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UN renews crucial human rights expert mandate on sexual orientation and gender identity

The UN Human Rights Council once again reaffirms its commitment to combating discrimination and violence on the grounds of SOGI, and reminds all States of their obligations towards LGBT and gender-diverse people

(Geneva, 7 July 2022) – The United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI) for three more years. In a critical vote, the resolution was adopted by a vote of 23  in favour, with 17 voting against and 7 abstaining.

1,256 non-governmental organisations from 149 States and territories in all regions supported a campaign to renew the mandate.

Today’s vote was the first time that the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution explicitly condemning legislation that criminalises consensual same-sex conducts and diverse gender identities, and called on States to amend discriminatory legislation and combat violence on the grounds on SOGI. 

“Billions of people continue to live with laws and societal attitudes that put them in danger,” said Manisha Dhakal of Blue Diamond Society in Nepal, on behalf of a global coalition of civil society organisations. “Acknowledging that so much work remains to be done, the Council once again reaffirmed its commitment to combatting discrimination and violence on grounds of SOGI, reminding all States of their obligations towards these communities.”

“The existence of a specific UN human rights mechanism on violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI is crucial for our communities to be heard at the global level,” added Carlos Idibouo of Fierté Afrique Francophone (FAF) from Cote d’Ivoire. “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”.

Created in 2016, and renewed for the first time in 2019, the Independent Expert has been supported by a growing number of States from all regions. 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 –  and was cosponsored by 60 countries from all regions. 

“Having secured a renewal for three more years, this mandate will now continue to support initiatives in countries around the world ensuring that LGBT and gender-diverse people live free of inequality , and to amplify their voices and testimonies in international human rights fora,” added Aleh Ordóñez Rodríguez of Ledeser in Mexico.

Not only did the renewal process successfully overcome 12 of 13 hostile amendments, the core of the resolution affirming the universal nature of international human rights law stands firm.

The Independent Expert assesses implementation of international human rights law, by talking to States, and working collaboratively with other UN and regional mechanisms to address violence and discrimination. Since 2016 the world has heard more about the impact of criminalisation of same-sex relations between consenting adults, the need to legally recognise a person’s gender, the barriers to social inclusion and the importance of collecting data related to LGBT lives, the harm caused by so-called ‘conversion therapy’, and more. The Expert has also cast a light on good practices to prevent discrimination, and recently conducted visits to Argentina, Georgia, Mozambique, Tunisia, and Ukraine.

We hope that all governments cooperate fully with the Independent Expert 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 (2018-ongoing) from Costa Rica..
  1. 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.

ORGANISATIONS SIGNING THE STATEMENT AND MEDIA CONTACTS:

Organisation name,, media contact

  • APCOM Foundation communications@apcom.org
  • Asia Pacific Alliance for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights Alexandra Johns, alexandra@asiapacificalliance.org
  • Campaign for Change campaignforchange17@gmail.com
  • Canadian Labour Congress    Chantal St-Denis media@clcctc.ca
  • Centre for the Development of People             +265991573514
  • COALIBOL LGBTI       frank.e.arteaga@gmail.com
  • COC Nederland            Philip Tijsma; PTijsma@coc.nl
  • Coeur Arc-en-ciel           
  • Conurbanes por la Diversidad
  • Council for Global Equality    Mark Bromley
  • Cupe Ontario  
  • Dialogai            Matthias Erhardt, Matthias.Erhardt@icloud.com
  • Diverlex Diversidad e Igualdad a Través de la Ley      Tamara Adrian adrianjuris@yahoo.com
  • Diverse Voices and Action (DIVA) for Equality             Noelene Nabulivou: noelenen@gmail.com
  • Edge Effect     Emily Dwyer emilydwyer@edgeeffect.org
  • Egale Canads Kvancemubanga@egale.ca
  • Equal Asia Foundation                  
  • ERA – LGBTI Equal Rights Association for Western Balkans and Turkey       
  • Biljana Ginova, biljana@lgbti-era.org
  • F’INE Pasifika Aotearoa Trust phyleshanz@gmail.com
  • Fierté Afrique Francophone contact@fierteafriquefrancophone.org
  • FRI – The Norwegian Organisation for Sexual and Gender Diversity  
  • Fundación Diversencia                
  • Fundación Igualdad   Pedro Paradiso Sottile  presidencia@igualdad.ar
  • Fundación Iguales       Carolina Aliaga caliaga@iguales.cl
  • GATE – Global Action for Trans Equality         press@gate.ngo
  • GENDERDOC-M Information Centre info@gdm.md, Anastasiia
  • Human Rights Campaign         press@hrc.org.
  • Human Rights Watch  
  • ILGA Asia         Ryan Ong, ryan@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            
  • International Commission of Jurists    
  • International Family Equality Day      Matcha Phorn-In, Benny Odongo info@internationalfamilyequalityday.org
  • Iranti-NPC      Nolwazi Tusini- nolwazi@iranti.org.za
  • ISHR  Tess McEvoy: t.mcevoy@ishr.ch
  • Kasbah Tal’fin communication@kasbahtalfin.com
  • Las Reinas Chulas Cabaret y Derechos Humanos AC 
  • Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany LSVD            klaus.jetz@lsvd.de
  • LGBT Association ‘LIGA’          liga.lgbt@gmail.com
  • MANODIVERSA          Frank Arteaga
  • MSI Reproductive Choices        
  • National LGBT* organization LGL       vladimir@gay.lt
  • OPSEU/SEFPO             JP Hornick jphornick@opseu.org
  • Organizando Trans Diversidades (Asociación OTD Chile)     contacto@otdchile.org
  • OutRight Action International
  • Pacific Human Rights Initiative                
  • Pan Africa ILGA            Robert Amoafo – advocacy@panafricailga.org
  • Pink human rights defender NGO         
  • Planet Ally      Bess Hepworth, bess@planetally.org
  • Rainbow Community Kampuchea Organisation (RoCK)         pisey@rockcambodia.org
  • RAM Gender Diversity Movement Trust           
  • Red de Desarrollo Sostenible de Nicaragua  José Ignacio López – rdsnicaragua@gmail.com