OutRight Now: A Victory, as Independent Expert on SOGI is Renewed

 

Great news – the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity was been renewed by the Human Rights Council of the United Nations!

The Independent Expert on SOGI was created in 2016 to bring attention to the disproportionate violence, persecution and discrimination that LGBT people face in many countries around the world – including in 68 countries that still criminalize same-sex relations – by talking to States, and working collaboratively with UN and regional mechanisms. Since inception, the Independent Expert has already conducted four country visits (to Ukraine, Mozambique, Georgia and Argentina), issued five thematic reports, and issued over 20 individual complaints to countries about specific violations or concerns about legislation or policy in relation to sexual orientation or gender identity.

The resolution to create and renew the mandate was presented by seven Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay, all of which are members of the UN LGBTI Core group which OutRight works together with on a day to day basis.

In addition to ongoing engagement with the UN LGBTI Core Group, whose members requested the renewal, OutRight also participated in a coordinated #RenewIESOGI campaign, which was supported by 1,312 organizations from 174 States and territories!

Despite numerous attempts to dismantle the mandate, including 10 hostile amendments on this occasion, the impressive mobilization across global civil society was once again able to halt the efforts to block this important mandate.

The mandate was renewed by a decisive vote of 27 in favor, 12 against and 7 abstentions – a much stronger margin than when it was established in 2016 (23 in favor, 18 against, 6 abstentions). It is especially notable that, among others, the Bahamas, Fiji and the Philippines, Tunisia voted in favor of the mandate, increasing not only the number of supporters, but the geographic range too.

We have also continued to build upon our well-established relationship with the current Independent Expert on SOGI, Victor Madrigal Borloz, and look forward to continuing our collaboration for recognition of the human rights of LGBTIQ people worldwide. He is one of our keynote speakers at this year’s OutSummit on December 7!

Meanwhile, the US Senate is gearing up to approve Andrew Bremberg, who in his role as the Policy Director for the Republican National Committee’s 2016 Party Platform Committee facilitated the most overtly anti-LGBT policy positions ever taken by the Republican Party – including support for conversion therapy, and opposition to the rights of transgender people – to serve as US Ambassador to the Office of the United Nations in Geneva (See the letter we sent to the Senate opposing his appointment). This serves as a sobering reminder of the uphill battle we face, of the importance of a growing network of diverse allies across the world, and mobilization of civil society, before we can live free to be who we are, love whom we choose, free from fear of violence, hate and persecution.

Thank you for your ongoing support for our cause!

Sincerely,

Jessica Stern,
Executive Director, OutRight Action International

P.S. Watch the campaign videos here
Read the joint campaign press release here