Global Human Rights Frameworks Applicable to LGBTI Migrants
Tabak, Shana, Levitan, Rachel, Forced Migration Review
Sexual minorities leave home for a variety of reasons but their departure is often due to the identitybased violence, discrimination and harassment they face at the hands of state actors, family and community. Although no international legal instrument exists to specifically protect the human rights of LGBTI individuals, over recent years international legal bodies have interpreted basic human rights provisions to apply to LGBTI populations.
Various UN treaty bodies have echoed this message, includingthe Human Rights Committee which has stated that the principles of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) apply equally to all without discrimination to LGBTI populations, holding that the reference to 'sex' in Article 26 (the ICCPR's principal anti-discrimination provision) incorporates sexual orientation.1 Similarly, the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (the authoritative interpretive body of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights - ICESCR) proscribes any discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.2 Consequently, States Parties to the ICCPR and the ICESCR must ensure protection of Covenant rights for all LGBTI people, including migrants, within their territories as set out in both treaties.
Beyond these international legal protections of LGBTI individuals, regional human rights bodies have also affirmed that human rights law must apply to those discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Most recently, the European Court of Human Rights held that segregating LGBTI detainees violates their human rights and amounts to torture, inhuman or degrading treatment if it deprives them of meaningful access to detention centre services or is tantamount to penal solitary confinement. …