The UN Human Rights Council – A Guide For Advocates Working On Human Rights Relating To Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity

The UN Human Rights Council (HRC) is the main intergovernmental forum for dealing with human rights issues. This guide aims to explain the work of this institution and to outline the opportunities available for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and other advocates working on sexual orientation and gender identity issues to make use of it in their work.

The HRC, and its predecessor the Commission on Human Rights, have been the site of important progress for the community of activists working to protect the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) people. Some of its independent experts have been prominent in upholding the basic principle that human rights are universal and apply to everyone. They have also worked to protect individuals and groups whose human rights are violated because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many States have spoken up in support of this work, and to re-affirm their shared responsibility to protect the human rights of all their citizens, including through joint statements and resolutions on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.

At the same time, however, these assertions of universality are not matched by the situation of LGBTI people around the world, and have been confronted by the active refusal of some States to live up to their commitments. The testimony and expertise of NGOs working on sexual orientation and gender identity is therefore crucial and this guide aims to assist and strengthen that work by presenting clear and practical information on what can seem a complex and confusing institution.

Download the Guide in PDF.