Achieving LGBT rights around the world

Regarding the actions of the Committee itself, the General Assembly has repeatedly called attention to the discrimination against people due to their sexual orientation or gender identity. According to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights from 1948, all people, irrespective of sex, sexual orientation or gender identity are entitled to enjoy the provided protections by international law. Unfortunately, there have been many recorded cases of discrimination and violence against LGBT community, which are a direct violation of the UDHR. Still, there have been constant reports of harassment towards the LGBT community, which range from social isolation, to hate-crimes and even homicides. For example, between 2008 and 2014 there have been over 1,600+ recorded murders of transgender people across the world. The Center for Homicide Research studies homicide in the LGBT community, however their work has not yet been completed. There are case files on more than 3,000 LGBT homicides with many more – thousands more – remaining largely unknown or forgotten. Without attention from the international community, many of these cases may remain unsolved.

Though there have been many legislation's calling for measures of protection against violence and discrimination, this has proven to be a difficult task due to the ways how discrimination is internalized and interpreted from country to country greatly varies. It is important to take into consideration that countries, regardless of their overall stance on the issue, have different viewpoints on certain aspects, making this topic even more perplexing and suitable for an engaging debate. 

In many countries LGBT persons have no legal rights or protection due to cultural or religious reasons. In some cases countries even go so far as to denounce their status as human beings, and hence claim they are not technically in violation of “human rights” when committing acts of violence or discrimination.  Although the UN recognizes the right of every state to uphold its sovereignty, define laws within its territory, to have it’s own government, and not to be subject to or dependent on another power, the UN also must protect marginalized groups and the human rights of all people. This topic imposes a colossal question: When their laws collide with human rights, to what extent does a country have the right to protect its sovereignty and uphold more traditional familial and social structures?

Though there has been a massive leap forward towards the establishment and gratification of LGBT rights, in many areas of the world their situation continues to deteriorate. Certain countries have gone as far as to establish concentration camps for homosexuals, imprison them, or even sentence them to the death penalty. In response to the matter, the General Assembly passed a resolution titled “Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity” in 2016 which has made historic progress in terms of furthering collaboration in the international community. Unlike the past resolutions from years 2011 and 2014, the 2016 resolution implements an independent expert to gather information and research discrimination and violence against the LGBT community. Although its progress is yet to be reported in the following years, this accomplishment can be game-changing. In the words of John Fisher, Geneva director at Human Rights Watch:

Today, the UN took a historic step forward,”

We challenge our delegates to ask themselves the following questions:

What are the biggest obstacles that the international community is facing today in achieving LGBT rights?

What are the most effective methods that could be used to achieve LGBT rights?

When their laws collide with human rights, to what extent does a country have the right to protect its sovereignty and uphold more traditional familial and social structures?