LGBTI persons are exposed to violations of their rights at all levels of the criminal justice -upon arrest as well as after their release. The risks of stigmatisation and abuse are even more pronounced in countries where sexual orientation and/or non- traditional expressions of gender identity are criminalised.
The fact that LGBTI persons represent a minority of the prison population contributes to a situation where their protection and specific needs are often neglected or overlooked. It is therefore important that the authorities put in place preventive measures, such as a careful selection of prisoners sharing the same cell. On the other hand, solitary confinement of LGBTI persons should never be systematic, but only with the consent of the person concerned and for a limited duration, without compromising access to services to which the person is entitled.
Transgender people face specific problems, especially regarding the location of their placement in prison or in a special wing of the institution. In most cases, they are automatically placed solely on the basis of their biological gender, without any particular consideration for their perception of gender or the gender reassignment procedures they may have undergone prior to their imprisonment. Given the high risk of abuse faced by transgender people, placement decisions must be made on a case-by-case basis, with the consent of the person concerned.
What we do
We advocate for greater action to protect LGBTI persons at the national and international level. By working with national authorities, we raise awareness of this important issue and the particular sensitivities faced by LGBTI persons. We also conduct trainings with monitoring bodies, who have the mandate to conduct visits to places of detention, to ensure proper mechanisms are in place to spot any abuses that might occur and to ensure they are not repeated.