Ad Hoc Committee

AD HOC COMMITTEE ON THE ELABORATION OF COMPLEMENTARY STANDARDS:
INTERSECTIONS OF RACE, SEXUAL ORIENTATION & GENDER IDENTITY

  • As the report on the study by the five experts on Complementary International Standards emphasizes:

“Assessment and recommendations

107. Numerous studies and publications establish that the diversity in manifestations of multiple discrimination seems to demand a further elaboration. The purpose of this endeavour should be to address the phenomenon under discussion from different angles because its complex nature requires diversified and complementary approaches. In this context, there is no justification for restricting protection against multiple discrimination to the grounds that are explicitly mentioned in the DDPA. Here, as in the case of international human rights treaties, the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination is open-ended. Despite the fact that some characteristics, including nationality, age, health status, HIV-positive status, marital status, sexual orientation and gender identity when combined with race render certain categories of persons particularly vulnerable to discriminatory practices, they have not been to date universally recognized as factors aggravating racial discrimination. It is important that international protection against racism embraces these factors which create the phenomenon of multiple discrimination and result in the exclusion of people falling into the combined categories.”

  • As noted by the experts, the multiple grounds provision in the DDPA (and subsequently in the Durban Review outcome document) was deliberately left open-ended, to ensure a broad and inclusive approach. It is entirely consistent with the spirit, intent and text of the DDPA, and with its own mandate, for the Ad Hoc Committee to address the range of grounds on which multiple discrimination is experienced.
  • The UN Special Rapporteur on Contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia & related intolerance has regularly highlighted intersections between race and sexual orientation, noting, for example, in a report on Brazil that within Afro-Brazilian communities: “Black homosexuals suffer from double discrimination, because of their colour and sexual orientation.” (E/CN.4/2006/16/Add.3)
  • Many racialized lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, and LGBT people of colour, face multiple discrimination as a result of the intersections of race, sexual orientation and gender identity. For example, LGBT people of colour:

–          are more likely to be subject to hate crimes;

–          are often targeted within their home communities because of laws criminalising homosexuality. Many of these laws, as High Commissioner for Human Rights Ms. Navanetham Pillay has pointed out, are “relics of the colonial era”;

–          are particularly likely to seek refugee status or asylum, and consequently face a combination of racial discrimination, vulnerability as immigrants, and sexual orientation discrimination;

–          were incarcerated and killed in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust, where they were targeted for unusually cruel treatment, and faced particularly high death rates;

–         are more likely to be excluded from HIV/AIDS prevention, education and treatment policies and programs.

  • Numerous UN mechanisms have recognized sexual orientation as a ground on which people are targeted for discrimination and violence. This is acknowledged in UN resolutions on extrajudicial executions and the death penalty, decisions of treaty bodies including the Human Rights Committee and the CERD, reports of Special Procedures, and statements by the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretary General. An International Commission of Jurists compilation lists more than 200 pages of relevant UN references to sexual orientation discrimination.