the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity

Legal and social situation for lesbian, gay and bisexual people around the world

Execution, torture, rape and murder commonplace.

Consensual acts between same-sex adults are criminalised in 80 member states of the United Nations and homosexuality results in the death penalty in six of these countries. In many countries lesbian, gay and bisexual people face execution, torture, rape and murder from people in their own community or from their government.

Stonewall has published the report No going back: Lesbian and gay people and the asylum system (2010), which is based on interviews with asylum-seekers and UK Border Agency decision-makers. The first chapter of the report documents the persecution that gay people regularly face in many countries.

Other research includes Crimes of hate, conspiracy of silence: Torture and ill-treatment based on sexual identity, Amnesty International, 2001.   

The International Lesbian and Gay Association has produced two key reports:

LGBT world legal wrap up survey - examines the legal status of gay people and same sex relationships across the world.

With the Government in our bedrooms- a survey on the laws across the world prohibiting consenting adult same-sex sexual acts.

Their most recent work on State-Sponsored Homophobia also details the legal situation for lesbians and gays across the globe.

ILGA and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) monitor crimes against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals worldwide and provide advocacy for victims of such crimes.

Lesbian, gay, and bisexual rights are being increasingly recognised by major international human rights organisations. For example, Amnesty International now considers people who are imprisoned for their sexuality or gender identity as ‘prisoners of conscience’ and closely monitors and campaigns against human rights violations against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals. Similarly, the Human Rights Watch, another major international human rights organisation, has embraced LGB rights issues and published a report on this subject.

There have been signs of improvement in the situation for lesbians, gay men and bisexuals in many individual countries and international organisations. The most progressive approach towards the elimination of discrimination against lesbians, gay men and bisexuals has been in Europe. In many countries discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation is explicitly prohibited in national constitutions, criminal codes, employment legislation and other laws. There are also a number of countries providing legal recognition for same-sex partnerships.

Click here to see Amnesty International's map of LGBT rights across the globe.

Click here to see ILGA's map of LGBT rights and treatment across the globe.


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