It’s been three years since the Human Rights Council adopted its first resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. While serious violations continue in all regions, the Council is yet to engage in a follow up resolution.
JOINT NGO STATEMENT
26th session of the Human Rights Council
Thank you Mr. President,
I am honored to make this statement on behalf of the international NGO ILGA and 13 co-sponsoring NGOs. It is endorsed by over 500 organizations from more than 100 countries: from Australia to Zimbabwe, from St Lucia to Samoa, from Uruguay to Uganda.
Three years ago, this Council adopted its first resolution on sexual orientation, gender identity and human rights. Around the world however, members of our communities still face violence and discrimination because of our sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, or intersex status.
For many, these issues are inextricably linked to broader issues of gender equality, autonomy over our bodies’ and lives, sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on the basis of our class, poverty, occupation as sex workers, religion, race, HIV status and (dis)ability.
In too many countries, we face severe human right violations – we are criminalized including under colonial-era laws, we face the death penalty, we are murdered, lesbians are subject to rape and forced marriage; Intersex people face genetic de-selection, infanticide, coerced sterilization and genital mutilation; Transgender persons are demeaned and beaten, subjected to pathologization, sterilization, their identities often unrecognized by States.
We are denied health care or needed treatment; we routinely face discrimination in work, housing and education. In many countries, our work as human rights defenders is opposed, obstructed or banned. Our rights to peacefully gather are often denied, while attempts are made to silence our voices.
There are also positive developments in all regions of the world. We welcome, for example, the recent adoption by the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights of a historic resolution on the ‘Protection Against Violence and other Human Rights Violations Against Persons on the Basis of their Real or Imputed Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity” and the adoption by the Organization of American States just this month of its resolution on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity and Expression”.
The Human Rights Council must also play its part. These violations are systemic, and require systemic responses. The Council must adopt a resolution to ensure regular reporting, constructive dialogue and sustained systematic attention to the breadth of human rights violations on these grounds.
As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated to the Council at its March 2012 panel: “The Time has Come”.