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Assessing the Harms of Noncompliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights' Protections of Sexual Minorities

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Publication Date: July 2006

Author(s): Holning Lau

Topic: Human rights (Civil and political rights)

Type: Report

Coverage: United States

Abstract:

On July 17-18, a delegation from the United States Department of State will meet with the United Nations Human Rights Committee ("HRC") in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss the United States' compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ("ICCPR"). This report draws from the Williams Institute's empirical research to assess the effects that the United States' noncompliance has on sexual minorities. The United States is noncompliant with the ICCPR's antidiscrimination provision, as it has been interpreted by the HRC to protect sexual minorities. The United States is noncompliant in at least four regards: (1) the United States has failed to enact countrywide legislation to proscribe discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation; (2) the government refuses to investigate federal civilian employees' complaints of sexual orientation discrimination; (3) the government bars openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals from serving in the armed forces; and (4) the federal government fails to offer same-sex couples any form of partnership recognition.