Sexual orientation, gender identity and international human rights law – Practitioners’ guide, no. 4

People of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities are often singled out for abuse. When laws criminalize same-sex sexual conduct, LGBT people are arrested, detained, tortured, and, in some cases, executed.

Even in states with no official penal sanctions, LGBT people are the target of violent hate crimes, harassment, and ostracism.  They live in fear of losing their jobs, their housing, and their families, all because of how they live and whom they love.

For the past five years, ICJ has worked on promoting the applicability of human rights law to violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Together with the International Service for Human Rights, ICJ facilitated the development of the Yogyakarta Principles.  This document, drafted by a distinguished group of human rights experts, articulates the human rights principles that apply to sexual orientation and gender identity, and identifies the legal sources of States’ obligations to protect, promote and fulfil rights.
Drawing on the Yogyakarta Principles, the ICJ wrote the Practitioners’ Guide to provide judges, lawyers, and activists a detailed understanding of the legal foundations for the protection of people victimized on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  The Practitioners’ Guide offers a comprehensive review of the principles of non-discrimination, equality, and privacy.  It then analyzes the scope and nature of the legal prohibition against some of the mostsevere violations – torture, deprivation of liberty, extrajudicial and arbitrary executions, and denial of the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.  Through the Practitioners’ Guide, the ICJ hopes to increase awareness of human rights principles that protect people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, as well as to encourage legal advocacy.

sexual orientation international law-Practitioners Guide-2009-eng (full text in English, PDF)

sexual orientation international law-Practitioners Guide-2009-fra (full text in French, PDF)

sexual orientation international law-Practitioners Guide-2009-spa (full text in Spanish, PDF)

sexual orientation international law-Practitioners Guide-2009-nep (full text in Nepali, PDF)

Practitioners’ Guides seriesPublications