The United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) has expressed concern for the increasingly prevalent anti-LGBTQ+ laws in the United States. The UNHRC is responsible for the review of human rights records of countries that signed the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), an international human rights treaty.
Participating countries in the ICCPR opt to submit themselves for review of human rights policies and practices every four years. According to the ACLU, “The ICCPR obligates countries that have ratified the treaty to protect and preserve basic human rights, such as: the right to life and human dignity; equality before the law; freedom of speech, assembly, and association; religious freedom and privacy; freedom from torture, ill-treatment and arbitrary detention; gender equality; the right to a fair trial; right to family life and family unity; and minority rights.”
Due to the pandemic, the U.S. has not been reviewed by the UNHRC in nine years, and with a record breaking year for anti-LGBTQ+ laws, it should come as no surprise that the committee had some concerns over the nation’s discriminatory political activity.
On Nov. 3, the committee published its concluding observations, writing that recent bills pushed by State Houses across the country “severely restrict the rights of persons based on their sexual orientation or gender identity,” according to PinkNews.
It gave special attention to laws banning gender-affirming care, or those which “forbid transgender individuals from using restrooms or participating in school sports.”
“The [United States] should adopt all measures necessary to ensure that state laws that discriminate against persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity are repealed,” the report read. “It should also intensify its efforts to combat violence against and discrimination of persons based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, including with regard to access to housing, health, employment and in correctional facilities.”
More than 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in the country since the start of 2023. In states like Florida, Kansas, Tennessee, Montana, Oklahoma and North Dakota, anti-LGBTQ+ and transphobic legislation and rhetoric complicate and threaten the very existence of these communities.