Resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity approved by OAS Assembly

June 24, 2009

OAS logoI wrote a couple of weeks ago (link here) about the General Assembly of the Organization of American States (OAS) in Honduras, held at the start of June. The theme of the OAS Assembly was “Toward a Culture of Non-Violence” and Human Rights Watch (HRW) had put forward for consideration a draft resolution “to promote, within a framework of the rule of law, a culture of peace and non-violence”, with particular reference to the Honduran authorities, who have failed comprehensively to bring an end to the recent sharp increase in violent attacks on trans people. At least 17 are known to have been killed in public places in Honduras since 2004; many more have been beaten, stabbed, or shot.

In the event, the HRW’s draft proposal seems to have been overtaken by a resolution presented by Brazil, called “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”. The resolution was approved unanimously by all the member nations, and its six points are:

  1. To condemn acts of violence and related human rights violations committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.
  2. To urge states to ensure that acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity are investigated and their perpetrators brought to justice.
  3. To urge states to ensure adequate protection for human rights defenders who work on the issue of acts of violence and human rights violations committed against individuals because of sexual orientation and gender identity.
  4. To request the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and the other organs of the inter-American system to continue to pay sufficient attention to this issue.
  5. To reiterate its request for the Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs (CAJP) to include on its agenda, before the fortieth regular session of the General Assembly, the topic of “Human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity.”
  6. To request the Permanent Council to report to the General Assembly at its fortieth regular session on the implementation of this resolution, the execution of which shall be subject to the availability of financial resources in the program-budget of the Organization and other resource.

Whether the member countries will implement – and enforce – this resolution remains to be seen. For the sake of those trans people who have died violent, needless deaths at the hands of transphobic bigots throughout all 35 independent nations of the Americas comprising the OAS, I certainly hope so.

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NOTE: The full text of the resolution may be found on the OAS website: click on the Declarations & Resolutions link on this page to download the MS Word document, “Declarations and Resolutions Adopted by the General Assembly” and turn to page 226.

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One Response to “Resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity approved by OAS Assembly”


  1. […] at the beginning of June in Honduras.  The theme was “Toward a Culture of Non-Violence”.  Via Bird of Paradox, all 35 member states unanimously approved of the “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender […]


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