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UN Renews Mandate of Independent Expert on SOGI

UN renews crucial mandate for protection against violence and discrimination based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity

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 favour, with 12 voting against and 7 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 Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide project, on behalf of 60 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 howUnited 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 extraordinary work of hundreds of human rights defenders and grassroots organisations from all over the world is what made today’s historic result possible”, said Tuisina Ymania Brown and Luz Elena Aranda, co-Secretaries General at ILGA World. “Their continuous push for change prompted 55 states to support the renewal of the mandate and send a clear message that the Human Rights Council will support protections against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity”.

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.

Organisations signing the statement:

42 Degrees
Accountability International
Amnesty International
ARC International
Asia Pacific Transgender Network (APTN) 
Asistencia Legal por los Derechos Humanos A.C. (ASILEGAL)
Asociación OTD Chile
Caribe Afirmativo
CHOICE for Youth and Sexuality
COC Nederland
Colectivo Alejandria
Comunidad Homosexual Argentina (CHA)
Conurbanes por la Diversidad- Argentina
Egale Canada
Equality Australia
ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey
Fundación Afrodescendiente por las Diversiades Sociales y Sexuales – SOMOS IDENTIDAD
Fundacion Arcoiris por el respeto a la diversidad sexual
Fundación Reflejos de Venezuela
Gender DynamiX
Haus of Khameleon 
Helsinki Committee for Human Rights of the Republic of Macedonia 
Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum
Human Rights Law Centre
ILGA World
ILGALAC – Asociación Internacional de Lesbianas, Gays, Bisexuales, Trans e Intersex para América Latina y El Caribe
International Family Equality Day
International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI)
International Service for Human Rights
Korean Lawyers for Public Interest and Human Rights (KLPH)
Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret y Derechos Humanos AC 
LGBTI Support Center 
LSVD Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany
Namibia Diverse Women’s Association (NDWA)
ODRI Intersectional rights
OutRight Action International
Pacific Human Rights Initiative
People’s Matrix
People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy
Planet Ally
Red Latinoamericana GayLatino
REDTRANS Nicaragua
RFSL, the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights
RWS – India’s Diverse Chamber 
Stichting NNID
Synergía – Initiatives for Human Rights
The International Institute on Race, Equality and Human Rights 
the Transgender Liberation Front(abbr. TLF)
Trans Pasefika
TransAction (Aotearoa / New Zealand)
Transgender Europe (TGEU)
Valientes de Corazón Ecuador 
Young Queer Alliance