Appointing an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender identity: An Analysis of Process, Results and Implications

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32nd Session of the Human Rights Council

June13 – 1st July, 2016

 

For further information on HRC32:

Arvind Narrain | Geneva Director | arvind@arc-international.net

Kim Vance | Executive Director | kim@arc-international.net

http://arc-international.net/global-advocacy/human-rights-council/32nd-session-of-the-human-rights-council/

All documents referenced in this Report can be found at:

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session32/Pages/ResDecStat.aspx

The defining event of the 32nd Session of the Human Rights Council was the passing of the resolution appointing an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity.[1]

The process began in 2011, when South Africa introduced the very first resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity, asking the High Commissioner to produce a Report on violations and best practices relating to discrimination and violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. In 2014, the Human Rights Council passed the second resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity, which asked the High Commissioner to update the report authorized by the 2011 resolution.

The 2016 resolution, apart from being the third resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) at the Council, went several steps further and set in place a dedicated mechanism tasked with examining discrimination and violence on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity over the next three years.

The passing of the resolution will now ensure sustained and systematic attention by a major organ of the United Nations to human rights violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity. The work of the Independent Expert can give greater depth to the notion that violations on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity are human rights violations which should be taken seriously. The creation of this mandate will enable activists from around the world to focus a global spotlight on brutal violations in diverse local and national contexts. In effect, the resolution creates a lever or mechanism that can be activated in aid of local struggles, bringing one more level of pressure to ensure accountability for violations on grounds of SOGI.

This Report will examine the Resolution in all its facets, examining the process leading up to the resolution, analysing the text of the resolution, and attempting to understand the political landscape i.e. why states voted the way they did. An underlying theme of the analysis is an effort to grapple with the implications of the resolution.

Read more:

I Introduction

II The process leading up to the SOGI Resolution 2016 

The logic underlying a resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity

The draft resolution

Informals on the draft resolution

Civil Society Advocacy Efforts

Joint statements by civil society

Making the case for an Independent Expert at the Human Rights Council

III Understanding the SOGI Resolution 2016

The voting results 

An analysis of the hostile amendments 

What the resolution does is more important than what the resolution says

IV Understanding the Political: Why did states vote the way they did? 

Understanding the ‘yes’ vote

The leadership of the LAC 7

The Asian yes vote

The failed rhetoric of developed versus developing countries

The passion underlying the yes vote

 Understanding the abstentions

South Africa: Abstention as regression

Ghana, Botswana and Namibia: Abstention as progress

India’s abstention: Remaining in the same place?

The Philippines abstention: A step backwards.

 Understanding the ‘no’ vote

The leadership of the OIC

The African Group

The support of Russia and China

Wider opposition to the framework of universal human rights

The threat to the functioning of the Council

V The interconnections to other resolutions at the 32ndSession of the Council

Annex I Brief Summary of other references to SOGI in the 32nd Session of the HRC

GENERAL DEBATE ON HUMAN RIGHTS SITUATIONS THAT REQUIRE THE COUNCIL’S ATTENTION

GENERAL DEBATE ON THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE VIENNA DECLARATION AND PROGRAMME OF ACTION

GENERAL DEBATE ON THE PROMOTION AND PROTECTION OF ALL HUMAN RIGHTS

GENERAL DEBATE ON THE REPORT OF THE HIGH COMMISSIONER OF HUMAN RIGHTS

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON EXTREME POVERTY

INTERACTIVE DIALOGUE ON FREEDOM OF PEACEFUL ASSEMBLY AND OF ASSOCIATION

INTERATIVE DIAGLOGUE ON THE RIGHT TO HEALTH

PANEL DISCUSSIONS

UN COMMISSION OF INQUIRY ON SYRIA: ISIS IS COMMITTING GENOCIDE AGAINST YAZIDIS

UNIVERSAL PERIODIC REVIEW

Annex II Description of the vote on the SOGI Resolution

Action on Draft Amendments L.71 to L.81

Action on Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1

Action on Non-Action Motion

Action on Operative Paragraph 2

Action on the Title of Draft Resolution L.2/Rev.1

Introduction of the Resolution

Separate Action on Operative Paragraphs 3 To 7

Annex III Description of the vote on the Family Resolution

Action on the Amendments L.82, L.83, L.84 L.89

Action on Draft Resolution L.35

Annex IV Description of the vote on the Civil Society Resolution

Action on Amendments L.52, L.53, L.54, L.55, L.56, L.59, L.60, L.61, L.62, L.63, L.64, L.65

Action on the Resolution on Civil Society Space

Download full Report in PDF.

[1]There were other important references to sexual orientation and gender identity both by the High Commissioner in his report, in the general debate as well as in the interactive dialogues. For a brief listing of the same see Annexure I