International Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

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Please note this page will be updated as documents become available.

Overview

More than 200 people, from 84 countries including representatives from Civil Society, States and the United Nations gathered in Oslo, Norway on 15 and 16 of April 2013 for the International Conference on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity sponsored by the Republic of South Africa and Norway. The international conference followed a series of regional seminars where human rights defenders engaged in pre-meetings to discuss priorities in preparation for the State-led process. Representatives from IGLHRC participated in the regional seminars in Kathmandu and Brasilia as well as the international conference in Oslo.

South Africa and Norway have published a Co-Chairs' Summary of Conclusions

The official conference program was recorded and video is available to watch online: Day 1 | Day 2

United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered a video statement (transcript pdf) to the International Conference, denouncing violations of LGBT people's human rights and declaring: "I am committed to leading a global campaign in partnership with the United Nations human rights office. I count on others to join us." Read more at UN News Centre »

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Šimonović followed the Secretary-General, saying, (transcript pdf) "We are here – as the Secretary-General put it a moment ago – to right some wrongs. Wrongs that have been perpetrated – often with impunity and sometimes even licensed by State authorities – against millions of people all over the world just because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex." In discussing the Office of the High Commissioner's report, the first of its kind to document violence and discriminatory laws and practices affecting LGBT people, Šimonović highlighted hate-motivated violence, criminalization of LGBT people and the lack of legal protection from discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Šimonović closed his remarks with a bold call to UN Member States, "Until now, United Nations reporting of violence and discrimination against LGBT people has been piece-meal and ad hoc. If we want to address these abuses systematically we need the proper tools to do so. That means an appropriate mechanism, dedicated to the issue, tasked with tracking violations and reporting them to States. We can of course only move in this direction if Member States so decide. The moment of decision is approaching. Let us not miss the opportunity."

On the second day of the conference, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay identified two "critical gaps" that pose a challenge to combating discrimination and violence against LGBT people: information and institutional. Addressing these gaps will enable states to engage in informed dialogue, which Pillay described as the "first step in overcoming divisions between states."

Of the information gap, Pillay said, "Violations should be systematically monitored, documented and reported. Evidence should be laid before states on a regular basis, providing a solid foundation for discussion. This is the way for more states to commit themselves to action on a national level."

Describing the current method of monitoring LGBT rights violations as “ad hoc,” Pillay called on member states to decide how best to establish an institutional mechanism for reporting violations of LGBT people’s human rights and discussion of States’ responses. Pillay closed with a powerful statement: "[LGBT people] are looking to the United Nations for protection. They expect us to live up to our ideals of equal rights for all, no distinctions, no exceptions. We must not betray them."

Outcome of the Regional Seminars

At each of the regional seminars, a Rapporteur was selected to present a report to the International Conference. Videos from each of the participating regions, information about the Rapporteur for the region and the concluding report is listed below. To see video of the Rapporteurs delivering their reports, view Day 1 of the conference recording. Each Rapporteur's remarks are identified by a chapter in the video.

Africa

Rapporteur: Danilo da Silva, Mozambican Association for Sexual Minority Rights (LAMBDA)
Report: The Realities and Rights of gender non-conforming people and people in same sex relations in Africa

Asia-Pacific

Rapporteur: Grace Poore, Regional Program Coordinator for Asia and the Pacific Islands, International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Report: Asia-Pacific Regional Seminar on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity
Remarks: Grace Poore Rapporteur Report

Europe

Rapporteur: Morten Kjærum, Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights
Report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights in Europe: Conference Report (en Español)

Latin America

Rapporteur: Ivanilda Dida Figueiredo, Special Advisor to the Office of the Human Rights Minister, Brazil and Gloria Careaga Pérez, Co-Secretary General of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
Report: Seminario Regional sobre la Orientación Sexual e Identidad de Género