Community News: UN Human Rights Council Establishes LGBTI Independent Expert

Community News: UN Human Rights Council Establishes LGBTI Independent Expert

July 5, 2016

The United Nations Human Rights Council have made history by establishing an Independent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The Human Rights Council voted 23 to 18, with 6 abstentions to adopt the resolution on “Protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation, and gender identity”, this is a historic victory for human rights and LGBTI people around the world.

The resolution was tabled by seven Latin American countries; Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Uruguay who were supported by 41 nations that jointly presented the text to the Human Rights Council and 628 NGOs around the world, joined in calling for this adoption.

Micah Grzywnowicz from the Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights, says “This is truly momentous.

“This is our opportunity to bring international attention to specific violations and challenges faced by transgender and gender non-conforming persons in all regions. It’s time for international community to take responsibility to ensure that persons at risk of violence and discrimination because of gender identity are not left behind.”

”It is important to note that around 70% of the organisations are from the global south,” says Yahia Zaidi of MantiQitna Network. “This is a powerful cross regional message of strength to the United Nations to protect the rights of LGBTI persons. The Independent Expert will be a focal point for all violations based on SOGI and hence help grassroots organizations to better utilize the otherwise complex labyrinth of the UN system.”

The tasks of the Independent Expert include assessing implementation of existing international human rights law, identifying best practices and gaps, raising awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, engaging in dialogue and consultation with States and other stakeholders, and facilitating provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation to help address violence and discrimination on these grounds.

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