Frequently Asked Questions about the Human Dignity Trust

Why Are You Called the “Human Dignity” Trust?

Those countries which criminalise sexual identity are undermining human dignity, a core concept in human rights law. The Trust is working to have the right of all people to a sexual identity, and therefore their human dignity, respected equally.

What Does the Trust do?

The Human Dignity Trust is a human rights organisation, with access to many of the world’s leading international human rights lawyers, which seeks to have international law on the right of the individual to an identity (specifically a sexual identity) applied and respected.  

Our only remit is to test the legality of laws which criminalise private consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex, wherever those laws exist in the world.

Why Is the Decriminalisation of Homosexuality Important?

Criminalisation causes misery to all of those affected, cloaking people’s identity in illegality and reducing it to sexual acts. Families become shattered. Violence and discrimination are tolerated. The effect of criminalisation is to put people who have sex with people of the same sex beyond the protection of the law, affecting the entire community.

Are you a Gay Rights Organisation?

The Human Dignity Trust is not a campaigning organisation nor does it seek to promote gay rights beyond issues relating to the criminalisation of sexual identity. The Trust seeks to uphold international law. 

It is a human rights organisation with a very narrow human rights goal: it seeks to bring laws criminalising homosexuality in all jurisdictions which are bound by international human rights treaties and/or whose constitutions are based on accepted human rights law into conformity with those pre-existing legal obligations.

Why Don´t You Do More? (E.g. Gay marriage or family life rights)

The criminalisation of homosexuality is a basic or threshold issue which creates systemic and very serious problems for those affected by it as well as the wider community, yet the criminalisation of consensual same sex sexual conduct has no rational basis, no demonstrable benefit for the wider community and is a breach of international human rights law.

By focussing our efforts on this one clear goal we aim to bring all national laws criminalising same sex sexual conduct between consenting adults into conformity with international human rights law. For this reason we do not campaign for wider LGBTI rights.

How Does the Trust Work?

The Trust’s aim is to work with selected lawyers in each of the jurisdictions which continue to criminalise consensual same sex sexual conduct and offer them the legal assistance that they may require to bring about a successful challenge to those laws. Following a carefully devised litigation strategy, our aim is to bring approximately five to ten cases globally each year.

Is the Trust a Charity? How is it Structured?

The Trust is a UK company limited by guarantee and is in the process of seeking charitable status. The Trust is governed by its Trustees. The Trust is supported by lawyers from around the world. These include large multi-national law firms which are members of our legal panel, all of whom have committed to work for the Trust on a pro bono basis. We will, therefore, be able to provide extensive legal support. We also have an impressive array of patrons. These are eminent jurists from around the world and are valued members of our corporate structure.

Why Should I Support The Human Dignity Trust?

The Trust is working towards a focussed and quantifiable goal (the universal decriminalisation of homosexuality on the basis of international human rights law) and already has substantial, high-level legal support across the globe. Supporting the work of the Trust, whether financially, by working with us, or by becoming an advocate of this work is vital to its ongoing programme of litigation.

How Can I Get Involved?

There are several ways in which you can support the work of the Trust:

(1) Most people have no idea how many countries still criminalise people for having consesual sex with the people of same sex. Increased public understanding of criminalisation and its consequences is a valuable aspect of our work. Please amke others aware about criminalisation. 

(2) Litigation is costly. Whilst our Legal Panel work on a pro bono basis, in most cases the local lawyers cannot afford to do this without payment. Financial giving is, therefore, vital for our ongoing effectiveness. Please donate what you can.

(3) There are many tasks which need to be done for this kind of litigation. Some can only be done by lawyers, but others are more general or need different skills. We have an intern programme and we welcome volunteers who would like to help us with our work. Please consider working for us.

Can you Help Me?

The Trust is not in a position to give legal advice on individual cases, but if you or someone you know is affected by laws criminalising same-sex sexual activity, we will do our best to assist you and/or refer you to an organisation or lawyer who can help you.


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