Geneva, 10 – 27 June 2014
|Download our advocacy report for the session: Addressing SOGI at HRC26
Download our report of the session: HRC26 report
Read the joint NGO statement on SOGII issues, signed by over 500 NGOs
14:00 – 15:30 Unitarian Universalist Association and Muslims for Progressive Values:
Human rights and progressive Islam (Room XXI)
17:00 – 18:30 ARC International and Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network:
Human rights of LGBTI persons – developments in the regional human rights mechanisms (Room IX)
17:00 – 18:30 ACPD and Sexual Rights Initiative:
Criminalization of sexuality (Room XXV)
15:00 – 17:00 ILGA:
Challenges for LGBTI rights – Violence against women (Room XXV)
There are a number of opportunities to raise awareness of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the upcoming 26th session of the Human Rights Council.
These include general debate following the update by the High Commissioner, interactive dialogue with relevant Special Procedures (e.g. on assembly and association, violence against women, and extrajudicial executions), relevant panels, and general debate under items 3, 4 or 8.
Our advocacy report provides a summary of these opportunities. In addition:
– Annex I excerpts the references to sexual orientation and gender identity in the reports of the Special Procedures and other reports to the Council;
– Annex II highlights UPR recommendations relating to sexual orientation and gender identity in the reports of the States under review.
Overview of the session
Opportunities to raise awareness of human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council include:
General Debate following the High Commissioner’s update
This will be Navi Pillay’s last presentation to the Human Rights Council in her capacity as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The High Commissioner has played an active role in calling for an end to violence, discrimination and criminalisation based on sexual orientation and gender identity. As part of an anti-discrimination campaign, the OHCHR has committed to working with States, national human rights institutions and civil society to achieve progress towards the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality and further measures to protect people from violence and discrimination on grounds of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The OHCHR has launched a global public education campaign (“Free and Equal”) for LGBT equality (www.unfe.org). More information on the High Commissioner’s work on SOGI issues can be found at: www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Discrimination/Pages/LGBT.aspx .
The High Commissioner recently released her Annual Report, which brings specific attention to the work of her Office in addressing human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
Reports to the Council
Various reports to this session of the Council address human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Full details are provided in Annex I of our report. For example:
The Special Rapporteur on freedom of association and assembly noted that “sexual orientation and gender identity are increasingly used as a basis for explicit discrimination in the area of assembly rights” and outlined numerous specific country cases of concern.
The Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression drew attention to hate speech and discriminatory statements against LGBTI persons in Macedonia and Montenegro, as well as reports of attacks against LGBTI people and during peaceful demonstrations by LGBTI people.
The Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, in his report of his mission to Mexico, noted “an alarming pattern of grotesque homicides of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) individuals and broad impunity for their perpetration, sometimes with the suspected complicity of investigative authorities”.
The Special Rapporteur on racism, in his report on combating glorification of Nazism, expressed concern about “attacks by individuals linked to extreme right and neo-Nazi groups who had beaten homosexual men and lesbian women during or after public demonstrations calling for the recognition of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights”.
General debates – items 3, 4 & 8
There will be opportunity for statements during general debate, particularly under item 3 (promotion and protection of all human rights), item 4 (Human rights situations that require the Council’s attention) – which might be used to address country situations of particular concern, and item 8 (follow-up to and implementation of the VDPA).
Statements by regional or cross-regional groupings might express concern about continuing violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, reference the SOGI resolution, report and regional meetings, and call for constructive dialogue and systematic follow-up by the HRC so that the Council may better comply with its mandate of promoting and protecting human rights for all people without distinction.
Item 4 affords an opportunity to highlight human rights violations and negative trends of particular concern, such as recent developments in Uganda, Nigeria and Russia, which undermine the human rights of persons on the basis of their sexual orientation and gender identity. In Uganda, the anti-homosexuality act has led to the deteriorating situation of LGBTI people, including documented cases of attacks, kidnap, arrests, blackmail, loss of property, income and evictions, and suicides. In Nigeria, the passing of a similarly oppressive bill criminalising same sex relations with a 14-year sentence has led to a rise in arrests as well as mob violence and attacks against members of the LGBT communities. In Russia, the law prohibiting “propaganda of non-traditional relationships” severely restricts freedoms of expression and assembly, and has been used to target groups and individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity. This is in the context of a wider trend of limitations on civil society organisations in Russia and the region, where other countries are also discussing anti-propaganda laws.
Recent publications providing more detailed information on country situations of concern:
UPR report adoptions – item 6
The UPR report adoption process affords an opportunity to commend those States which have responded favourably to relevant recommendations, and to encourage States who have not to address these issues more positively in future.
Many relevant recommendations relating to sexual orientation and gender identity issues were raised during the UPR of those States whose reports are due to be adopted. A full list of UPR recommendations for the States under review is attached as Annex II of our report. In particular:
Uruguay accepted a recommendation to “take all necessary policies and other measures to prevent and provide protection against all forms of discrimination, violence and harassment related to sexual and gender identity, and, to ensure that perpetration of such violence is vigorously investigated and that perpetrators are held accountable”;
Comoros rejected all SOGI recommendations, including to “take steps to avoid discrimination and violation of the human rights of the LGBT population”;
Viet Nam is expected to respond to a recommendation to “enact a law to fight against discrimination which guarantees the equality of all citizens, regardless of their sexual orientation and gender identity”;
States under review should be encouraged to provide clear answers to all recommendations prior to the adoption of their report.
This year’s full day discussion on women’s human rights will address gender stereotyping and the sustainable development agenda. Special procedures mandates have noted that women who challenge or transgress gender norms and stereotypes, such as LBT women, are more likely to face discrimination and violence. Furthermore, the impact of violence, discrimination and inequalities against LBT women must be adequately addressed to ensure a successful development agenda post-2015, and to avoid replicating the failures of the MDGs.
|Download our advocacy report for the session: Addressing SOGI at HRC26|