Sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of human rights

Lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, trans and intersex (LHBTI) people experience serious violations of human rights throughout the world. They are excluded from educational institutions, the labour market and health services; they are subjected to harassment, violence, sexual assault and killings. LHBTI people are entitled to protection against discrimination and violence in the same way as everyone else.

The Government is seeking to ensure that the universal human rights that are already established, and the human rights commitments that states have already made, also extend to LGBTI people. Norway has been at the forefront of efforts to put this issue on the international agenda, in cooperation with countries from all regions of the world.

The issue of sexual orientation and gender identity in the context of human rights has attracted growing attention in international forums in recent years. The Council of Europe's recommendation to member states on measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation or gender identity, adopted in 2010, was a breakthrough. The following year, the UN Human Rights Council also adopted a historic resolution. This was the first time that a majority of the Council expressed serious concern about discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

Norway has since worked for a follow-up resolution, and a new resolution was adopted by the Human Rights Council in September 2014, requesting the High Commissioner for Human Rights to gather more information about the situation at country level and promote the sharing of good practices. More local activists are now forming and joining organisations and asking for support for their human rights efforts.

Norway’s priorities:

  • work consistently and with a long-term perspective to promote the protection of LGBTI people, and ensure that they can enjoy the same rights as everyone else;
  • promote universal decriminalisation of homosexuality and combat the discrimination of LGBTI people in legislation and in practice;
  • contribute to awareness-raising efforts, particularly in the education and media sectors. 

Guidelines for the Foreign Service

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