No Challenge in UN Third Committee on the Renewal of Independent Expert on SOGI

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

7 November 2019

Media Contact: Daina Ruduša, commsteam@outrightinternational.org, +1 (917) 622-1865

No Challenge in UN Third Committee on the Renewal of Independent Expert on SOGI

The Third Committee of the UN General Assembly adopted the resolution presenting the Annual Report of the Human Rights Council today without challenge to the extension of the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity (IE SOGI).


In 2016, when the mandate was created, an amendment challenging it was tabled at the Third Committee. This year, a record-high number of States supported the renewal of the mandate at the Human Rights Council in July, and the mandate was not challenged in the Third Committee. This is a clear indication that the international community is becoming both more aware and less tolerant of violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI.

“The tireless, sustained outreach efforts of civil society from the grassroots up was essential to this achievement,” explains Nepali human rights defender Manisha Dhakal from Blue Diamond Society. “Over many years, we have worked together to build a truly global movement that queered the UN.”

1,312 non-governmental organisations from 174 States and territories campaigned for a renewal of the IE SOGI mandate. While the mandate was not challenged today, civil society will remain vigilant to any future attempts to undermine the crucial work of the Independent Expert.

Since 2016, through the work of this mandate, the international community has become increasingly aware of the devastating impact of the criminalisation of same-sex relations and the lack of legal gender recognition, but also of the importance of data-collection specific to LGBT communities, and of how hatred against LGBT people is hindering their full participation in society.

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight International commented:

“The Independent Expert plays a crucial role in documenting the discrimination and violence LGBTIQ people around the world face merely for who we love or the gender we are and express. The affirmation of this acute need by the Third Committee today, without challenge, is a reminder of the universality of human rights, and a testament to the strength and resilience of LGBTIQ people everywhere coming out and standing up for our right to be who we are.”

Civil society looks forward to the future activities of the expert. Victor Madrigal-Borloz is set to visit Sri Lanka in 2020 and has tabled 12 requests for as many country visits. We encourage all governments to cooperate fully with the UN Independent Expert on SOGI and contribute to bringing about a world free from violence and discrimination for all people, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity.

Note to editors: 

  • This resolution is presented each year by a group of African States. The resolution notes the report of the Human Rights Council. The report of the Human Rights Council contains all action taken by the Human Rights Council that year - this year that included the renewal of the mandate of the IE SOGI this July.

  • The UN Independent Expert on SOGI is tasked with assessing implementation of existing international human rights law, by talking to States and working collaboratively with other UN and regional mechanisms to address violence and discrimination. 

  • The formation of the IE SOGI mandate was challenged in the Third Committee in 2016. 

  • Since 2016, through the work of this mandate, the international community has become increasingly aware of the devastating impact of the criminalisation of same-sex relations and the lack of legal gender recognition, but also of the importance of data-collection specific to LGBT communities, and of how hatred against LGBT people is hindering their full participation in society. At the same time, examples of good practices to prevent discrimination have been highlighted globally, as the Independent Expert has undertaken visits to Argentina, Georgia, Mozambique and Ukraine.

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OutRight

Every day around the world, LGBTIQ people’s human rights and dignity are abused in ways that shock the conscience. The stories of their struggles and their resilience are astounding, yet remain unknown—or willfully ignored—by those with the power to make change. OutRight Action International, founded in 1990 as the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, works alongside LGBTIQ people in the Global South, with offices in six countries, to help identify community-focused solutions to promote policy for a lasting change. We vigilantly monitor and document human rights abuses to spur action when they occur. We train partners to expose abuses and advocate for themselves. Headquartered in New York City, OutRight is the only global LGBTIQ-specific organization with a permanent presence at the United Nations in New York that advocates for human rights progress for LGBTIQ people.