Moreover, on January 31, 2014 the IACHR distributed thematic and country rapporteurships, thereby designating Commissioner Tracy Robinson as the first Rapporteur on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights.
This meaningful decision to establish this Rapporteurship reflects the Commission’s commitment to strengthen and reinforce its work in protecting, promoting and monitoring the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex persons.
The development of a specific focus on LGBTI rights in the context of the Organization of American States (OAS) has been the result of the work of several years by civil society organizations before OAS political bodies. The major breakthrough in their advocacy came in 2008 when the OAS General Assembly adopted a historic resolution on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity.
This resolution was followed by five other resolutions, in consecutive years, in which all OAS Member States gradually agreed on key issues such as the need to prevent and to investigate crimes against LGBTI persons and to bring their perpetrators to justice, the need to produce data on violence against LGBTI persons, the need to protect LGBTI Human Rights Defenders, the need to provide LGBTI persons with access to justice on an equal footing, the need to adopt public policies to combat discrimination against persons because of their sexual orientation and gender identity, the need to ensure access to political participation, as well as to avoid interferences with LGBTI persons’ private life and the need to protect intersex people with respect to medical practices which may violate their human rights, among others.
In 2011, the OAS General Assembly requested the IACHR to pay particular attention in its work plan to the rights of LGBTI persons and to prepare a hemispheric study on the subject. Further, the Commission had become increasingly aware, through its different mechanisms, of the scope and diversity of human rights challenges being faced by LGBTI persons throughout the region.
In response, in November 2011, the IACHR decided to create the Unit for the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons. During its two years of existence, the Unit focused its efforts on four lines of work: (i) preparing thematic, regional or country reports on the situation of LGBTI persons in the Americas; (ii) developing standards on the interpretation of the Inter-American human rights instruments with respect to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and body diversity through the individual petition and case system; (iii) providing technical advice and input to states and political bodies of the Organization of American States; and (iv) monitoring the human rights situation of LGBTI persons and promoting the visibility of violations against their human rights.
In November 2013, in a new effort to give specialized attention to the work of the Commission on the promotion and protection of the rights of LGBTI persons in the Americas, the IACHR decided to create a Rapporteurship on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Persons.
Among the many duties and responsibilities handed over by the Unit, the newly installed Rapporteurship is committed to publish and disseminate a Regional Report on Violence and Impunity against LGBTI Persons in the Americas, the first installment in a broader hemispheric study of the rights of LGBTI persons.
A principal, autonomous body of the Organization of American States (OAS), the IACHR derives its mandate from the OAS Charter and the American Convention on Human Rights. The Inter-American Commission has a mandate to promote respect for human rights in the region and acts as a consultative body to the OAS in this area. The Commission is composed of seven independent members who are elected in an individual capacity by the OAS General Assembly and who do not represent their countries of origin or residence.