IACHR and REDESCA: States must guarantee the human rights of trans persons and end regressive measures

March 31, 2023

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Washington, D.C. – On this International Trans Day of Visibility, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (REDESCA), celebrate the lives, achievements and resilience of trans and gender diverse persons in the region and call on the Member States to guarantee the economic, social, cultural and environmental rights (ESCER) of trans persons so that they can live with dignity, free from discrimination and violence.

In its 2015 report, "Violence Against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons in the Americas" the IACHR found that trans persons face particularly high levels of violence, including murders and hate crimes. Moreover, in its 2020 Report, "Trans and Gender-Diverse Persons and Their Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights" the Commission and REDESCA found that trans persons face discrimination in the guarantee of labor and health rights, as well as multiple forms of exclusion in the access to education, housing, and in social services.

The IACHR and REDESCA also note that in recent times there exists a rise of stigmatizing discourses and regressive legal measures, aimed at restricting and curtailing the ESCER of trans persons in the Americas and the Caribbean, particularly the right to health for trans youth. These measures aim, amongst other things, to ban gender affirming health care, remove comprehensive sexual education from schools, restrict trans persons from competing in sports, and deny access to bathrooms and other facilities that align with their self-perceived gender identity.

Considering the above, the Commission and the REDESCA reiterate that States should ensure that legal documents like birth certificates and other identity documents reflect the gender identity of trans persons. Which is essential to prevent discrimination and ensure that all persons can exercise human rights without fear of persecution or humiliation.

Moreover, States should create effective public policies and legislation to protect the rights of trans and gender-diverse persons in areas such as employment, health, education, and housing. This includes the adoption of non-discriminatory laws that actively protect these individuals' rights without fear of discrimination from employers, colleagues, and other workers as well as state officials in the provision of public services. States should also create effective mechanisms to ensure that trans and gender-diverse persons are able to access health care services in a safe and equitable manner.

REDESCA is an autonomous office of the IACHR and was especially created to brace the Commission's compliance with its mandate to promote and protect economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights in the Americas.

A principal, autonomous body of the 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.

No. 053/23

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