This note explores how laws that criminalise homosexuality contravene international law. Criminalisation infringes upon the rights to privacy, non-discrimination and dignity, and may amount to inhuman and degrading treatment. These rights are included in various international and regional treaties, through which states have taken on binding obligations to uphold these rights for everyone within their jurisdiction.
The criminalisation of same-sex intimacy between consenting adults intersects with HIV/AIDS in multiple ways. This note addresses two broad concerns. Firstly it considers the evidence on the link between the criminalisation of homosexuality and the prevalence and incidence of HIV. Secondly, this note addresses the human rights concerns associated with HIV and criminalisation.
The note expires how international business can play a crucial role in bringing about the decriminalisation of homosexuality. As key players and stakeholders in civil society, businesses have the means to influence the debate on LGBT rights at home and abroad. It also investigates the economic case for decriminalisation, finding mounting evidence that criminalising homosexuality reduces productivity and economic growth.
This briefing note looks at the criminalising of homosexuality through the prism of the rule of law, suggesting that the criminalisation of consensual same- sex intimacy offends against the Rule of Law. From a procedural point of view, criminalisation means that rights granted to all citizens in national constitutions, domestic laws and via international treaty obligations are being dis-applied to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) minority. From a substantive point of view, criminalisation is inconsistent with the human rights that should be present in a well-functioning domestic system.
This note demonstrates, via data and case studies, the link between democracy and the treatment of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people. These data and case studies show that LGBT people are most likely to be criminalised where democracy is weak, that LGBT rights and democracy take root together, and that society turning its back on LGBT rights is a signal that democracy is in retreat.
This series of briefing notes was produced by the Human Dignity Trust in the second half of 2015. These notes aim to illustrate the link between the criminalisation of homosexuality and various aspects of good governance. They also offer information and guidance to governments, the international community, civil society and activists on how to bring about the decriminalisation of homosexuality across the globe. This research draws on our experience working with activists in criminalising countries and our expertise in international human rights law.