ICJ calls for decriminalization of consensual sexual relations

Speaking at the UN Human Rights Council, the ICJ today urged States to decriminalize consensual sexual relations, including between people of the same sex.

The statement, delivered during an interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Privacy, read as follows:

“The ICJ welcomes the report of the Special Rapporteur on privacy, particularly the recommendation to repeal laws criminalizing consensual sexual activity, cluding between people of the same sex.

The ICJ agrees that criminalization of consensual same-sex relations violates international law and standards, including the rights to privacy, non-discrimination and equal protection.

The ICJ advocates for the abolition of laws that criminalize consensual sexual relations – including between people of the same sex – that still exist in many countries around the world.

In Indonesia, for example, a draft Penal Code currently includes a provision that would criminalize “extramarital” sexual acts between consenting persons, including persons of the same sex. We note that the draft provision may superficially appear to be gender neutral because it would penalize both men and women, but studies have shown that, in practice, criminalization of “adultery” and extramarital sexual relations typically results in disparate, discriminatory impacts against women and girls. Malaysia and other States that are former British colonies in Asia, likewise, have similar provisions in their criminal laws penalizing consensual sexual relations.

Like the Special Rapporteur, the ICJ in urges States to repeal laws that criminalize consensual sexual activity – including between people of the same sex.”


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