Press Release

IACHR Congratulates Mexico and Colombia for Measures Recognizing Identity of Trans Persons

July 1, 2015

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Washington, D.C. The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) congratulates Mexico and Colombia for the adoption of decrees that allow for the rectification of the gender marker on identity documents through simple administrative procedures, applicable in Mexico City and Colombia, respectively. The Commission notes that prior to these measures, gender was rectified through lengthy and onerous judicial procedures, which called for psychiatric diagnoses and/or medical tests that pathologized trans persons.

The Commission is of the view that these decrees are basic steps toward ensuring full recognition of the identity of trans persons; and urges states to continue to adopt measures that provide guarantees, including legislative and public policy measures to benefit trans persons, as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual, and intersex persons. The Commission also commends the states of Mexico and Colombia for engaging in dialogue with civil society organizations that defend the rights of trans persons in bringing about these measures.

The Mexican decree, which entered into force on March 7, 2015, allows for the recognition of the identity of trans persons in Mexico City through an administrative procedure, following amendments of the Civil Code. These were approved by the Legislative Assembly of Mexico City in November 2014. Following this amendment, in order to get a new birth certificate issued, applicants must submit a certified copy of the birth certificate, the original and a copy of the identification card and proof of address. According to the information received, this decision was the result of joint efforts by various state institutions, the Mexico City Council for Prevention and Elimination of Discrimination, and civil society organizations defending the rights of trans persons, particularly the T47 Coalition.

As for Colombia, the IACHR was informed that under Ministerial Decree 1227 of June 4, 2015, the gender marker of a birth certificate can be rectified by a simple administrative procedure. Under this decree, trans persons can now get a document that reflects their gender identity through administrative proceedings before a Public Notary, by presenting a sworn declaration, and non-certified copies of the birth certificate and identity card, without any additional documentation or proof being required. The IACHR was informed that this decree was the result of sustained dialogue between the government and civil society organizations defending the rights of trans persons, in particular the coalition Aquelarre Trans.

The IACHR encourages Mexico and Colombia to ensure full and effective implementation of the measures to change the gender marker through simple administrative procedures. The IACHR also urges Mexico and Colombia to enact gender identity legislation, which ensures enhanced protection of trans persons. Nonetheless, the IACHR continues to receive reports that trans persons in Mexico and Colombia suffer multiple human rights violations as well as violence and discrimination, particularly in accessing employment, education, and healthcare. Consequently, although significant progress is made through the adoption of these measures, the IACHR urges the states of Mexico and Colombia to adopt comprehensive measures, in law and policy, to effectively address discrimination and violence against trans persons, particularly those outside the capital cities in both countries.

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 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. 075/15