LGBT rights in Vanuatu

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StatusLegal since 2007[1]
Gender identityNo
Discrimination protectionsYes, some employment protections
Family rights
Recognition of relationshipsNo

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Vanuatu may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Same-sex sexual activity has been legal since 2007, but households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

In 2011, Vanuatu signed the "joint statement on ending acts of violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity" at the United Nations, condemning violence and discrimination against LGBT people.[2]

VPride Foundation is a Vanuatuan human rights group that advocates for LGBT rights, freedom of speech and freedom of religion. The group has organised many events to raise awareness of LGBT people in Vanuatu. Some of these events have been attended by government officials.[3]

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity is legal in Vanuatu. Since 2007, the age of consent has been equal, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.[1]

Recognition of same-sex relationships[edit]

Vanuatu does not recognise same-sex unions in any form.[4][5]

In October 2013, the Minister for Internal Affairs issued a warning, which said that pastors are not allowed to preside over same-sex marriages.[6]

Discrimination protections[edit]

There is no legal protection against all forms of discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.[7]

There is no general prohibition of employment discrimination based on sexual orientation in Vanuatu. However, Section 18.2(f) of the Teaching Service Act 2013 establishes the obligation of the Vanuatu Teaching Service Commission not to discriminate in recruitment, promotion, professional development, transfer and all other aspects of the management of its employees on the basis of "sexual preference".[8][9]

Social conditions[edit]

Vanuatu is a socially conservative country. Gay and lesbian travellers (and citizens) are advised to avoid public displays of affection. There is no active gay scene in Vanuatu.[10]

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was first celebrated in Vanuatu in 2016. The event was organised by VPride Foundation.[11] In October 2016, the group, in correlation with other human rights groups, held a workshop on LGBT rights and women's rights. The Minister of Health attended the event, and discussed issues such as better access to healthcare for people living with HIV/AIDS.[3]

Summary table[edit]

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes (Since 2007)
Equal age of consent Yes (Since 2007)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment only Yes/No (Since 2013; some protections)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services No
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (Incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) No
Same-sex marriages No
Recognition of same-sex couples No
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples No
Joint adoption by same-sex couples No
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Emblem-question.svg
Right to change legal gender No
Access to IVF for lesbians No
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples No
MSMs allowed to donate blood No

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b State-sponsored Homophobia A world survey of laws prohibiting same sex activity between consenting adults Archived 27 June 2013 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ "Over 80 Nations Support Statement at Human Rights Council on LGBT Rights » US Mission Geneva".
  3. ^ a b VPride Foundation and Vanuatu Women’s Centre hold first LGBTI Human Rights workshop together
  4. ^ " » Taboo topic, but some see hope for Pacific change with marriage 'equality' in NZ". Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  5. ^ Vanuatu HIV and Human Rights Legislative Compliance Review:March 2009[permanent dead link] page 20
  6. ^ "Vanuatu government warns pastors and resorts against gay marriage ceremonies". Radio New Zealand. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  7. ^ "Vanuatu Government warns against holding same-sex weddings". Gay Star News. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  8. ^ "The Teaching Service Act 2013" (PDF). Retrieved 18 May 2017.
  10. ^ "Lonely Planet - Gay & Lesbian Travellers". Archived from the original on 15 June 2017. Retrieved 28 May 2016.
  11. ^ Welcome to IDAHOT Newbies !