Religious Tolerance logo

Homosexual, bisexual & transgender persons


International declarations on LGBT rights

Sponsored link.

Rights for homosexual/bisexual/transgender people worldwide:

The United Nations' UN General Assembly proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) on 1948-DEC-10.1,2 This document was published at a time when homosexuality was regarded as a mental illness by most therapists, as a criminal act by most governments, and as the ultimate sin by many faith groups. Understanding of transgender/transsexual persons was then in its infancy.

Since then, at least in North America and western Europe, there have been enormous changes in the acceptance of homosexuality and bisexuality by therapists and the general public -- with the exception of social and religious conservatives. transgender and transsexual persons appear to be the next groups surfacing to seek human rights in the U.S. and Canada.

There have been many laws at the municipal, state/province, and country level that have guaranteed equal rights for persons of all sexual orientations. There have even been a few for transgender persons and transsexuals. Unfortunately the UDHR has never been updated accordingly. 3 In fact, as 2008 drew to a close,

"... not a single international human rights convention explicitly acknowledges the human rights of LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender/transsexual] people." 4

This section will discuss deficiencies in the UDHR and new attempts to establish an international convention that includes all sexual minorities.

This is not a simple task where the reactions of the world's governments towards sexual minorities range from:

bullet Selling them a marriage license and congratulating them on their upcoming marriage, to

bullet Arresting, charging, trying them in court, and executing them. Same-sex sexual behavior is a capital crime in six countries -- all predominately Muslim.

So far, all the world has been able to accomplish is a single, non-binding UN resolution passed by a minority of the countries of the world. Still, a non-binding resolution is better than no resolution at all. It is a major accomplishment and gives hope to LGBTs for the future.

International topics covered in this section:

bullet Deficiencies in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
bullet Map showing the worldwide status of laws protecting, recognizing, persecuting and in some countries, executing LGBTI persons
bullet Absence of past global conventions. Homophobia in former colonies.

Early attempts to propose a UN declaration on GLBT rights 2002 to 2006

bullet U.N. Commission on Human Rights' 2003 resolution
bullet Organization of American States & United Nations declarations: 2008
bullet UN Declaration for the global decriminalization of GLBT activity passed
bullet The U.S. vote on the UN 2008 declaration

bullet 2011: UN Human Rights Council declaration supporting LGBT rights

References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. The UDHR text is at:
  2. The UDHR text is available in other languages at:
  3. "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the most universal document in the world," Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, at:
  4. Peter Tatchell, "A watershed for gay rights," Guardian (UK), 2008-DEC-08, at:

Site navigation (most paths shown):

Home > "Hot" topics > Homosexuality/bisexuality > Laws > here

Home > "Religious laws > Homosexual laws > here

Home > Religious hatred & conflict > Homosexual laws > here

Home > Human rights > here

Home > Transgender/Transsexual > here

Copyright 2009 to 2011 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2011-JUN-18
Author: B.A. Robinson

line.gif (538 bytes)
Sponsored link

Go to the previous page, or go to the "Homosexual laws" menu, or "Human rights" menu, or "Same-sex marriage" menu, or to the "Transgender menu, or choose:



Go to home page  We would really appreciate your help

E-mail us about errors, etc.  Purchase a CD of this web site

FreeFind search, lists of new essays...  Having problems printing our essays?

Twitter link

Facebook icon

GooglePage Translator:

This page translator works on Firefox,
Opera, Chrome, and Safari browsers only

After translating, click on the "show
original" button at the top of this
page to restore page to English.