States will gather in Geneva in one month for the Human Rights Council’s 23rd session, to be held from 27 May – 14 June. High on the agenda, and likely to be the subject of considerable controversy, will be how the Council should follow up to its 2011 resolution on sexual orientation and gender identity. The issues of business and its impact on human rights, violence against women, and the freedoms of assembly, association and expression will also receive considerable attention, with experts reporting to the Council on key developments in these areas. The Council's programme of work for the session can be accessed here once available.
Sexual orientation and gender identity
In 2011 South Africa led the first resolution ever adopted by the Council on sexual orientation and gender identity. Two years later follow-up to this resolution is an urgent requirement, to ensure it does not fall off the Council’s agenda. With this in mind, a series of regional meetings have been held, in Kathmandu, Brasilia, Banjul and Paris, with the aim of identifying the challenges faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons (LGBT), and to discuss what tools would be the most useful for an effective response. A meeting in Olso earlier this month brought together the findings of those regional meetings, and key among the conclusions was the need for the UN to create a mechanism to systematise attention on violations and discrimination against LGBT people.