The human rights of LGBTI persons

Persecution in Chechnya

On April 15, 2017, Canada calls persecution of LGBTQ2 people in Chechnya reprehensible.

On April 26, 2017, the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC) released a statement on the situation of LGBTI persons in Chechnya.

On April 27, 2017, Canada delivered a Statement at the OSCE Permanent Council on the situation of Gay and Bisexual men in Chechnya.

In July 2016, Canada participated in the Global LGBTI Human Rights Conference in Montevideo and signed the Founding Principles of the Equal Rights Coalition (ERC), the first-ever inter-governmental network to promote and protect the human rights of LGBTI persons internationally. More than thirty countries have joined so far.

See further responses from the Government of Canada on April 10, 2017 (Tweet from: Foreign Policy Canada on April 10, 2017), April 11, 2017 (Tweet from: Embassy of Canada to Russia on April 11, 2017) and April 11, 2017 (2nd part) (Tweet from: Embassy of Canada to Russia on April 11, 2017).

The Government of Canada advocates for the protection and promotion of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons globally.

Current context

More than seventy countries criminalize same-sex conduct using laws that often date back to the colonial era. For instance, five of these countries impose the death penalty. However, even when these laws are not enforced, authorities sometimes ignore hate-motivated violence, arbitrary arrest, torture, sexual assault and even murder of LGBTI persons. This can also take place in countries where same-sex conduct is not illegal.

What Canada is doing to protect LGBTI persons internationally

Canada believes the human rights of all persons to be universal and indivisible. This includes the human rights of LGBTI persons. In order to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI persons, we:

We use bilateral and multilateral channels to:

Providing refugee protection

Canada has been resettling vulnerable individuals for years, including those who are part of the LGBTQ2 community.

Canada relies on the United Nations High Commissioner, other referral organizations and private sponsors to identify individuals who are persecuted based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status.

As well, guidelines announced by the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB) will help to provide a better understanding of the challenges people with diverse sexual orientation and gender identity and expression (SOGIE) may face in presenting their asylum cases before the IRB.

Canada has and will continue to publicly and proactively encourage the sponsorship of refugees who face violence and persecution, including due to their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or HIV status. Learn more: Providing protection to LGBTQ2 refugees.

International recognition

United Nations LGBTI initiatives

A growing number UN agencies and programs are now LGBTI-inclusive. At the forefront is the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). A summary released in 2015 lists the broad range of initiatives. The OHCHR’s LGBTI webpage includes links to UN reports and resolutions on sexual orientation and gender identity, as well as information on Vitit Muntarbhorn, Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The OHCHR also promotes LGBTI rights through its Free and Equal program. An example of one the United Nations Development Program’s initiatives is Being LGBT in Asia. UN AIDS also examines LGBTI and health-related issues in Asia. UNESCO is has been advocating for increased awareness on homophobia and transphobia in the educational system. The World Health Organization have drawn links between sexual health and human rights.

International organizations and funds

Canada co-chairs the Equal Rights Coalition with Chile

In Washington, D.C., the World Bank has just appointed its first Advisor on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Issues, while the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has appointed a Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons. The Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe has studied hate crimes against LGBT people, and the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights voted to condemn violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The LGBTI issues have also been raised within the Commonwealth. Some international organizations also support programming in the area of LGBTI rights, including the Global Equality Fund, the Global Philanthropy Project, and the Arcus Foundation.

Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

More and more Canadian NGOs are working to raise awareness and improve the lives of LGBTI persons internationally. The Dignity Initiative and Egale are working on policy and programming in this area. Fondation Émergence and Equitas, based in Montréal, also work on LGBTI human rights issues.

Related links

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