LGBT organisations ask UN to revoke status of British rights watchdog

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2/10/22

A group of 20 LGBT organisations have asked the UN to revoke the status of Britain’s Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). A 19-page submission to the UN – which the groups said was prompted by the EHRC’s stance on trans rights – asks for the independent status of the EHRC to be reviewed. “Their recent statements on GRA reform in Scotland, and the conversion therapy ban in England and Wales not only reverse their long-held positions, but are in stark contrast to international human rights standards,” the groups said. “The EHRC’s stance seeks to strip trans people of legal protections, and pose a grave threat to the ability of trans people to participate in daily life with dignity and respect.” The submission accuses the EHRC of lacking independence from the Government which it says influences appointments on the body and has politicised its positions. Without the status, organisations cannot participate at the UN Human Rights Council. A spokesperson for the EHRC told the BBC it takes all decisions impartially and “based on evidence in the UK and internationally”. “All appointments to our non-executive and executive roles are made through a fair, open and transparent recruitment process,” the spokesperson said. “The way the commission is governed and commissioners appointed is set out in the Equality Act, and has not changed since the commission was established.” Last month, the EHRC was criticised by LGBT organisations after it said plans to change the law on gender recognition in Scotland required “further consideration”. Scottish Government ministers had voiced proposals to reform the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for people to change their legally recognised gender, with a bill expected at Holyrood this year. But the EHRC said that “further consideration is needed before any change to the law should be made”. A spokesperson for the body said “everyone’s concerns should be discussed and addressed carefully, openly and with respect, to avoid further damage and division”, but insisted more time is needed.

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