NGOs make a united call for an Independent Expert on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity


Human rights organisations from across the world call for the Human Rights Council to create an Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual roientation and gender identity.

The Human Rights Council should address its protection gaps for LGBT people by creating an Independent Expert to ensure systematic and institutionalised response to human rights violations perpetrated on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, said the International Service for Human Rights today.

Pooja Patel from ISHR was among several NGO partners who made this call at the Council today. ‘It is in the interest of all States that this Special Procedures mandate is created to raise awareness of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, engage in dialogue and consultation with States and other stakeholders, and facilitate provision of advisory services, technical assistance, capacity-building and cooperation to help address violence and discrimination on these grounds’.

Dorjjantsan Ganbaatar from LGBT Centre in Mongolia in collaboration with ILGA read a statement on behalf on 601 NGOs from across 147 States and called on the ‘Council to address this urgent protection gap through the creation of an Independent Expert to address discrimination and violence against persons based on sexual orientation and gender identity’, highlighting that the mandate ‘should take into account the linkages to broader issues of gender equality, autonomy over bodies and lives, and the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination on the basis of factors such as class, religion, gender, race, HIV status and disability’.

Yahia Zaidi delivered a statement on behalf of MantiQitna Network and Pan-Africa ILGA calling on states in Africa in decriminalise homosexuality and at the same time commended Mozambique and Seychelles for moving away from the draconian law.  It would be in keeping with the principles od the UDHR as well as the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, for African countries to vote for the resolution at the Human Rights Council establishing an Indepdent Expert on sexual orientation and gender identity, he stated.

Micah Grzywnowicz from The Swedish Federation for LGBTQ Rights highlighted the difficulties of trans people to live with dignity and freedom. They stated their private lives are transgressed and ‘too many transgender persons are forced to live with identity documents that do not correspond to their self-defined gender. Opening a bank account, applying for a job, boarding a plane, or lodging a harassment complaint can become a repeated source of harassment, unfounded suspicion, and even violence’. They added that ‘The creation of an Independent Expert mandate on sexual orientation and gender identity … would also be a platform to share best practices and provide technical assistance to States in ensuring human rights based laws, policies and procedures on the legal gender recognition of all persons.’

Josefina Valencia Toledano from Closet de Sor Juana in Mexico appreciated the leadership of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Uruguay in introducing this important initiative. She also highlighted the positive role that has been played at regional level by the Special Rapporteur on LGBTI issues of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, in terms of creating dialogue and awareness on the issues, offering technical assistance to States and in taking an intersectional approach.

A joint statement of A-status NHRIs from Australia, Greece, Mongolia, Nepal, New Zealand and the Philippines also called on the Council to establish an Independent Expert. They highlighted the work of NHRIs in promoting and protecting all human rights, including in relation to sexual orientation and gender identity. This includes a recent publication by the Asia-Pacific Forum of NHRIs about how national institutions can address discrimination and violence on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and sex characteristics.

Meanwhile, a group of NGOs urged member States of the Council to reject any procedural tactics – such as a ‘no-action motion’ which was employed during the consideration of the 2014 resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity. ‘A vote in support of a “no-action motion” shuts down debate, undermines the principle of constructive dialogue and is tantamount to opposition to the resolution itself’ stressed NGOs. They further urged member States to oppose any amendments designed to strip the resolution of its content or focus, for instance, by seeking to remove the grounds ‘sexual orientation and gender identity’ or negate the callf or an Independent Expert.




  • Africa
  • Asia
  • Pacific
  • Europe
  • Latin America and Caribbean
  • Middle East and North Africa
  • North America
  • LGBT rights
  • Special Procedures of the UN Human Rights Council
  • UN Human Rights Council
  • Asia Pacific Forum of National Human Rights Institutions
  • National Human Rights Institutions