The Yogyakarta What? Print
By Austin Ruse   
Thursday, 25 June 2009

This is likely this first time you have ever heard of the Yogyakarta Principles. But have you ever heard of Roman Wieruszewski? Or Robert Wintemute? Dimitrina Petrova? What about Sunit Pant? Does Manfred Nowak ring a bell? You have never heard of any of them?

Funny you wouldn’t know them, because they and a handful of their friends have written a document that asserts a plethora of new human rights, which is being read approvingly in the U.S. Department of State. Even now, U.N. committees and Member States are finding ways to implement the ideas in this document.

The Yogyakarta Principles was drafted by a largely unknown group of lawyers, academics, homosexual activists, and U.N. bureaucrats, and was promulgated two years ago at United Nations headquarters in New York. In short, the document tries to read “gender identity and sexual orientation” as a new category into long-standing human rights treaties.

The document says that your “sexual orientation and gender identity are integral to (your) dignity and humanity and must not be the basis for discrimination and abuse.”

It defines your “sexual orientation as (your) capacity for profound emotional, affectional (sic) and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different or the same gender or more than one gender.”

It characterizes your “gender identity as (your) deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech, and mannerism.”

Did you even know you had a gender identity and that it comes with a packet of human rights enforceable by the United Nations?

In essence, the Yogyakarta Principles takes a long list of rights – to life, work, assembly, health, fair trial and so on – and reads “gender identity and sexual orientation” into them as new categories of non-discrimination like sex, nationality, race, and religion. The document says your “deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender” is the same thing as your skin color and that you cannot be discriminated against because of it.

Among other things, the document would make any kind of marriage a universally recognized human right, along with adoption of children by transgender bi-sexuals or any other psychosexual combo package.

The document guarantees the freedom of children to determine their “gender identity” and gives the state the power to intervene to overcome objections from mom and pop. It even calls for criminal sanctions against moms and dads who object too strenuously.

It guarantees that children will learn about “sexual orientation and gender identity” and any attempt by families, schools, or churches to stop this would be human rights violations. Poland refuses to allow homosexual propaganda into its schools. This would certainly be in violation of these new human rights.

But perhaps the most frightening part of this document guarantees that those with “diverse sexual orientation and gender identity” have a human right not to hear criticism of their life styles. The document goes so far as calling for criminal sanctions against those who would criticize homosexuality and other such pathologies.

These are not new human rights. Not a single U.N. human rights treaty even mentions sexual orientation or gender identity. Efforts to bring up these terms in official U.N. resolutions are repeatedly defeated by Member States of the United Nations.

How did they come to us then?

They begin in the activist community, but gain real traction in U.N. treaty compliance committees. These are the bodies that states must appear before to explain how they are implementing treaties. These bodies have taken it upon themselves to reinterpret hard law treaties in ways that the drafters and ratifying nations never intended.

“Sexual orientation and gender identity” are not a part of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, for instance, but that compliance committee has reinterpreted the convention to include them. The same has happened with the body that monitors governmental compliance with the International Covenant on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights. Both committees now routinely direct governments to change their laws to include nondiscrimination based on “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

These committee actions confirm for the “human rights community” that there are new international standards. And – poof – out come the Yogyakarta Principles confirming there are new and universally recognized human rights. In the echo chamber of human rights law, activists then point to the Yogyakarta Principles as further proof of their case.

The drumbeat continues as governments begin to act and international pressure builds against recalcitrant states, which then become pariah nations to be mocked and even shunned.

Note that democratic procedures are rarely if ever used in the promotion of these new rights. No votes are taken. Citizens are not aware this is going on. And only non-democratic bodies are used to advance these ideas for a very good reason: Do you think anyone would actually vote for transgender bisexuals to adopt children?

In case you were wondering, the Obama administration signed a document earlier this year that calls for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be a new category of nondiscrimination in human rights treaties. Sound like the Yogyakarta Principles?


Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washinton, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy.

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