One of the UK’s leading human rights watchdogs is facing an international review over its recent stance on LGBTQ+ rights. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which says it aims to promote and uphold equality laws in the UK and is funded by the UK government’s Equalities Office, made headlines in January for suggesting a “differentiated approach” to a trans ‘conversion therapy’ ban.
It also urged Scotland to pause plans to simplify the gender recognition process, something that Stonewall called “an attack on trans equality”.
On 10 February, the aforementioned LGBTQ+ charity confirmed that it has submitted documents to the United Nations (UN) and GAHNRI (the international accreditation body for human rights organisations) calling for a review into the EHRC’s status as an A-grade accredited human rights organisation. “The submission is prompted by the EHRC’s recent, and significant, change in stance on the issue of trans rights,” Stonewall’s statement said. “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 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.” Stonewall’s submission is supported by the Good Law Project, with signatories including an array of LGBTQ+ charities and organisations such as TransActual, Mermaids and the LGBT Foundation, among others.