What is this?
Called the Yogyakarta Principles, the document lists 29 rights that already exist in binding international law such as the right to life and freedom from torture, and reinterprets each one to include homosexual rights. Based upon the idea that “international human rights law imposes an absolute prohibition of discrimination in regard to the full enjoyment of all human rights,” the Principles assert that nations are legally bound to change their constitutions and penal codes to incorporate homosexual rights.
The Principles also assert that states that must force changes in school curricula, facilitating “access" by those who seek sex change operations, “the right to express identity or personhood, including through speech deportment, dress, bodily characteristics, choice of name or any other means”, non-discrimination “against asylum seekers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and “the right to found a family, including through access to adoption or assisted procreation (including donor insemination)”
According to the Principles, “sexual orientation is understood to refer to each person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional [sic] and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender.” The document states that “gender identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.”
Of the 29 human rights experts who drafted the Principles, 11 are UN special rapporteurs or treaty monitoring body members. Other members include former UN officials such as Mary Robinson, former High Commissioner for Human Rights. Conservative observers at the Human Rights Council told the Friday Fax that by signing onto the Jogyakarta Principles, “These UN Special Rapporteurs have betrayed the requirements of impartiality and independence required by their mandates.”
Conservatives argue that the Principles’ equating sexual orientation and gender equality to other established discrimination categories such as age, race, and religion pose threats to the freedom of speech and freedom of religion for any individuals, organizations or institutions that present a traditional view of marriage and the family. They also point out that the term “sexual orientation” has never been included in a non-discrimination clause of any binding UN document. Likewise, the terms “sexual rights” and “gender identity” have never been included in a binding UN document or defined by the UN General Assembly.
The document concludes by calling on the UN system to endorse the principles and incorporate them into the work of the organization and calls for action from all levels government, the media and civil society.