UN stresses need for protection of LGBT people in places of detention
June 24, Geneva: Ahead of the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, UN human rights experts highlighted the lack of policies and methods to recognise people’s self-identified gender, and the need to carry out proper risk assessments in order to protect LGBTI people from stigmatization and violence in detention.
In a joint statement, the Chair of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture, the Chair of the UN Committee against Torture, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, and the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the UN Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture called on Member States to redouble their efforts to prevent the ill-treatment and torture faced by LGBTI people in places of detention.
Underscoring the risk of torture and ill-treatment that lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) persons are at, particularly where they may be deprived of their liberty, Jens Modvig, Chair of the Committee against Torture, said “The Committee is striving to protect LGBTI people from being forcibly sent back to countries where, based on their sexual orientation, gender identity or sex characteristics, they may face torture, criminalization, detention, ill-treatment and even murder.”
“For transgender women and men, for example, it is often a situation of complete abandonment, resulting in some transgender women being placed in male-only prisons, where they are exposed to a high risk of rape, often with the complicity of prison personnel,” said Sir Malcolm Evans, Chair of the UN Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture. In its ninth annual report, the Subcommittee identified measures for the prevention of torture and ill-treatment of LGBTI people in detention.
Drawing the attention of countries to their obligations under international human rights law and standards, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan E. Méndez said, “LGBTI people are often stigmatized and dehumanized, leaving them particularly vulnerable to violence and ill-treatment, that in many cases amounts to torture.”
“Breaking the silence on torture and ill-treatment endured by LGBTI people is critical,” said Gaby Oré Aguilar, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of the UN Fund for Victims of Torture, calling for increased support for the rehabilitation of victims, including LGBTI people. “The UN Fund for Victims of Torture thus supports programmes providing specialized assistance to LGBTI victims of torture,” added Ms. Aguilar.
“It is crucial that LGBTI people are fully involved in discussions and decisions concerning how detention systems can respond most effectively to their needs and respect their human rights,” the experts stressed.
The Oslo Times International News Network