Civil Society Advocacy Efforts

The time period from the announcement of the resolution to the final vote on June 30 was the crucial time when states who were members of the Human Rights Council were the subjects of intense lobbying and advocacy efforts from states supportive of the resolution, as well as civil society at both national and global levels.

It was this intensive effort that resulted in the resolution passing.  Indicative of the forms of pressure to which states were subjected to, was a letter by 12 organisations from El Salvador to their government asking them to vote yes. Similarly, there were letters from civil society groups in Vietnam, Mongolia, Philippines, India and South Africa all urging their governments to vote in favour of the resolution. In some countries, like India, civil society also engaged in a media campaign in both print and television, in which the government was urged to vote in favour of the resolution.

On a more global level one of the remarkable activist efforts was a joint letter, signed by 628 NGOs from 151 countries, asking their governments to ‘move beyond one-off initiatives and piecemeal measures’ and urgently address the ‘protection gap’. The joint letter called upon ‘the Human Rights Council to address this gap through the creation of an Independent Expert to address discrimination and violence against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity.’[1]

The geographical diversity and breadth of the signatories is indicated below:

List of Signatories: Regional Overview 

Regions Countries NGOs
LAC 29 158
Asia Pacific 39 160
Africa 35 114
Western Europe 21 90
Eastern Europe 25 56
North America 2 36
Global 0 14
Total 151 628

The telling statistic is that the majority of signatories (sixty-eight percent), are from the global south, coming from the Asia Pacific, LAC and African regions. This indicates the deeply felt need among LGBT groups in the global south for more systematic attention to violations against LGBT persons at the UN level.