30/01/2014 Blog

“Free and Equal,” and As Simple As That

Screen Shot 2014-01-30 at 6.17.14 PM

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has launched a campaign called “Born Free and Equal,” calling on Governments and individuals around the world to respect the life, liberty, and dignity of LGBT individuals, as part of their international human rights obligations (watch this compelling video from OHCHR).

The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) recently translated OHCHR’s 2012 report “Born Free and Equal” Into Farsi, and created five Persian-language fact-sheets to complement the report’s contents.

While translations of human rights-related documents for maximum accessibility is always to be encouraged, this translation is particularly important given the sound human rights framework of the report’s findings and recommendations.

As “Born Free and Equal” notes, “The protection of people on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity does not require the creation of new rights or special rights for LGBT people. Rather, it requires enforcement of the universally applicable guarantee of nondiscrimination in the enjoyment of all rights” [emphasis added].

Whereas issues of sexual orientation sometimes becomes confusingly entangled with religious, cultural, or social discourse, “Born Free and Equal” notes that the protection of LGBTI individuals from violence and torture, the safeguarding of their basic human rights to life and security of person, and the prohibition and prevention of violence and discrimination against them are simply clear and logical consequences of Governments’ obligations to protect all individuals.

Freedom from violence, torture, and social or institutional discrimination are guaranteed by everything from the most basic human rights treaties to recent Human Rights Council resolutions. While communities may appropriately conduct philosophical, religious, and legal debates on issues relating to family life and social structures, no Government or individual has the right in any case to derogate from the provision of these rights to any individual or group.

As UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay points out: “The case for extension of rights to LGBT persons “is neither radical nor complicated. It rests on two fundamental principles that underpin international human rights law: equality and non-discrimination.”

Indeed, when these words are understood to apply to all groups, at all times, and in all places, we will be closer to the achievement of universal human rights promotion.

Check out the Farsi version of the report “Born Free and Equal,” from OHCHR’s website

“Born Free and Equal” accompanying fact-sheets in Farsi, also from OHCHR’s website:

Homophobic and Transphobic Violence
International Human Rights Law and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Frequently Asked Questions