OutRight Reacts to the United States Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council


19 June 2018

Media Contact: Rashima Kwatra, rkwatra@outrightinternational.org, +1(917) 859-7555

OutRight Reacts to the United States Withdrawal from the UN Human Rights Council

Today, at a press conference held at the State Department, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations (UN) Nikki Haley announced the withdrawal of the United States from the United Nations Human Rights Council. The withdrawal marks the latest announcement in a concerning trend of US divestment from United Nations institutions and multilateral agreements including the 2017 defunding of the UN Population Fund and the withdrawal from the Paris Agreement on climate change mitigation.

The UN Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, is the world's preeminent human rights institution with a mandate to strengthen the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and to address human rights violations. The Council has been a site for progress for LGBTIQ human rights over the past ten years, leading to the recent establishment of the first UN Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity, a position currently held by Victor Madrigal-Borloz.

OutRight Action International releases an organizational statement on the importance of international human rights mechanisms and US withdrawal:

“The US withdrawal from the Human Rights Council is symptomatic of overall US isolationism and a move away from multilateral diplomacy. This administration’s “America First” promise is rearing its head in every foreign and domestic policy decision, including this one.

While the US may see reasons for criticism of the Human Rights Council and advocate for reform, the institution has been the central international mechanism of accountability and justice for marginalized groups and people the world over. For many LGBTIQ people, the Human Rights Council and the United Nations as a whole are ports of last call when their own governments fail them.

Withdrawing from the Council sends a message to other countries that its acceptable to walk away from the system when it doesn’t suit you to be there. Imagine, what would happen if all countries walked away from the UN because of disagreements?

Investing in multilateralism is not just integral to preserving and progressing human rights, it is essential to promoting peace and security. OutRight believes in the international system and the integrity of the Human Rights Council. We look forward to continue working with everyone who share these values.”



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 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.