Punitive laws along with violence and discrimination prevent LGBTI people from fully participating in society and living as their true, authentic selves all around the world. Often those who perpetuate violence and discrimination toward members of the LGBTI community do not face repercussions for their actions, and this culture of impunity tends to create vicious cycles of abuse.
In 2016, the United Nations Human Rights Council recognized the urgent need for improved measures to protect the LGBTI community against violence and discrimination, and adopted resolution 32/2. This resolution mandated the appointment of an independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity (SOGI). The independent expert is assigned the immensely important responsibility to ensure the rights of LGBTI people everywhere are protected.
The independent expert’s tasks include assessing the implementation of international human rights instruments; raising awareness and identifying the root causes of violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI; engaging in dialogue with states and other relevant stakeholders; working with states to foster the implementation of measures that contribute to the protection of LGBTI persons against violence and discrimination; addressing forms of violence and discrimination; and supporting national efforts to combat violence and discrimination on the basis of SOGI.
Victor Madrigal-Borloz, UN Independent Expert on protection against violence and discrimination base on sexual orientation and gender identity shares message on taking action and stepping up for LGBTI human rights everywhere.
The appointment of the independent expert in 2016 represented a momentous step forward in ensuring the protection of the LGBTI community against violence and discrimination. However, the position is a three-year appointment and there was a risk that the role wouldn’t be reappointed in 2019 for another term.
Over 23,000 Global Citizens took action calling on the UN to reappoint the position, and those calls were answered. On Sept. 26, the United Nations General Assembly voted to reappoint the independent expert, ensuring that critical services, support systems, and research will continue.
This defining vote is a victory for LGBTI people and human rights everywhere. It will ensure the continued dismantling of structures and institutions that perpetuate violence and discrimination toward the LGBTI community, and ensure efforts to achieve universal protection of the rights of LGBTI people continue.