UN and Regional Mechanisms

From its office in New York City, OutRight’s work at the United Nations focuses on helping Member States and UN institutions recognize that human rights standards apply to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression and sex characteristics.

We work to consolidate the right to non-discrimination and hold governments accountable by ensuring international condemnation of human rights violations, country by country. We make sure the concerns and perspective of LGBTIQ people are included in the conversation and debates taking place at the intergovernmental level.

We are the first and only U.S.-based LGBTIQ human rights organization to obtain consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This position makes us the natural convener of groups and activists coming to New York to conduct advocacy on LGBTIQ issues at the United Nations.

We play a strong convening role during the Commission on the Status of Women, which happens in March every year, the High-Level Political Forum on the Sustainable Development Goals, which takes place in July every year, and during the Third Committee session of the General Assembly which spans from September to December every year. We advocate to include a concern for sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics generally, and on specific resolutions such as the extrajudicial executions resolution.

OutRight works closely with UN Special Procedures - Independent Experts and Special Rapporteurs who report on human rights from a thematic or country specific perspective - to encourage them to intervene in urgent cases, and to develop an inclusive approach to human rights. In particular, OutRight was among civil society that pushed for the establishment of the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2016 and worked within the coalition in 2019 to secure the mandate's renewal. OutRight works regularly with the mandate to provide accurate and relevant information and to ensure that it is continuously supported at the UN by Member States.

In December every year, we host a large delegation of LGBTIQ activists and allies for a week of strategizing and advocacy meetings with UN missions and staff that takes place around the celebration of International Human Rights Day at the UN. We are among the groups that draw attention to the human rights situation for LGBTIQ people on this day.

Our organization is a founding member and current Secretariat of the UN LGBT Core Group, a group of 31 countries, the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights, the European Union, and Human Rights Watch. The group works to bring visibility and support for LGBTIQ people in the UN’s political processes. Our active participation in the Core Group has been key to keeping the focus on the human rights reality for LGBTIQ people worldwide.

Through our ECOSOC status, OutRight is also uniquely placed to support UN funds and agencies in integrating LGBTIQ concerns into existing programmatic work. We facilitate meetings between LGBTIQ experts from around the world with UN agencies and secretariat staff to ensure input on programmatic realities and impact.

Over the years, OutRight has also built significant expertise in supporting local LGBTIQ groups in submitting so-called shadow reports to UN treaty monitoring bodies, the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the UN Human Rights Council, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, and the various special procedures set up to oversee human rights compliance.

Please note: Click here to view our complete list of submissions to the United Nations. You can also view our reports on country conditions in either the "reports" or the "information by country" sections of this website.