UN Committee examines case on gender identity in Seychelles

In mid-June 2020, the UN Human Rights Committee notified the Republic of the Seychelles of an individual communication submitted under the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (case no. 3769/2020).

The communication concerns the lack of legal recognition of newly acquired post-operative gender identity in the legal system of Seychelles.

The author is a post-operative male to female transgender. She applied to the administrative and judicial authorities of Seychelles to obtain the rectification of the gender recorded in her birth certificate and in all her personal identification documents. This was however to no avail, as the domestic legislation does not allow the possibility for post-operative transgenders to amend the gender marker.

The author thus turned to the UN Committee Rights claiming that the lack of legal recognition of gender identity in Seychelles gives rise to a breach of her right to be recognized as a person before the law under Article 16 ICCPR and constitutes an unjustified, disproportionate and arbitrary interference with her right to privacy under Article 17 ICCPR. She also contends that, by refusing to amend her gender marker, Seychelles is discriminating against her when compared to other individuals, including cissexuals, in violation of Article 26 ICCPR.

The UN Committee has already held, in the case of G. v. Australia (Case no. 2172/2012, Views of 15.6.2017), that lack of legal recognition of a new gender identity does not measure up with the rights guaranteed by the ICCPR.

The case is being litigated before the UN Committee by Prof. Andrea Saccucci and Dr. Giulia Borgna.

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