Groundbreaking principles on sexual orientation and human rights released

April 13, 2007

Groundbreaking international legal principles on sexual orientation, gender identity, and international law have been released by 29 international human rights experts, led by University of Nottingham academic, Professor Michael O'Flaherty.

The "Yogyakarta Principles" call for worldwide action against violence, discrimination and abuse, by governments, the UN human rights system, national human rights institutions, non-governmental organisations, and others.

The 29 principles contained in the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity establish the first ever set of principles on sexual orientation and gender identity, and are based upon a comprehensive analysis of current international human rights laws.

The principles identify the legal obligations of all States to ensure the universal reach of human rights protections. They were launched to coincide with the UN Human Rights Council's session in Geneva, where, in 2006, 54 States called for the Council to act against egregious violations of the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.

"States have the primary obligation to respect, protect, and promote human rights," said Professor O'Flaherty, who is also a member of the UN Human Rights Committee, "Ending violence and abuse against people because of their sexual orientation or gender identity must become a global priority for governments."

The Yogyakarta Principles address a broad range of human rights standards. They were developed in response to well-documented patterns of abuse targeted toward persons because of their actual or perceived sexual orientation and gender identity.

Worldwide, human rights defenders point to violations including extrajudicial executions, violence and torture, repression of free speech and assembly, and discrimination in work, health, education, access to justice, and immigration.

The Principles were adopted by a group of distinguished experts in international law following a meeting in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Among the group of experts are a former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN independent experts, current and former members of human rights treaty bodies, judges, academics and human rights defenders.

The full text of the Yogyakarta Principles on the Application of International Human Rights Law in Relation to Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity is available at: http://yogyakartaprinciples.org
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Notes to editors: The University of Nottingham is Britain's University of the Year (The Times Higher Awards 2006). It undertakes world-changing research, provides innovative teaching and a student experience of the highest quality. Ranked by Newsweek in the world's Top 75 universities, its academics have won two Nobel Prizes since 2003. The University is an international institution with campuses in the United Kingdom, Malaysia and China.

More information is available from Michael O'Flaherty on +44 (0)115 84 66313, 07766 655379, michael.oflaherty@nottingham.ac.uk or Tara de Cozar, Internal Communications and Media Relations Officer in the Public Affairs Office at The University of Nottingham, on +44 (0)115 846 8545, tara.decozar@nottingham.ac.uk

University of Nottingham

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