuals across the world.