No international treaty or convention refers directly to discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.
It has often been argued that an actual UN convention on sexual and gender rights could be an appropriate and effective means of advancing the rights of sexual and gender minorities. However, freedom from discrimination is set out as a fundamental human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other widely adhered to international human rights treaties.
They also prohibit discrimination on grounds of sex, and discrimination on the basis of sexual preference is actually included in the prohibition against sex discrimination in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, declared the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1993.
World Health Organization (WHO) Working Definition of Sexual Rights
According to the WHO, sexual rights embrace human rights that are already recognized in national laws, international human rights documents and other consensus statements. They include the right of all persons, free of coercion, discrimination and violence, to:
- the highest attainable standard of sexual health, including access to sexual and reproductive health care services;
- seek, receive and impart information related to sexuality;
- sexuality education;
- respect for bodily integrity;
- choose their partner;
- decide to be sexually active or not;
- consensual sexual relations;
- consensual marriage;
- decide whether or not, and when, to have children; and
- pursue a satisfying, safe and pleasurable sexual life.