U.N. Extends Protection from Violence and Discrimination Against LGBTQ+

U.N. works against anti-LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination

This is the first time that the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution explicitly condemning legislation that criminalizes consensual same-sex conducts and diverse gender identities and called on states to amend discriminatory legislation and combat violence on the grounds.

The U.N. extends efforts against anti LGBTQ+ violence and discrimination following a critical vote of 23 in favor, 17 against and 7 abstaining.

The Independent Expert on on sexual orientation and gender identity was established in 2016, was extended for three years in 2019. This year it was extended again for three years, with a resolution condemning legislation that criminalizes consensual same-sex conducts and diverse gender identities.

The U.N. LGBTQ+ protection mandate is currently held by Victor Madrigal-Borloz (in the picture), a gay man from Costa Rica, who was appointed as UN Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity in late 2017. 

Madrigal-Borloz said in a tweet that he was “delighted” by the news of the renewal, adding that he was “as humbled & honored as the first day to continue serving persons, communities and peoples affected from discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

1,256 non-governmental organizations from 149 States and territories in all regions supported a campaign to call the U.N. to renew the pro LGBTQ+ mandate.

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 criminalization of same-sex relations between consenting adults, the need to legally recognize 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.

“Once again, the main UN human rights body made it clear: violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity must be prevented,” said Gabriel Galil, Senior Program Officer Senior on UN advocacy at ILGA World. “This historic resolution takes significant steps forward that were long claimed by our communities: it denounces the negative impacts of criminalization of consensual same-sex conducts and diverse gender identities, and calls on UN member States to amend discriminatory legislation, take measures to combat violence, and to protect the civic space of organizations working on SOGI [sexual orientation and gender identity] issues”.