UN renews crucial mandate for protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity

This is another historic victory, not only for communities of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, but for humanity as a whole.”

(Geneva, July 12, 2019) – In a defining vote, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert focusing on the protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of  sexual orientation and gender identity.

The resolution was adopted by a vote of 27 in favor, with 7 voting against and 12 abstentions.

The campaign calling on the Council to renew the mandate of the UN Independent Expert on SOGI was supported by 1,312 non-governmental organizations from 174 States and territories.

This is another historic victory, not only for communities of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities, but for humanity as a whole”, said Paula Sebastiao of Arquivo de Identidade Angolano in Angola and Simran Shaikh, Asia coordinator of the Trans Respect v. Transphobia project, on behalf of 63 human rights groups worldwide. “Following the call from a record number of organizations from every region imaginable, the UN Human Rights Council has reaffirmed its commitment to combat discrimination and violence on grounds of SOGI, and has reminded all states of their obligations towards these communities.”

Created in 2016, the UN Independent Expert on SOGI has been supported by an ever-growing number of States from all regions of the world. The resolution to create and renew the mandate was presented by a Core Group of seven Latin American countries – Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Uruguay.

“The renewal of this mandate demonstrates how United Nations States’ support for tackling violence and discrimination against people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities has grown tremendously,” said UN Trans Advocacy Week campaigners. “The Independent Expert is crucial in bringing international attention to specific violations and challenges faced by trans and gender-diverse persons in all regions.”

Although the renewal process had to overcome 10 hostile amendments, the core of the resolution in affirming the universal nature of international human rights law stands firm.

“The existence of a specific UN human rights mechanism looking at SOGI issues is crucial for our communities to be heard at the global level,” added Ryan Silverio of ASEAN SOGIE Caucus from the Philippines. If the world is truly committed to leaving no one behind, it can’t shy away from addressing the violence and discrimination that we face. Laws criminalising our identities and actions are unjust, and should no longer be tolerated”.

The UN Independent Expert on SOGI is tasked with assessing implementation of existing international human rights law, by talking to States, and working collaboratively with other UN and regional mechanisms to address violence and discrimination. Through the work of this mandate since 2016, the impact of criminalisation of same-sex relations and lack of legal gender recognition, the importance of data-collection specific to SOGI communities, and examples of good practices to prevent discrimination have been highlighted globally, with visits to Argentina, Georgia, Mozambique and Ukraine.

“The renewal of the mandate signals that the brutal violence and inhuman degradation faced by LGBTI communities worldwide concerns the world community and is an important message reaffirming the humanness of all persons regardless of SOGI. This will help take our struggle forward,” said Arvind Narrain, Director of Research and Practice or ARC International.

We hope that all governments cooperate fully with the UN Independent Expert on SOGI in this important work to bring about a world free from violence and discrimination for all people regardless of sexual orientation and gender identity.

** ENDS **


Note to editors:

    1. The Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity is appointed by the UN Human Rights Council. The mandate was established in 2016, and has been held by Vitit Muntarbhorn (2016-2017) from Thailand, and Victor Madrigal-Borloz (2017-ongoing).
    2. The press release refers to “people of diverse sexual orientations and gender identities” or to “LGBT” – instead of “LGBTI” – as the mandate is specifically tasked with addressing human rights violations on sexual orientation and gender identity.


Organization Name Name Email
42 Degrees Emily Dwyer
Accountability International Denis Nzioka denis@acountability.international
Amnesty International Laura Carter laura.carter@amnesty.org
ARC International Mariana Winocur mariana@arc-international.net
ASEAN SOGIE Caucus Ryan Silverio ryansilverio@gmail.com
Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) Joe Wong joe.wong@weareaptn.org
Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos A.C. (ASILEGAL) Jose Luis Gutierrez Román direccion@asilegal.org.mx
Asociación OTD Chile Franco Fuica franco.fuica@otdchile.org
Caribe Afirmativo Wilson direccion@caribeafirmativo.lgbt
çavaria Jeroen Borghs jeroen.borghs@cavaria.be
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality Harjanti Kertokarijo harjanti@choiceforyouth.org
COC Nederland Alexander Hammelburg ahammelburg@coc.nl
Colectivo Alejandria Karla Guevara karlaguevara2009@yahoo.es
Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA) Pedro Paradiso Sottile secretaria@cha.org.ar
Conurbanes por la Diversidad- Argentina Darío Arias conurbanosporladiversidad@gmail.com
Egale Canada Helen Kennedy hkennedy@egale.ca
Equality Australia Hayley Conway hayley.conway@equalityaustralia.org.au
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey Vuk Raičević vuk@lgbti-era.org
Fundación Afrodescendiente por las Diversiades Sociales y Sexuales – SOMOS IDENTIDAD Fundación Afrodescendiente por las Diversidades Sociales y Sexuales – SOMOS IDENTIDAD samiarizabaleta@gmail.com
Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual Roberto Perez Baeza roberto@fundacionarcoiris.org.mx
Fundación Reflejos de Venezuela Ana Margarita Rojas radioreflejos@gmail.com
GATE Naomhán O’Connor noconnor@transactivists.org
Gender DynamiX Hape Peshoane regional@genderdynamix.org.za
GIN-SSOGIE Toni Kruger-Ayebazibwe Toni@gin-ssogie.org
Haus of Khameleon Miki Wali mikiwali7@gmail.com
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia Biljana Ginova biljana.ginova@mhc.org.mk
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum Susan Baluka sbaluka@hrapf.org
Human Rights Law Centre Michelle Bennett Michelle.Bennett@hrlc.org.au
ILGA Asia Dowha Kim dowha@ilgaasia.org
ILGA World Daniele Paletta media@ilga.org
ILGALAC – Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Trans e Intersex para América Latina y El Caribe Pedro Paradiso Sottile director@ilga-lac.org
International Family Equality Day Maria von Känel info@internationalfamilyequalityday.org
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
International Service for Human Rights Tess McEvoy and Helen Nolan t.mcevoy@ishr.ch and h.nolan@ishr.ch
Iranti Jabu Pereira jabu@iranti.org.za
Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights (KLPH) Minhee Ryu minhee.ryu@gmail.com
Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret y Derechos Humanos AC Luz Aranda luz.aranda.arroyo@gmail.com
LGBTI Support Center Biljana Ginova biljana.ginova@mhc.org.mk
LSVD Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany Klaus Jetz Klaus.jetz@lsvd.de
Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA) Linda RM Baumann namibiadiversewomen@gmail.com
ODRI Intersectional rights Marisa Paredes od.intersectionalrights@gmail.com
OutRight Action International Daina Rudusa drudusa@outrightinternational.org
Pacific Human Rights Initiative Tuisina Brown ymania@gmail.com
People’s Matrix Tampose Mothopeng mothopeng.tampose@gmail.com
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy Sooyoung Hwang swimming@pspd.org
Planet Ally Bess Hepworth bess@planetally.org
Red Latinoamericana GayLatino Simón Cazal simon@somosgay.org
REDTRANS Nicaragua silvia   martinez redtransnicaragua1
RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights Micah Grzywnowicz micah.grzywnowicz@rfsl.se
RFSU Matilda Ström matilda.strom@rfsu.se
RWS – India’s Diverse Chamber Simran Shaikh info@rwsindia.org
Stichting NNID Miriam Van der Have miriam.vanderhave@nnid.nl
Synergía – Initiatives for Human Rights Fanny Gomez fanny@synergiaihr.org
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights Carlos Quesada Quesada@raceandequality.org
the Transgender Liberation Front(abbr. TLF) Jinho Lee nonolettuce@gmail.com
Trans Pasefika Tuisina Ymania Brown tuisinaybrown@gmail.com
TransAction (Aotearoa / New Zealand) Jack Byrne jackbyrne@trans-action.nz
Valientes de Corazón Ecuador Emilio Villafuerte valientesdecorazonecuador@gmail.com
Young Queer Alliance Fokeerbux Najeeb Ahmad najeeb.af1990@gmail.com