A broad spectrum of Danish NGOs have made a joint stakeholder submission regarding the coming Danish review in the UN human rights examination process, the Universal Periodic Review – UPR. In the process each State declares what actions they have taken to improve the human rights situations in their countries and to fulfil their human rights obligations. The civil society can engage in the process by means of submissions.
To ensure impact Danish NGOs decided to make a joint submission. LGBT Denmark succeeded in having a number of strong LGBTI recommendations included in the document:
3) Review the body of legislation prohibiting discrimination
Recommendation 106.31. Not accepted. CCPR, Art. 2(1) and Art. 4(1), CEDAW, Art. (2), CERD Art. 1(1), CESCR Art. 2(2), CRC Art. 2 and CRPD Art. 5(2).
Discrimination is prohibited for all reasons on the labour market. However, in all other sectors of society, discrimination is only prohibited for a few reasons, while some reasons are not covered in any way, e.g., age, disability, gender identity and gender expression. Access to complaint mechanisms (such as the courts and the Board of Equal Treatment) therefore varies from reason to reason. It is the experience of the civil society that instead of tailor-fit protection, we face confusion, inconsistency and inequality in access to complaint mechanisms; we experience an inability to handle multiple discrimination properly; and we meet a lack of protection for some of the most vulnerable persons in the Danish society.
- Adopt legislation on a coherent and general prohibition of discrimination to give equal access to protection.
5) Discrimination on grounds of gender identity and gender expression
Gender identity (i.e., gender felt by a person) and gender expression (i.e., gender shown by a person outwardly) are currently not explicitly protected by the law. Legal decisions thus cannot refer to gender identity or gender expression. In one case1 a transvestite was discriminated in a shop for his gender expression, while the manager of the shop accepted a penalty notice, and the company accepted a fine for discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation, which relates to the attraction between two people.
- Explicitly prohibit discrimination on grounds of gender identity and gender expression.
19) Gender identity of children and young people
The quality of life of both children and youth would be better safeguarded if their self-experienced gender were recognized as authentic and legitimate.
- Lift the requirement of 18-years-of-age for legal gender change by allowing the person exercising parental authority over the minor to file an application. While processing the request, one must (a) ensure that the best interests of the child as expressed in the CRC be the paramount consideration; and (b) give due weight to the views of the minor having regard to the minor’s age and maturity.
- To ensure the right to bodily integrity of intersex person, coerced surgical gendering must be outlawed.
29) Barriers in health care for LGBT persons
LGBT persons do not have equal access to health care. For instance, all women except for trans persons may legally receive cosmetic breast surgery. Before breast surgery, however, trans persons must first subject themselves to a lengthy evaluation and a decision from the Sexological Clinic and then receive official permission from the Danish Health and Medicines Authority. Also, hormone treatment of trans persons is classified as a “highly specialised” treatment and thus, as a prerequisite, requires the completely superfluous involvement of e.g. a surgeon, resulting in long waiting lists and postponing of necessary treatments. Furthermore, it is common in Denmark that a gay man and single woman have a child together, thus becoming joint parents. However, for fertility treatment, an HIV-positive man can only receive treatment if he is not gay, because the authorities only allow treatment of a man who has a sexual relationship with a woman.
- Document and stop unequal treatment of LGBT persons in health care.
32) Gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation in education
In the general population, knowledge and awareness of the conditions of LGBT people is appallingly small. Teaching about these conditions is not obligatory at the universities or professional schools. This means that none of the personnel groups that work professionally with people have actual knowledge about these conditions, unless by self-study or if their teachers or managers provide knowledge of their own accord.
- Add gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation to the curriculum of professions concerning people, e.g. medical professionals, health care workers, teachers, lawyers, judges, police, and social workers.
The entire document can be downloaded here: 20150622 UPR (2nd cycle) -Denmark – Stakeholder report (22 June 2015)
The NGOs making the submission are:
- Danish Association of Legal Affairs (Retspolitisk Forening)
- Danish Helsinki Committee for Human Rights (Den danske Helsinki-Komité for Menneskerettigheder)
- Danish Red Cross (Dansk Røde Kors)
- Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp)
- Danish-Russian Association (Dansk-Russisk Forening)
- DIGNITY – Danish Institute Against Torture (DIGNITY – Dansk Institut mod Tortur)
- Disabled Peoples Organization Denmark (Danske Handicaporganisationer)
- European Anti-Poverty Network (EAPN Danmark – et netværk mod fattigdom)
- European Network Against Racism (ENAR Danmark)
- Joint Council for Child Issues (Børnesagens Fællesråd)
- LGBT Denmark (LGBT Danmark)
- Oasis (OASIS – Behandling og rådgivning for flygtninge)
- Refugees Welcome (Refugees Welcome)
- Save the Children Denmark (Red Barnet)
- United Nations Association Denmark (FN Forbundet)
- Women’s Council in Denmark (Kvinderådet)
- Youth for Human Rights (Unge For Menneskerettigheder)