Comment : Peter Tatchell calls for a global human rights index

Peter Tatchell December 10, 2009
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On Human Rights Day 2009 we see a world where LGBT rights and freedoms are violated everywhere. Only a tiny minority of countries have anything close to legal equality and protection against homophobic and transphobic harassment, discrimination and hate crimes.

This makes it all the more important that we identify, measure and rank LGBT human rights in countries worldwide.

There are already excellent surveys and reports on LGBT rights globally by the International Lesbian & Gay Association, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission and others.

But in order to ensure that LGBT rights are part of the mainstream human rights agenda, it might be useful to include these LGBT rights within a broader human rights monitoring and enforcement process.

Together with my colleagues in the Green Party of England and Wales, I have proposed a UN Global Human Rights Index – an international league table of human rights to measure and rank each nation.

The index would document every country’s record on a wide range of human rights, including LGBT rights.

The Green Party’s UN Global Human Rights Index specifies the following rights and protections for LGBT people:

* Right to inter-racial, inter-religious, same-sex and civil marriage
* Right to same-sex relations between consenting adults
* No legal discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity
* Protection in law against discrimination on the grounds of race, language, national or social origin, gender, marital status, birth in or out of wedlock, age, religion or belief, disability, sexual orientation and gender identity.

The idea of the index is to create an independent, transparent and objective way of determining each country’s human rights record and any changes from year to year. This would enable the identification of the worst human rights-offending nations. It would also alert the world to the countries that are improving their human rights standards and those that are not.

By creating a human rights league table, the aim is to give an incentive for governments to improve their human rights adherence. It is also a way to highlight those countries where legal action might be needed via the International Criminal Court – to tackle both LGBT and non-LGBT human rights violations.

The proposed index codifies for the first time which specific, concrete rights constitute human rights, including rights and protections pertaining to sexual orientation and gender identity

It is a new approach to human rights monitoring and incentivisation.

The goal is to eventually get the Global Human Rights Index proposal presented to the UN for consideration.

To read more about the proposed index, click here

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