20th session

Geneva, 18 June – 6 July 2012

Whilst there was no specific initiative on sexual orientation or gender identity (SOGI) during this session of the HRC, the issues were brought in as relevant concerns under many agenda items and debates. The High Commissioner for Human Rights has been increasingly proactive, and raised SOGI-related concerns on freedom of expression and assembly in her opening statement to the Council. A broad range of Special Procedures mandate holders integrated the issues in their work, both in thematic reports and reports on country visits. South Africa also reaffirmed its commitment to SOGI issues by delivering a strong statement with Brazil on follow-up to the panel discussion that took place at the 19th session.

There were also some worrying trends this session – Egypt was systematic in its challenges throughout the agenda of the Council, a group of States consistently challenged language on multiple grounds of discrimination, and we saw the entry onto the Geneva scene of fundamentalist groups such as Family Rights Watch International.

Our report of the session (see link no.2 below) outlines statements made on SOGI issues in General Debates, Interactive Dialogues and formal Panel discussions, as well as in side events. Some key statements, including NGO interventions, are annexed at the end.

The advocacy document, “Addressing human rights violations based on SOGI at HRC20” (no.1 below) annexes excerpts containing SOGI references in Special Procedures and other reports to the session.

3. UN website: HRC20