To the United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner
Michelle Bachelet Jeria
52 rue des Pâquis
CH-1201 Geneva, Switzerland
Dear Michelle Bachelet Jeria,
I am writing to you on behalf of UN-aligned, a Finland-based NGO whose mission is to create a better and fairer United Nations that promotes ethical principles of human rights, animal welfare, environmental well-being, and world peace. Pertaining to human rights and global justice, I request that the OHCHR address and take action to eliminate harmful conversion practices that promote violence and invalidate the LGBTQIA+ community worldwide.
Conversion practices seek to invalidate the LGBTQIA+ community by enforcing the idea that being LGBTQIA+ is an illness to combat. Under this harmful stigma, violating measures like forced marriage, genital mutilation, abusive therapy, and forced sexual acts are imposed upon individuals with the idea that their gender identity or sexual orientation needs to change. In several saddening cases, victims are left to deal with the aftermath of these traumatising experiences that tend to result in substance abuse, houselessness, PTSD, self-harm, and the attempt and sometimes completion of suicide. It is for these reasons that many medical organisations condemn such practices that infringe on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community.
While certain regions around the world have taken action to protect the LGBTQIA+ community by banning conversion practices, these unjust actions continue either illegally or in other places where it is permitted. These injustices are not to be overlooked; however, the United Nations, whose mission is to promote “peace, dignity, and equality,” continues to let these practices go on without much attention while also allowing members into the UNHRC who criminalise being LGBTQIA+. Such inaction and allowance for open discrimination by the UNHRC requires attention as it undermines the Declaration of Human rights, which states “all humans are born equal” and condemns “inhumane treatment.”
I, therefore, call on you as the High Commissioner for Human Rights to help implement a global ban on harmful conversion practices that includes:
- A mandate for states to comply with the new policy to globally ban conversion practices that infringe on the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community
- A mandate for states to eliminate current policies and legislation that is discriminatory and promotes violence against the LGBTQIA+ community
- Global recognition and protection for LGBTQIA+ rights and the condemnation of all stigmas that set being LGBTQIA+ as “abnormal.”
- Accessible resources/mental health services for LGBTQIA+ individuals, especially those who underwent traumatising conversion practices and continue to provide such resources in the future.
- A frequent update to LGBTQIA+ rights policies as issues are growing, and the UNHRC must stay up to date in order to understand the issues they are working against.
- A mandate that ensures all members of the LGBTQIA+ community, including trans and non-binary people, are protected under this global ban on conversion practices and following mandates protecting LGBTQIA+ rights.
Of course, a request like this takes time to implement and structure to ensure success; however, it would be appreciated if the OHCHR could provide a response detailing the steps being taken to immediately address the issue of conversion practices.
This request will be published on our website (un-aligned.org). If possible, we would appreciate a reply to update our members about the actions the OHCHR is taking to eradicate this issue. If received, your response will be published on our website and in our monthly magazine, The Gordian.
I look forward to hearing from you, and thank you for your time;
Victoria Davila on behalf of UN-aligned
Deenah al-Aqsa on behalf of HidayahLGBTQI+