Working Towards The Global Decriminalisation of Homosexuality by Applying Human Rights Law

The Trust works with selected lawyers in each of the jurisdictions which continue to criminalise consensual same sex sexual conduct and offers them the legal assistance that they may require to bring about a successful challenge to those laws.

If appropriate, we may bring cases in our own name or intervene in suitable cases. We can also assist lawyers preparing a defence challenging those laws in the event of a prosecution.

Pulling Together International Resources Against the Criminalisation of Homosexuality

The Trust is supported by lawyers from around the world. These include local human rights lawyers and large multi-national law firms; the latter have committed to work for the Trust on a pro bono basis. We will therefore be able to provide extensive legal support. We have an impressive array of patrons who come from across the globe.

Legal expertise already exists in most, if not all, of the jurisdictions where challenges will occur, but the means to bring the litigation may not be available. Our added value is that we are able to pull together legal and financial resources that others may not have access to.

At the same time, the Trust will always be sensitive to local circumstances and our role will be dependent upon the reality of the situation and what is in the best interests of all concerned.

Test Case Litigation Will Identify The Illegality of Laws Which Criminalise Homosexuality

By facilitating test case litigation, the Human Dignity Trust will assist the courts in relevant jurisdictions (and where necessary, international courts and tribunals) to interpret domestic criminal laws consistently with international human rights standards and constitutional law norms, as well as the rule of law.

Failure to interpret laws which criminalise private consensual same sex sexual conduct consistently with international human rights law will result in a violation of that country's international human rights treaty obligations and/or constitutional law.

Ways of Working to Decriminalise Homosexuality

In order to establish the illegality of such criminalisation, the Trust employs a variety of means. These include:

  • Litigation where the Trust may appear as a party
  • Amicus curiae/intervener or third party status in a case brought by local or international partners
  • Providing support (funding and/or advice) to local lawyers acting for a litigant
  • Providing access to appropriate legal services for a litigant

These are the main ways in which the Trust seeks to meet its aims and objectives, although other tools relating to these aims, such as training, education and research may also, from time to time, form part of the Trust’s strategy.

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