IACHR Press Office
Washington, D.C. - The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) welcomes Canada's amendment of its Criminal Code to prohibit so-called "conversion therapy," or attempts to modify or suppress an individual's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. The IACHR calls on States to protect LGBTI individuals from these harmful practices.
Bill C-4 was passed by the House of Commons of Canada on December 1 and by the Senate of Canada on December 7. The bill received royal assent on December 8 and will enter into force 30 days after that date.
This bill bans attempts to modify or suppress another person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression, but also protects children from being subjected to these practices outside of the country by banning the removal of a child from Canada with that intention, as well as the promotion or advertisement of "conversion therapy," and the receipt of financial or other material benefits from providing "conversion therapy."
The IACHR reiterates that attempts to modify or suppress sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression inflict violence on LGBTI persons and have represent a severe threat to individuals' health and other human rights, including the right to be free from torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment as highlighted in the thematic reports: "Violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons in the Americas", "Advances and Challenges towards the Recognition of the Rights of LGBTI Persons in the Americas", and "Trans and Gender-Diverse Persons and Their Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights". IACHR calls on States to prohibit these attempts to modify or suppress sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression and to closely monitor the institutions where these practices are still carried out.
Likewise, the IACHR emphasizes that children and adolescents are particularly vulnerable to attempts to modify their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression and are thus in need of special protection. IACHR reminds States of their obligations to respect, protect, and ensure the rights of LGBTI children and adolescents to a life that is free from discrimination and violence.
The IACHR calls on States to join Canada in protecting LGBTI individuals from attempts to modify or suppress their sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression. Moreover, the IACHR calls on States to promote objective, scientific, evidence-based information on the negative impact that these harmful practices have on the lives, personal integrity, and health of LGBTI persons, as well as to promote a culture of respect for the human rights of LGBTI individuals.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for and to defend human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.