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Draft Official Identity Management Policy

Introduction Human Rights Watch is an independent non-governmental organization dedicated to protecting and defending human rights around the world, including those related to the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI)…
News

Swiss Court Upholds Regulations Biased Against Women Athletes

The Federal Supreme Court of Switzerland has ruled that sport regulations that violate women’s rights cannot be struck down as inconsistent with Swiss public policy, dealing a blow to the rights of all women athletes. The court came to this conclusion…
South Africa's Caster Semenya competes in the women's 800-meter race during the Prefontaine Classic, an IAAF Diamond League athletics meeting, in Stanford, California, June 30, 2019.
News

From Fighting Apartheid to Demanding Equality for Women and LGBT People

On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women of all races marched through the streets of Pretoria, South Africa in defiance of apartheid. They stood outside the Union Buildings, the government seat, protesting apartheid, and sang, “You strike a woman, you strike a…
Women march on the Union Buildings protesting apartheid in Pretoria, South Africa, August 9, 1956.
News

Athletics Federation Rules Exclude Women with Intersex Variations from Competition

(New York) – The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has dismissed South African athlete Caster Semenya’s challenge to international athletics regulations which would see her compelled to undergo medical treatment or be forced out of competition.…
Caster Semenya of South Africa, Charlene Lipsey of the united States and Lynsey Sharp of Great Britain compete in the Women's 800 metres semi finals during day eight of the 16th IAAF World Athletics Championships London 2017
News
In a moment when some countries have stepped back on LGBT rights, a January 9th decision by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has opened a window of opportunity for Latin America to lead the way.   In a landmark…
People celebrate after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights called on Costa Rica and Latin America to recognize equal marriage, in San Jose, Costa Rica, January 9, 2018. The sign reads: "The court said yes".
News
On February 6, the European Commission will present its new strategy for the enlargement of the EU. People in the Western Balkans may greet the news with scepticism. But if the EU institutions and states are really willing to end the EU…
Roma refugees from Kosovo drink water at the Vrela Ribnicka camp in Podgorica, Montenegro on October 13, 2012
News

South Africa Should Distance Itself

While Egypt conducts wholesale persecution of sexual and gender minorities at home, its United Nations representatives are undermining universal human rights by using the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people as a…
A woman holds her hands up during the Durban Pride parade where several hundred people marched through the Durban city centre in support of gay rights, July 30, 2011.
News

Court Ruling Opens the Way to Marriage Equality

Taiwan’s constitutional court this week paved the way for marriage equality in the country by striking down the legal definition of marriage as “between a man and a woman.” The landmark decision declared this limited…
Supporters hug each other during a rally after Taiwan's constitutional court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to legally marry, the first such ruling in Asia, in Taipei, Taiwan May 24, 2017.
News
When the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development published its draft hate crimes bill for public comment, it meant that the government was finally ready to punish bias-motivated crimes. But the cause for celebration is also cause for…
Entrance of the Constitutional Court of South Africa at Constitution Hill, Braamfontein, Johannesburg on June 22, 2007.
News

Transgender Woman Helps People ‘Searching for Answers’

I was in Colombia last week to speak at an event about my work for Human Rights Watch with a focus on homophobic and transphobic bullying. I was to be interviewed by Brigitte Baptiste, who I had never met. When I took my seat in front of hundreds of…
Brigitte Baptiste (L) and Human Rights Watch LGBT Advocacy Director Boris Dittrich, Colombia, February 2017.
News

For all his promises — and a Nobel Peace Prize — the Obama presidency delivered more hope than change

As Donald Trump prepares to take office, many fear a new hostility to human rights on the part of the United States. From his divisive rhetoric about minorities to his embrace of autocrats abroad, there is plenty to worry about.  Trump…
U.S. President Barack Obama waves at the conclusion of his final State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress in Washington January 12, 2016.
News
In November, SA took two steps on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights. One is designed to protect LGBT people domestically, the other seeks to undermine their protection internationally. It is a familiar good cop, bad cop scenario, but SA…
A drag queen participates in Durban Pride in Durban, South Africa, July 30, 2011.
News

Landmark Ruling Ends Legal Uncertainty, Strengthens LGBT Rights

(New York) – The Colombian Constitutional Court ended years of uncertainty for same-sex couples and bolstered the rights of LGBT people when it upheld the validity of same-sex marriage on April 28, 2016, Human Rights Watch said today…
Protesters wave rainbow flags and advocate for LGBT rights outside of the Congress building in Bogotá.
News

Condemns Violence, Bias Based on Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity

(Geneva) – The UN Human Rights Council resolution passed on September 26, 2014, to combat violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is a critically important achievement for upholding the principles of the Universal…
News
As a South African, I am immensely proud that our constitution includes protection on the grounds of sexual orientation – leading the way on the continent and in the world. It is apt too that my country took the initiative at the UN Human Rights Council…