Sexual orientation


Sex­ual ten­dency towards another per­son is called sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion could be to the oppo­site sex, the same sex, or both. No one shall be dis­crim­i­nated against on the basis of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Under the inter­na­tional human rights frame­work, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is an inte­gral con­cept of sex; a state is obliged to respect, pro­tect, and ful­fill any rights enjoyed by peo­ple with­out dis­tinc­tion of any sex and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. How­ever, in some coun­tries, cul­tural, soci­etal, and insti­tu­tional dis­crim­i­na­tion based upon sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion remains ubiq­ui­tous. Of these, sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion is often the root of ver­bal and phys­i­cal vio­lence. Sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion may con­sti­tute the cause of crim­i­nal charges, tor­ture, or ill-treat­ment, forc­ing peo­ple of non-tra­di­tional sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion to seek asy­lum and deprive them of the right to return home. Some extreme cases also show the prac­tice of con­ver­sion ther­apy intend­ing to “cure” sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. Law and pol­icy dis­tin­guish­ing between indi­vid­u­als on the basis of sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion could adversely label their iden­tity and fur­ther exac­er­bate the conun­drum fac­ing them.


2009 ECOSOC Resolution on UNAIDS

Expert precedents

2022 Report of the Independent Expert on SOGI: Practices of Exclusion