LGBTI | NGOs call on States to address the root causes of violence and discrimination


No person should suffer violence or discrimination on any ground.  Victor Madrigal-Borloz, the UN Independent Expert mandated to combat and protect against violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, presented his first report at the Human Rights Council this week. The report called on States to create a safe and enabling space for the work of LGBTI rights defenders. 

A joint NGO statement made during the Interactive Dialogue by ISHR along with Community Health Education Services and Advocacy (CHESA), the D’Marco Organisation, Intersex Human Rights Australia and Namibia Diverse Women’s Association echoed the Independent Expert’s call on States to take action to protect the rights of defenders working to protection the rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex (LGBTI) people.

As well as highlighting the specific and escalating challenges, violence and discrimination faced by LGBTI rights defenders, the statement raised concerns about restrictions imposed on LGBTI rights organisations.

‘The suspension of the CHESA in Tanzania on allegations of promoting homosexuality is in direct contravention of the rights to freedom of association and expression. We call on the Tanzanian Government to ensure it respects the fundamental rights of its citizens, and on the international community to encourage Tanzania to do so’, said ISHR’s Pooja Patel.

The joint statement drew the experts' attention to a joint NGO written submission to the Human Rights Council this May that called on States to fulfill their obligations to ensure that those who defend the rights of LGBTI individuals are protected. Building on the written submission, during the interactive dialogue ARC International called on States to use the Yogyakarta Principles +10 as guidance in the implementation of international human rights law. The statement also urged States to develop laws and policies addressing hate speech, violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.

‘We welcome interventions made by States during the dialogue in support of the mandate of the Independent Expert. In particular, those made by the Netherlands and Canada seeking guidance on how the expert, as well as States, can use the Yogyakarta Principles +10 to fight violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity’, said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy.

Closing the statement, ISHR and colleagues acknowledged that data collection contributes to ensuring lived realities of LGBTI people are represented in policy and service development and emphasised that data collection must be consultative and informed by affected populations if it is to assist to bridge the disconnect between decision makers and affected groups, and address the gap in the protection of fundamental human rights.

‘We welcome South Africa’s comments confirming that opposition to action against discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity defies logic. 
 No person should suffer violence or discrimination on any ground. We call on all States to engage with this important mandate and work towards making this a reality,’ said ISHR’s Tess McEvoy.

Watch the statement here:


Contact: Tess McEvoy,

Photo: ISHR.


  • Freedom of expression, association and assembly
  • Human rights defenders
  • LGBT rights
  • NGOs
  • United Nations
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Tanzania