UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. human rights chief said in a new report that lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people are victims of "pervasive, violent abuse, harassment and discrimination" in all regions of the world and cites hundreds of hate-related killings.
High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Raad al-Hussein said actions by some countries to reduce violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity since the last report in 2011 have been overshadowed by continuing human rights violations against these groups, too often perpetrated with impunity.
The report to the Geneva-based Human Rights Council circulated Monday cites the murder of transsexual women in Uruguay and of black lesbian women in South Africa, and the killing of a gay man in Chile by neo-Nazis who carved swastikas into his body. In February 2015, it said, photos appeared to show several men, allegedly accused of homosexual acts, being pushed off a building to their deaths in Syria by militants of the so-called Islamic State extremist group.
While data is "patchy," the report said available information suggests alarmingly high rates of violence against LGBTs.
Brazil reported 310 documented murders in 2012 "in which homophobia or transphobia was a motive," it said. The Trans Murder Monitoring project, which collects reports of homicides of transgender people, lists 1,612 murders in 62 countries between 2008 and 2014. And The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights reported 594 hate-related killings of LGBT people in the 25 countries of the Organization of American States between January 2013 and March 2014, it said.
The report also gives many examples of non-lethal violence including the arrest, beating and ill-treatment by police in Zimbabwe of 44 members of an LGBT organization, a woman reportedly arrested in Bangladesh for being a lesbian who was allegedly raped by police while in custody, and four people arrested in Egypt for their alleged sexual orientation who were reportedly sexually assaulted by other inmates while in detention.
In the United States, the report said recent government figures show that bias-motivated crimes based on sexual orientation rank second only to racist incidents among hate crimes.
According to the report, at least 76 countries retain laws used to criminalize and harass people on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity or expression, including laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relationships among adults.
In Iran, Mauritania, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen and parts of Nigeria and Somalia, consensual homosexual conduct may be punished by death, "a grave violation of human rights," the report said.
The rights chief expressed concern about laws enacted or proposed in the past two years to restrict public discussion of sexual orientation under the guise of "protecting minors" from information on not-traditional sexual relations. He pointed to Kyrgyzstan, Nigeria, Moldova, Russia, Uganda and Ukraine.
The report makes over 20 recommendations including urging all countries to ban so-called "conversion therapies" intended to "cure" homosexual attraction as well as involuntary treatment, forced sterilization, and forced genital and anal examinations.
The high commissioner also calls for changing laws to remove offenses relating to consensual same-sex conduct, investigating and prosecuting alleged hate-crimes and prohibiting incitement of hatred and violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.